As a child I spent more time reading and living through other characters than I did living through myself. Books were so much safer and I got to read them at night when no one else was there to bother me, with my flashlight hidden under the covers and scheming on how to convince my mother that I had not stayed up till 4 a.m. finishing the last of the Princess Diaries.
One of those books was "Beezus and Ramona" by Beverly Cleary. This was one of those books that I read at the perfect age, right when I was between the two sisters' ages, and it was like reading a parallelly of my own life. Of course the adaptation with Selena Gomez is very good, but that book was just so fresh, even though it was written in the 1950s.
Born in 1916, Beverly Cleary was born during a war, came of age during an economic crisis and graduated into another war. With a degree in Library Science from the University of Washington, she worked as a children's librarian for years before becoming an army hospital librarian.
Utilizing her skills from her first degree in English, her first book "Henry Huggins" was published in the 1950’s, predicting the nostalgia of the era and the need for uplifting literature in the post war pre-Cold War world.
Growing up in Oregon, Cleary didn’t learn to read till the 2nd grade, and she claims that she didn’t really enjoy any of the books published. In an interview before she turned 100, after discussing how most of the books at the time had British influence and featured nannies and other classics things. She remarked that characters `seemed to sissies’ and as her time as a school librarian, she found that most students, upon learning to read, also felt the same way.
Seeking to write a book that appealed to American children of the day, and from which excited her to read, the classics such as "Henry Huggins," "Beezus and Ramona," "Leave it to Beaver" and the "Mouse and the Motorcycle." To this day, children still read her timeless classics, written during an era of history after the world nearly fell apart.
In the wave of recent important people who have passed as the world has seemingly slowly begun to follow the beginning of the 20th century in its declining pattern, such as Carrie Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Alex Trebek and Toni Morrison, so too does Beverly Cleary follow, surviving yet another global catastrophe at the ripe old age of 104.
On March 25, the beloved children's author passed, just a few weeks before her 105th birthday, on April 12, which will be this Monday. Leaving a legacy of groundbreaking classics and a dedication to the upbringing of Children, Cleary is an inspiration to all during this pandemic, as she survived so much, yet still wrote so purely, and didn’t even find this calling till she was in her 30’s. So remember you are not a pest, and let yourself be childlike this Monday, in honor of all the childhood memories she made Clear-y to us.