Friday, December 07, 2007

There Once was a Girl who Loved a Good Book

I am a girl who loves to read. Unfortunately I am a girl who doesn't have as much time to read as I would like. But that is another story all together.
I remember that my love of reading began in the second grade when I discovered Amelia Bedelia and then Nancy Drew. How I jumped from one to the other I will never know. Looking back, they are definitely not on the same reading level. But I remember reading them both that year. Maybe I was a fast learner...

I am also a girl (as you all are very aware) who loved old things and has loved old things almost as far back as I can remember. I loved that Nancy Drew drove that great vintage car and could pull off tweed and a headband so stylishly. I also loved Anne (of Green Gables fame) wore hats and puffed sleeves, and that Cherry Ames wore bright red lipstick and white stockings with her nurses uniform.

And so when I discovered Betsy, Tacy and Tib, in all their old fashioned flare, stuffed in the shelves of our public library I was in heaven. As a home-schooled kid, I visited the library quite a lot (something I am ashamed to say that my kids do too little of) and because I was the oldest of 4, and because my mother had plenty to do, keeping track of the littler kids and finding books herself, I was allowed to roam the stacks and stacks of books alone, reading everything from the biography of Martha Washington (you should read her eggnog recipe!) to finding hidden treasures like these gems by Maud Hart Lovelace.

I loved these books - and there is a whole series full - from the moment Betsy and Tacy meet, up until the time Besty gets married, they are wholesome and sweet and perfectly charming.

For years I have searched for them in stacks and stacks of books at thrift stores and in flea markets, but I have never found a single one there. I don't know if it is because these books were primarily regional or because they are so loved that no one can part with them, but whatever the reason I have never had much luck finding them. 2 Christmas's ago, my mom (also an avid thrifter) found a copy of Heaven to Besty for me. And lately a few copies have started showing up on Ebay, but I have resisted buying myself any because, well I don't have any little girls to read them too, and I wondered if it was crazy to buy myself these children's books just for me... But recently I threw logic out the window and bought myself 3 copies on Ebay . And I am very glad I did. I hope that maybe after the Christmas craziness is over I will have time to read these treasures. Maybe to my boys, maybe just to myself. But either way, I am glad to have them on hand, because (as Kathleen Kelly says in You've Got Mail,) "When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does" and I for one would like to always hold on to a little bit of that childhood magic.

If you know a little girl between the ages of 5-10 that you are stumbling to find a gift for, who loves to read or be read too, I would highly recommend these books... They are just lovely.

(PS- for more info on the very cool history behind these books you can visit The Betsy-Tacy Society Web Site)

15 comments:

  1. I never read the Betsy books and I guess I never saw them because my best friend was Betsy and I read more than any lid I know so it would have been a natural. I read all the old Nancy Drews when she had the roadster and wore frocks and I adored Cherry and her twin brother, Charlie, the pilot. Such adventures and intrigue they had. Did you read Trixie Belden as well?

    At Borders they one of those tiny , 3" sq., books called Nancy Drew's Guide to Life, or something like that, which is hysterical. Treat yourself, or do like I did and read it in the store.

    I complain I have nothing to post about and then I ramble on in comments, LOL.
    Janet

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  2. Who could resist a book with the title Heaven to Besty?!

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  3. 1. your vintage pantyhose bag is on the main showcase on Etsy today!

    2. the vintage apron I had on my site sold today (yeah!)... it's high time I get over being sick & post some new stuff!!!

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  4. sorry... not the main showcase... the Hand Picked items! And it's an Amy Sedaris theme! You go girl!
    (I will stop commenting incessently now.)

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  5. I LOVED Amelia Bedelia & Nancy Drew books as well!! (i'm a friend of Kim's, by the way, nice to meet u). ~Inés

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  6. I love those old books too!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Great movie quote.
    Rosemary

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  7. You know..I do remember seeing these books!
    I love vintage Nancy Drew myself!
    So nice to find your blog.

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  8. Anonymous12:11 AM

    The books were in print for about the last ten years (until this year) so you might still be able to find them in some bookstores.

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  9. What great books! Hope all is well
    Bristol

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  10. oh my! I love my betsy,tacy and tib book! i had no idea there were others,thanks!

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  11. I remember reading Nancy Drew when I was young. And Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch. A great book.

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  12. I SO agree with that quote from 'You've Got Mail' (oh how I love that film!)...my all-time favorite book is 'Little Women'. I have lost count how many times I"ve read it, and all of my girls have read it over and over. My daughter Beth has called me Marmee ever since she read it! It has certainly become a big part of me.

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  13. millie3:29 PM

    i can't believe i'm just now seeing this post. i luvluvluvluvluvluvluv (i could fill up my limit here) betsy, tacy and tib. love them. and none of my other friends had ever even heard of them. how happy does this make me today?

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  14. millie3:30 PM

    i can't believe i'm just now seeing this post. i luvluvluvluvluvluvluv (i could fill up my limit here) betsy, tacy and tib. love them. and none of my other friends had ever even heard of them. how happy does this make me today?

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  15. Book Club Girl11:25 AM

    I love love love the Betsy Tacy books and you can here me write about them here! http://www.readinggroupguides.com/blog/blog.asp

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ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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