Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Home from Deep Valley

So there we were, a bus filled with middle-aged women (and their daughters, granddaughters, and nieces) and one genial gentleman who was formidably knowledgeable about the Betsy-Tacy books. We had gotten off the bus in front of the house known to Betsy-Tacy fans as Carney’s house (in real life the home of Maud Hart Lovelace’s high school chum Marion Willard). The question for the morning: could it be – if we walked around to the back of the house - was the sleeping porch from Carney’s House Party still there? And – it was!

One person walked into the door of the Carnegie Library that Betsy enters for the first time in Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown and began to weep. But I couldn't stop smiling.

People squealed with happiness as we passed the “slough” – pronounced “sloo” – that Emily lives beside in Emily of Deep Valley. We fainted with happiness when we tasted Lady Baltimore cake at the Inn at Murmuring Lake. A hush fell over the group as we caught our first glimpse of the tree under which Mr. Ray proposed to Mrs. Ray, and the bay window where they were married.

For Betsy-Tacy fans: here are two of the questions on the trivia quiz that I got wrong:

1) How many pages were there in Cab’s edition of Ivanhoe? (Answer: 534 pages)
2) Name the actual ladies’ maids on the S. S. Columbic. (Answer: Taylor and Rosa)

And here are two of the ones I got right:

1) What two words must ten-year-olds add to their vocabulary? (Answer: “indeed” and “prefer”)
2) Tacy envlivened her envelopes to Betsy on the farm with these acronoyms. (Answer: HHAS – for Hubert Humphreys Admiration Society)

I keep a gratitude journal where every day I list five things I am grateful for. Today my list is topped with this: that I live in a world in which Maud Hart Lovelace wrote the Betsy-Tacy books. And that I spent three wonderful days with 200 other people who love them, too.

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