I define myself with varying words depending on the season of life but one word that consistently describes who I am is ‘reader.’ I read.
Ramona Quimby isn’t just a fictional character for me. She was my friend, my secret inner self (because my outer self has always been a strict rule-follower and an academic). She made me laugh. She helped me understand sibling relationships (though at the time I didn’t know that’s what it was called). I rolled my eyes and gasped out loud and shook my head and I loved her. She was the original (and better) Junie B. Jones. Her hair was a disaster. She was nearly-always covered in mud. Her feelings got hurt. She was real.
Well, Ramona’s adventures take place in Portland, Ore., and last fall, we ventured out to the West Coast for my not-so-baby cousin’s wedding. A friend (thanks, Dan!) recommended we follow Ramona’s footsteps and we took a morning to do so. The girls and I got more out of the romp than Daniel did but he humored us in his usual way. Danny hasn’t read a Beverly Cleary book and while my love for him is everlasting, this fault has certainly put a damper on our relationship. Girls, take note, if a guy doesn’t know who Ralph S. Mouse is, he’d better be a fantastic guitar player or just walk away.
We found our way to Klickitat Street where Ramona and Beezus grew up and fought and splashed in rain puddles. We checked out the statues of Cleary’s beloved characters in the park and drove past Ramona’s elementary school and the library where Clearly worked (of course she was a librarian). It was chilly and damp and very Oregonian. Reagan told her Dad the stories as we went along. Paige hugged Ribsy. I held hands with my man as we crunched fall leaves. When I think of that morning, I smile, much like I do when I think of Ramona Q.