Thursday, December 16, 2010

If Betsy and Tacy Had Blogs

I was up very late again last night, reading through and making responses to papers and posts in my online class. Nearing the end of the semester, the only way to make progress up the mountain is to take a deep breath and just climb.

One of the things getting me through these good but exhausting late night teaching treks is beautiful Christmas music. In addition to playing through some of my old favorites, I've been finding some Christmas gems on youtube. When you're bleary eyed at 1:30 am from reading patristic theology (a fine thing to do during Advent, by the way) it can put tremendous vigor into your soul to spend time listening to Andrea Bocelli sing "Adestes Fideles".

Somewhere in the midst of recent late-night multiple play-throughs, the thought came to me suddenly: Julia Ray would love Andrea Bocelli.

Julia Ray, of course, is the older sister of Betsy Ray, the main character in Maud Hart Lovelace's beloved Betsy-Tacy series, set in the early 1900s. Julia's heart belongs to opera, but she also enjoys popular music, and she is quite a fan girl of Caruso. It dawned on me that if the Betsy-Tacy characters lived in the internet age, Julia would no doubt be the administrator of the Andrea Bocelli fan page on Facebook.

(Side note: does anyone else ever do this: see or hear something and think "oh, so- and-so would just love this!" when "so-and-so" happens to be a fictional character? It helps, of course, when you've grown up with fictional characters and loved them for so long that they feel like friends.)

Picturing Julia Ray on FB gave me the late-night giggles. Suddenly I found myself thinking about other Deep Valley characters, and what they might be doing if they had access to the internet.

Grown-up Betsy, of course, would have a very writerly blog. I think she'd name it "Willards' Emporium" after the now-defunct store. I picture its banner as a photo of rosy apple blossoms. She'd have an oft-changing quote (with things like "to thine own self be true") and a sidebar picture of a long-legged crane. Joe would pop in from time to time to guest post, and she'd also keep a neatly organized side-bar with clips of his online journalistic endeavors. Whenever she or Joe got published, she'd post about it with a picture of the naughty chair from the Violent Study Club. And of course, she'd be the one keeping the Study Club's calendar in Yahoo Groups.

Tacy would keep a blog too. She'd include cute photos of her homeschooled kids. Yes, I've pegged Tacy for a homeschooler. I think she'd be an unschooler with a bent toward classical education -- something in gentle Miss Clark's freshman ancient history class must have stuck somehow! She'd share recipes for her best company dinner too -- roast chicken, giblet gravy good enough for a millionaire, and chocolate meringue pie. She might even tell a few good-natured Irish jokes.

I can't quite picture Tib keeping a blog, but I do think she'd have all the latest technological gadgets, including a really smart phone. She'd no doubt snap pictures of her latest brilliant dressmaking creations or fabulous dinners and send them electronically to Betsy and Tacy, sure they'd want to post her pictures on their blogs. And she'd be right. Naturally. (She'd also make sure that any new friends got a look at the Betsy-Tacy cat duet she put up on youtube.)

Carney might have a blog too, though I've been wavering about what kind. Somehow I can picture her creating a very cool looking sewing blog and running a brisk, efficient business of handmade items on etsy. She's gotta help pay for the kids' music lessons after all. She's also busy with vice presidential duties on her Vassar alumnae FB page (she generously let Isabelle be president).

You can find out a lot from the online CV of Emily Webster-Wakeman, MSW, PhD. It's posted at her university website. You'll note she's on the board for several refugee and immigrant advocacy groups and is in demand as a public speaker. Emily also enjoys a wide circle of friends on FB, where she proudly sports flair and fan pages for Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and the Bull Moosers, Jane Addams, and Robert Browning. Her husband Jed is busy on FB too, especially with his college wrestling buddies and his fellow civil war re-enactors.

Okay, okay...it's been fun...but the mountain of end of semester work awaits! I'll stop for now. Of course, if you're a Deep Valley fan, feel free to chime in with your own ideas about Betsy-Tacy in the internet age!

16 comments:

Jen said...

OMG this is hysterical, you got them all so perfectly!

Erin said...

Love it! And of course, I do have those thoughts from time to time. Those fictional folks never seem to be far from my mind!

Beth said...

Jen, thanks! It all came to me late in the night (perhaps while I slept?) and seemed to spring into my brain in the shower this morning. I just had to get it down!

Beth said...

Erin, I knew you'd resonate with how real fictional friends can feel!

And on that note, S. tonight wrote a letter to Santa Claus "from the perspective of Beezus." I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! ;-)

Erin said...

Ha, that's great! And what did Beezus ask for? (A break from Ramona, perhaps? :-P )

Beth said...

No, she asked for a pony! S. seems to think that most fictional characters in what she thinks of as old-fashioned books want ponies. :)

Of course, she also had Beezus explain to Santa that the Quimbys are expecting a new baby. Every year she asks for a new baby doll for Christmas ("it's tradition") and for the past couple of years, she's been making all the baby dolls in her collection be the Quimby sisters. It's getting a little confusing because so many of them have Christmas birthdays!

Christy said...

This really makes me wish that there was a blog written by Betsy out there. Someone should "help" her write one!

Erin said...

I *still* want a pony for Christmas!

But I will settle for a hippopotamus... ;)

Elouise82 said...

Well, now I really wish Betsy had a blog! I'd love to read it. Don't you think Joe would leave comments on her posts, too, and some of her comment threads would be nothing but conversation between the two of them, until one of their other friends start teasing them about it?

Such a fun post! So glad I found it!

Susan Crutchfield Photography said...

I love this! Especially the part about Tib. You hit the nail on the head on that one. I was always sad growing up that I wasn't really friends with Betsy, Tacy and Tib

Beth said...

Christy and Elouise82,
It *would* be fun if Betsy had a blog! And I love the thought of she and Joe have lengthy exchanges in the comments. Somehow I imagine them trading "t.l."s, Shakespeare quips, and writing ideas...

Beth said...

Susan, I found myself laughing as I wrote about Tib. Somehow I have a feeling she'd also take pictures of whatever new car she happened to be driving...

I would have loved having Betsy, Tacy and Tib as friends growing up! My eight year old would love it now too. (She's particularly fond of Tib!)

Beth said...

Erin, I didn't know you still wanted a pony! (Or a hippo.) I'll have to remember that! ;-)

Idol Women said...

Magnificent post! I think Tib is the more likely etsy contributor - she's so industrious and enterprising. Winona wouldn't have the patience for a blog but would have a lively Facebook page. Alice would take her blogging very seriously and use the most photographs.

I'm especially giggling over home-schooling Tacy. Yep, I think you called it!

Thanks so much for a great read!
Jen

Beth said...

Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, Tib would probably be on etsy too -- though for some reason I tend to think of her as likely having a more high-powered career to tend to. Carney seems more of a work-from-home type to me for some reason!

And hmmm...just realized I forgot Margaret. I'll have to think about that one!

Elouise82 said...

I think Margaret might be more of a Luddite. She would be amused at her sisters and their friends, and their lively interaction with the internet world, and she would probably read their blogs and Facebook pages, but wouldn't comment or join herself! (Although Louisa would probably have hundreds of FB friends, and giggle madly over them all with Margaret!)