My mother first read me Betsy-Tacy when I was a very little girl and I followed their story all the way up through their adult years. I loved every page! Revisiting Deep Valley and the Big Hill and the simple pleasures of a world gone by was very sweet indeed! And I must, of course, mention Lois Lenski’s charming illustrations. I don’t know if any of you have read any of her books but her work is especially nostalgic for me and my mother <3.
SPOILER ALERT: My comments do contain spoilers! You have been warned
Maud Hart Lovelace (what a romantic name, yeah?) begins her story by stating that it’s difficult to think of a time when Betsy and Tacy had not been friends.
“Hill Street came to regard them almost as one person. Betsy’s brown braids went with Tacy’s curls, Betsy’s plump legs with Tacy’s spindly ones, to school and from school, up hill and down, on errands and in play. So that when Tacy had the mumps and Betsy was obliged to journey alone, saucy boys would tease her: Where’s the cheese apple pie?” Where’s the mush, milk?” As though she didn’t feel lonesome already!”
I think that is too cute! And to see how much our language has changed over time! I don’t know any child today who associates cheese with apple pie! Peanut butter and jelly, yes. And who eats mush and milk anymore? Today it’s cereal and milk!
So the story of these two besties begins with 5 year-old Betsy Ray who lives in “a small, yellow cottage”, “the last on her side of Hill Street”. She reminds me of little Laura Ingalls in Little House in the Big Woods with her brown braids and wide-eyed wonder and vivid imagination. Across the street, stood a “rambling white house” which was, of course the last house on that side of Hill Street. To her delight, a new family moves into the white house across the street and they have a little girl just her age! After a rather humorous meeting cumbered with a bit of a misunderstanding, the two become inseparable! Betsy, bright-eyed and full of stories and shy Tacy, eager to listen and ready to join in the fun.
Reading about their afternoons with paper dolls cut out of fashion magazines, dressing up in grown up clothes and going calling, coloring white sand with leftover Easter egg dye and selling it, and taking their supper plates to eat together on the bench on top of the hill, makes me wish that I had grown up in another time. A simpler time. Granted, I love technology and all the great conveniences it affords but sometimes I get tired of the constant bombardment and long for quiet afternoons, homemade laughter, and the sweet joys that can’t be bought with money or achieved with a smartphone, television or laptop. But alas, God saw fit to place me in this period so I love it for everything wonderful it has to offer while occasionally slipping in the past to enjoy tea in china cups, buggy rides, and trips to the general store!
I must confess however that reading a book meant for such young readers was a bit of challenge cause I caught myself getting just a tad bored! Over all, it was a pleasure and I intend to continue re-reading the entire series! =)
Y’all have a blessed day =)