Books

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

In another trip down memory lane, I decided to pick up a copy of Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary.  I started it last night and finished it this morning.  It is amazing the number of memories that come flooding back when you re-read a favorite book from childhood.

Beezus and Ramona is one of the Ramona Quimby books that focuses more on Beezus than Ramona.  This is probably why it was never my favorite when I was a kid.  I always preferred Ramona.  I am the youngest sister (out of four), so that is probably why.

Reading Beezus and Ramona as a kid, I always got a little irritated with Beezus.  She always acted like her little sister was a nuisance.  Instead, she was just little and did not know any better.

Beezus and Ramona is a story about Beezus and Ramona Quimby.  We hear about the challenges Beezus has from her little sister and how she handles those challenges.  Beezus thinks her sister is a pest.

This book always made me wonder how my sisters saw me when we were kids.  Did they all think I was a pest?  I am pretty sure at least one of them still thinks that I am a pest.  It is amazing how childhood grudges can carry into adulthood sometimes.

Re-reading this book as an adult, I wonder about the relationship between Beezus and Ramona’s mother and their Aunt.  They portray their adult relationship as a close one.  They laugh at all of the silly things that happened when they were kids and neither holds a grudge for what the other did when they were children.  Instead, they think it is funny. That has not always been my experience with my sisters.  Things don’t always turn out like they do in the book.  There is not always a happy ending.

I love my sisters to death, and I would do anything for them.  I just don’t know that they realize that sometimes.  My oldest sister and I are really close.  I look up to her, I turn to her for advice, and she has just remained my big sister for life.  I still just want to make her proud of me.  She is a lot of fun, and she can be a big kid – like me.  She is a shining example of kindness and love.  She is always there for me, and she always will be.  She is like my rock, and I do not know what I would do without her.  She has frequently been there to give me permission to be human and to have emotions that I would rather bury. That has helped me through some of the hardest times in my life.  She is my rock.

The next oldest sister is fun and different.  She has no problem being herself and doing her own thing.  She is very individual.  She is the best example of what it means to love yourself and care for yourself.  I look up to her for her independent spirit and love of the world around her.  She is a master gardener, and I frequently ask her advice when I am trying to do outdoorsy things.  She is also an amazing musician and artist.  She is a free spirit, and I simply love that about her.  She is a wonderful mother, and it is so much fun watching her daughter to grow up to be so much like her.  I remember going to the pizza shop where she worked and getting pizza from her.  She always acted like she was so proud to be my big sister.

The youngest of my older sisters is intelligent and studious.  Not that we all are not that way – we grew up in a house filled with books and where we were encouraged to learn and explore – but she always had her nose in a book.  I remember all of my sisters reading to me when I was a kid, but that sister I remember reading to me the most often. She was always a lot of fun, too.  Since we were closest in age (and we are all really spread out in age), she was the one who was still around as I got older.  I remember being a tween and then an early teen and riding around with my sister in her car.  She would take me to the mall and we would buy X-Men action figures and comics.  We would listen to her favorite tapes in the car, and some of that music remains almost sacred for me – REM, They Might Be Giants, Primus, and the soundtrack from Blues Brothers were some of my favorites.

Reading Beezus and Ramona made me think about my relationships with my sisters and how they have grown and changed over time.  At one point I was closest to the youngest of the older sisters.  The relationships have shifted over time, and I have been closest to each of them when I needed them most.  Life has a way of doing that.  Things are not always perfect, but I do love all of them.  This book reminded me of the importance of letting them know that I love them.

Today is a day off, so I am going to spend the day reading and writing.  I always feel like there are so many books but never enough time to read them.  I escape into them, and love reading when I can.  I feel like I have come full circle to who I was as a kid in some ways.  I am sad that I lost so many years of reading when my mental health caused me to abandon reading.  That is probably the time when I needed it the most.  In any case, I am happy to have the habit I loved so much as a child back as an adult.  Until next time, Happy Reading!

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