Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary

Today I want to wish a very Happy 104th Birthday to the marvelous Beverly Cleary, writer and creator of the long-running Ramona books.

The books revolve around Ramona, the perpetual ten-year-old, and her sister Beezus. They’re timeless classics that have been around since 1955. Many in my generation grew up reading about Ramona and have very fond memories about the stories. The last book in the series, Ramona’s World, was released in 1999, when Beverly was 83 years young.

Beverly Cleary and the Ramona books were inspiration for my own book, A Moment in Magic Hour. My hope was that, in writing Magic Hour, adults could take a step back through time to their childhood with a sweet story full of simple lessons and nostalgic laden memories.

In an interview discussing the legacy of the Ramona series, and what Ramona may be like as an adult, Cleary said she believes that Ramona will be all right when she grows up. “She’ll do something creative. She liked to draw because her father liked to draw.”

What a lovely thought. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Cleary. And thank you for the continued inspiration.

Maybe

I had to run out to the grocery store earlier. The streets were much quieter than usual, of course. Some people were out for walks in the sunshine with their kids and loved ones. The folks at the grocery store were friendly and smiling. No one was pushing or shoving. In fact, the bread guy asked if I needed help with anything, then pulled two fresh loaves off the rack and safely handed them to me.

“Just got them in,” he said, smiling.
“Thank you so much,” I said. “Appreciate that.”
“Here to help.” And back to stocking the shelves, he went.

When I came home, I sat on my front steps for a little while to get some fresh air and think. People waved or said “hello” as they walked by.

“Crazy times aren’t they? Sure is nice to have the sun, though.”

Now, maybe it’s just a random, one-off experience today—and maybe I’m off my rocker—but it really made me wonder if this crisis that’s forcing us to isolate, might actually bring us closer in the long run.

It’s helping us slow down and pay attention to each other. For the first time in many, many years, it kind of feels like the world I grew up in. Slower, more thoughtful, less hectic, and a whole lot simpler.

With all the suffering right now, it helps to know that we’ll make it through this. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll be better to each other as a result.