Her books were a beloved part of my girlhood.
I remember she loved I Love Lucy
& looked like a schoolteacher—
that is, if Ellie Walker from The Andy Griffith Show
had taken Helen Crump’s place
before “Helen the Grump” had been written into existence.
I remember thinking her middle name just had to be Marie
because it fit her “That Girl” appearance.
I remember thinking that it must be the greatest job in the world
for one’s books to be adored by little girls all around the world.
I remember thinking of myself as an honorary Baby-Sitters Club member—
the one you never read about but existed nevertheless—
for I wasn’t shy around these girls.
As I read her bio now,
I learn that she taught autistic children (I teach my own),
that she loved Roald Dahl
& wrote for her college newspaper,
that math was her least favorite subject
& that her fourth-grade teacher (third for me)
told her that she was a wonderful writer.
I think that maybe I liked this lady—
what little I knew from her blurb in the back all those years ago—
because I saw myself in her,
or saw in her,
what I hoped I might