22 August 2012

My Beverly Kinship

Beverly Cleary via Corbis
I was an avid reader when I was little and still am when school semesters aren't too reading heavy. My all time favorite children's author has always been Beverly Cleary. I felt like Ramona Quimby and I had a special kinship that none of my elementary school classmates had. Those books made me feel like being curious and spunky was okay.

Mom and I have been cleaning things out for a garage sale and we came across Beverly's 1996 memoir "A Girl from Yamhill." I picked it up and started to scan the pages to see if I wanted to read it. Five chapters later, I put in my room for later reading. Even though Beverly grew up during the Depression in Oregon there are little tidbits and stories that resonate very clearly with my memories of growing up in the South.

There was one story that I'm pretty sure she stole from me. She was in the first grade and was terrified of her teacher. One day she was too scared to ask to go to the bathroom, and consequently had an accident in her desk. Her teacher noticed and sent her home for a change of clothes. When I was in the first grade, I had Mrs. Braxton who I was completely scared of.

She wore her hair tightly coiled in a french twist, her thighs tightly tucked into a pencil skirt and was tightly wound herself. I still remember the "swish swish swish" noise of her skirt lining and slip interaction as she walked by. One day she had yelled at a classmate for taking too long in the bathroom, so I pledged to myself to not use the restroom that day. I'm not sure how long I held it in, but right before we went to lunch I couldn't hold it anymore. I peed silently at my desk. No one noticed until we were in line in the cafeteria. My good buddy Johnathon Morrison turned to me and asked, "Why your pants look like that?" Without thinking twice, I calmly said, "My Mom made them this way." Johnathon accepted my answer as truth and never mentioned it for the next seven years we would spend together as classmates.

Beverly and I will be forever intertwined as pee sisters.

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