Women Who Raised Me: Episode One

 

I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, I grew up with a wonderful, attentive mother. Super parents, both. Really. But a young girl and developing bibliophile requires a whole host of literary mothers to show her the way. It takes a village.

 

Episode One: Maud Hart Lovelace

 

It’s 1995 in Mobile, Alabama, which means that I’m five and taking fashion cues from Full House. I’ve got the hot pink leggings and enormous t-shirt, a big bow in my big hair. It’s summertime, so I’m also sporting glitter-jellies as I run amok around the neighborhood with my motley crew of cul-de-sac urchins. We play from dawn to dusk, like it’s a full-time job. We stay outside as long as humanly possible to avoid getting roped into chores. But let me tell you, it is difficult to be five and responsible for coming up with enough interesting make-believe games to amuse all your friends. Enter: the dear sister of my mischievous heart, Maud Heart Lovelace with her Betsy-Tacy series. My mother began to read chapters to my sister and I before we went to bed. These were turn-of-the-century girls who knew how to have a good time, before the Ya-Ya Sisterhood required that such a mythical childhood grow in the shadow mild parental abuse. Lovelace inspired me for years to have better adventures, ask better questions, and to marvel more at the magic of a car that can travel ten miles an hour.

 

Next Time: A book makes me cry!