Monday, July 23, 2012

Betsy-Tacy Bliss

I am home after four days of a literary pilgrimage to Minnesota with my sister and some 150 other fervent fans of the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.  I hope that all of you know and love these books, but in case you don't know and love them yet: they are a series of children's books based on the author's own childhood in Mankato, Minnesota ("Deep Valley" in the books) around the turn of the last century.  The series begins when Betsy meets Tacy at her fifth birthday party, in Betsy-Tacy, and ends when Betsy begins married life with her long-time love Joe Willard in Betsy's Wedding.  Two additional titles focus on characters other than Betsy: Carney's House Party and Emily of Deep Valley.  Because Lovelace based the characters in the books on her childhood friends, and set the book in her childhood hometown, it is possible for fans of the books to come to Minnesota and visit Betsy's house and Tacy's house, now maintained as charming museums by the Betsy-Tacy Society, as well as to tour other Betsy-Tacy landmarks.

So this past weekend, my sister and I met in Minneapolis for the four-day Betsy-Tacy convention.  On the first day attendees explored Minneapolis sites from Betsy's Wedding, including walking through Betsy and Joe's first apartment of their married life; the kind young woman who was renting it graciously allowed us all to traipse through, awe-struck, ten at a time.  We also visited Minnehaha Falls; Betsy's proximity to this landmark made world famous by the popularity of Longfellow's Hiawatha served as an ice-breaker on her tour of Europe in Betsy and the Great World.

Then it was on to Deep Valley: an early morning pilgrimage to the Betsy and Tacy houses, a chance to stand on the front steps of Betsy's beloved Carnegie Library, a "bat" to Minneopa Falls (scene of a picnic and baseball game in Carney's House Party), some dozen or more talks (one given by me, on Syrian and German immigration to Mankato), a sing-along of tunes sung by Betsy's high school Crowd ("Dreaming," "Mornin' Cy, Howdy Cy," "In the Good Old Summertime").  Best of all was the chance to be in the company of people from 40 states and three countries who all love these books as much as I do.

Pictured below: me at the Carnegie Library, me at Minnehaha Falls, Cheryl and me at Tib's house.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you had a great experience in Mankato! We hope you'll come back and see us again soon!