Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BFF's (Best Friends Forever)

I know what I'm going to name my next cat...Tacy, as in Tacy from the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. How I missed this fabulous series as a kid I don't know. Well, maybe it had something to do with the fact that the only thing I'd read (at least initially) were Nancy Drew books. You may compare this to a one-year old refusing to eat anything but Gerber plums and apples, or in my case, raspberry cobbler. At any rate, I missed out on a wonderful series growing up. Fortunately, that gap in my reading journey has come to an end and it is easy to understand how and why it is included in 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.

Friends do come and go. But, a special, precious few begin when we are in grade school and last for the rest of our lives. Most of us have at least one of these friendships. I do. Unfortunately, we've spent most of it living in different states. My BFF moved to Virginia right after our freshman year of high school. Similarly, Betsy and Tacy are best friends and live next door to each other...until right before they begin their freshman year of high school. Luckily for Tacy, Betsy is moving just across town. Still, the pain both girls go through as a result of the move is something everyone can identify with no matter their age (or gender, for that matter). Moving at any point in life is not easy.

There are numerous questions that run through the mind when a move is on the horizon, chiefly, "Will I make a new friend and will he or she be as good as...." The answer could be a mix of both yes and no...probably more yes, "you" will make a new friend and he or she is just as likely to be as special as the one you might be leaving behind. But, there is something about a friendship formed in grade school. They grow as quickly as you outgrow your shoes and winter coats.

In Heaven to Betsy, Betsy is keenly concerned about what will happen to her friendship with Tacy when she moves and they begin high school.Will they remain friends and be as close as they were before the move? What will happen if they make new friends? Will they drift apart? After all, they've been best friends and have lived across the street from each other since they were five. They'd played countless hours of house, school, and dress up together. Now they're young ladies, high school students...a time when lots of things can and do change.

 Friends are important. They see you at your worst and still love you for who you are. Friends forgive (ignore?) a lapse in communication without a second thought...allowing you to pick up right where you left off as if no time had elapsed.  Friends back you up when you feel like your back's against the wall. Friends, simply, are there for you...every successful, failed, awkward, sticky, and muck-filled step of whatever journey you're sharing together. Betsy and Tacy are all of these and more to each other. They're the kind of friends we'd like to be friends with. They remind us of our own friends, of all that is good and wonderful and why we are friends with those we are. In short, Betsy and Tacy and their friendship, adventures, and experiences remind us of ourselves.

Book: Betsy-Tacy series
Author: Maud Hart Lovelace
Year: 1940-1955

Note: For contemporary counterparts, "pair" this series with Snail Mail No More by Paula Danziger and Ann Martin and Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass.


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