These Books Made Me

Ramona

April 21, 2022 Prince George's County Memorial Library System Season 2 Episode 5
These Books Made Me
Ramona
Show Notes Transcript

Beverly Cleary's many books for young readers have endured the decades with her boisterous heroine Ramona Quimby remaining a perennial favorite for both parents and children. In this episode we examine the original bookends of the Ramona books, beginning with Beezus and Ramona and ending with Ramona Forever. We discuss being the eldest child, the most beautiful doll names, the perils of returning damaged library books, and dead cats.  We also tackle the topic of sibling dynamics by consulting some true experts, our own siblings. 

These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at https://pgcmls.medium.com/.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode and used some books and articles as jumping off points. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research:

Historical pregnancy weight gain recommendations: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235249/

Beverly Cleary:
https://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/cleary

Birth order theory:
https://www.webmd.com/parenting/what-to-know-about-birth-order#:~:text=A%20researcher%20named%20Alfred%20Adler,in%20shaping%20a%20child's%20personality.




Hawa:

Hi, I'm

Heather:

I'm Heather

Hannah:

I'm Hannah.

Hawa:

And this is our podcast, These Books Made Me. Today, we're going to be talking about Beezus and Ramona and Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary. Friendly warning as always, this podcast contains spoilers. If you don't know which pair of siblings digs a little grave, proceed with caution. We have a special guest here with us today.

Audrey:

Hi, I'm Audrey. And I'm a librarian at the Prince George's County Memorial Library system.

Hannah:

What did this book or these books, this pair of books mean to you?

Heather:

I have really vivid memories of reading all of the Beverly Cleary book when I was a very small child, the Ramona books, the Ralph books, the Ribsy books, just all of them. I loved them when I was little. I, I feel like I'm definitely a Beezus and not a Ramona. I felt very seen by these books and I feel like the books that then end up focusing more on Ramona, maybe help me understand my brother a little bit better and develop more empathy for [laugh], how it would be to be the younger sibling in a family.

Hannah:

I guess I identify more with Beezus than Ramona, but there's a little bit of Ramona in me. I think what I love about the books is just how generally funny they were.

Audrey:

I discovered Ramona when I was on summer vacation with my grandparents and I was home alone for, well, not home alone, but with them by myself, without my parents, my aunt actually introduced these to me. And it was a book. She said reminded her of her childhood. But when I read them, Ramona was a bit wilder than I was. She was more like my sister and I was more like Beezus. But this book reminds me of my wild 1980s childhood of , you know, kind of being very largely outside and unsupervised, our fears and our adventures are just our own. My sister was my Ramona. I grew up wanting to be like Ramona, but also more like my sister, because she was brave and constantly meeting these roles and anxieties head on. And that was, you know what? I wanted to be more like her.

Hawa:

I remember the titles. I don't remember a lot of what I read growing up. If y'all listen frequently, you've probably heard me say that before. Rereading them. The storylines didn't sound familiar, but like the titles definitely like Ramona and Beezus, Ramona Forever. Those books stood out to me with the Judy Moody books and the Junie B . Jones books, all those kind of like little bratty character. It reminds me of titles that I'd heard of, but don't necessarily remember

Heather:

You did a little bit of research on Beverly Cleary. Audrey. You wanna tell us what you found out

Audrey:

Beloved children's literature, author and librarian. Beverly Cleary was born over a century ago in McMinnville Oregon 1916 and spent her early years on a family farm in Yamhill before moving with her family to Portland, Oregon. She died just last year in March at the age of 104. During her long life, she would publish over 40 critically acclaimed books that were translated into multiple languages and would change the landscape of children's literature. In 000, the Library of Congress dubbed her as a living legend for her accomplishments. As a young child, Cleary was designated by her school as having low reading skills, she would catch up and become an avid reader by the third grade, which is a nice reminder that is not necessary for a child to be reading fluently and at an extremely young age, in order to develop strong reading skills and take pleasure in reading. Cleary would later work as a children's librarian. While talking to children about the books they wanted to re, she perceived a gap in what was available to children to read about, and that was portrayals of realistic childhood, the emotional life of children and humor Cleary set out to write the books that she felt were missing from the shelves and that she would've liked to read herself. The New York times has a luminous quote about Cleary's writing. This was Cleary's great gift. The ability to map the strange Newtonian physics of childhood, its bizarro laws, proportion, and gravity, its warped space-time. She loved, especially the spots where kids in her worlds, urgent, intimate and self evident conflicted with the outer world of adults, cold foreign, and often arbitrary. Cleary understood that to a child. 30 minutes often feels like 30 years and that small setbacks can feel like an apocalypse. The irrepressible, Ramona Quimby and her lens onto the landscape of childhood made her relatable to both children who saw themselves in her and adults who remembered what it was like to be small, full of energy and struggling to understand the mysterious world of the adults who run it.

Heather:

All right, we are gonna dive into our first book, which is Beezuz and Ramona. So we're gonna sort of bookend this series more or less with the canonical run of the original books. Beezus and Ramona is the first one. And in that book, nine year old Beatrice Beezus Quimby and her four year old sister Ramona live in Portland with their mother and father on Klickitat Street. Beezus and Ramona are as different as two sisters can be. Beezus is responsible and straight-laced. While Ramona is rambunctious and mischievous over the course of the book, Ramona, much to the horror of Beezus destroys, a library book, rides her tricycle in the house, locks a dog in the bathroom, melts her beloved doll and throws an impromptu neighborhood house party. Bezuse is at the end of her rope after Ramona ruins, not one but two birthday cakes. The adults help Beezus accept that you can love your sibling, even if you don't don't really like them sometimes. obviously this one is huge on sibling dynamics. So how well do you all think that it captured sibling dynamics?

Hawa:

I think that there's this whole thing with your siblings, the way they word it is is you don't always love your siblings. But to me, the way I've always thought about it is like, you may not like your siblings sometimes, but you love your siblings. And they captured that very well.

Hannah:

I have a literal memory of sitting on the couch, I think, trying to read. And my sister who was too young to read was like, come play with me. And she's like yelling at me to try to play with her. And I'm like, go away, leave me alone. Like, it felt like the opening scene where I don't remember what Beezus is trying to do, like potholder or something. It was a very similar roles.

Hawa:

And then also like they did a really good job at like showing how bratty she was and how she just had to have her way. And how you think of all the different, clever ways to kind of like find your own peace, but you know, meet the needs of your sibling, like how she was so tired of reading that steam shovel book that she took her to the library just for her to find the big steam shovel book.

Heather:

Yeah.

Audrey:

But I do think that these got a lot right about sisterhood, not just the, like the, the, the dynamic of tension, how much your siblings kind of inspire you. Beatrice is constantly kind of tacking to every Ramona adventure. And it really the interplay between the two, because this is , this is how I want my day to go. And Ramona is like, hold on a second.

Heather:

Ramona's four. And I know people say the terrible twos when they're talking about kids as being like the roughest age, that was not my experience as a parent, four is the toughest age, age. Cause when they're two they're toddlers, right? Like they can't do a lot of things and they get frustrated and you get it. But when they're four, they can do a lot of things. They're like right on the edge of being able to do a lot of things themselves. And so they wanna do everything themselves, but then it goes terribly. And like Audrey was saying, I think that there is some amount of inspiration siblings get off of each other. The younger one wants to be more like the grownup one because they can do all of these things that they're not allowed to do, or they're not able to do. And they seem so together compared to how the little one is feeling in the moment, Beezus wants to be more like Ramona in a lot of ways, she wants to have more imagination and be more free. She's a planner, she's cautious, she's very responsible. And she can see that like Ramona has this sort of overwhelming level of energy and enthusiasm and gusto, and she just kind of lives her life full tilt. And there's that scene when they're at the painting class, the teacher, you keep saying like, let you're imagination run wild and Beezus is just so constrained initially by wanting to do it right. Whereas Ramona just kind of does whatever she wants. And, and eventually Beezus does get that inspiration from Ramona because she ends up painting Ramona's imaginary lizard.

Hannah:

With lollipops!

Heather:

Drug around with string to bring it to class with them. So Beezsus finally gets that recognition from her teacher because she has sort of been able to emulate Ramona at this one time. She uses her as a source of inspiration, which I thought was really great because I think that's really true to sibling dynamics. My little brother made me crazy when I was a kid, but very much like Ramona, he was the bigger personality. Like he was extroverted to me, I'd get frustrated cuz it was like, oh gosh, you know, he's just doing that to get attention sort of thing. Like Beezus thinks Ramona is doing a lot of the time, but at the same time you do sort of glom onto that. It's like, wow, I wish I could do that. You know, like I wish I wasn't held back by wanting to do the right thing or the do it the right way. And you do envy that freedom the other person has. And so I think even when a relationship is fraught, there is that element there and she captures that really well

Audrey:

I think it comes from being the oldest. There's a sense of responsibility. That's impressed upon you, you know the roles at this point and you've been given care of this little person who who's is following you around, but I'm sure there was this conversation. Make sure your sister doesn't get into trouble. You're gonna go to the park. And I just know that my sister had all of the freedom. Like there was always that she could get away with everything. And I think that the episode with the apples for me was just, there was a moment in our childhood where my sister found the cookies and the cabinet and proceeded to eat the middle out of all of them. [laugh] my mom went to get a cookie and she fell open and there's this little teeth mark that had scraped the, the stuffing out of the cookie. And my sister was very happy with herself and believed no one would find out about this at all. Despite the fact that she put the evidence back in the cupboard and you know, but I would never have been able to get it away with that in my mind. But I really envied her.

Hannah:

I mean, it's like Ramona said, the first bite is the best.

Audrey:

Right.

Hannah:

The cream inside of the cookie is the best.

Hawa:

And then they just decided they were just like, we're not gonna make a big deal out of, we're just gonna make a ton of applesauce.

Audrey:

[laugh] which comes in handy. When the millions come over to the house unannounced. It

Hawa:

Does seem like though, and this, this may be something that maybe speaks more to like the time when this book came out. Also, I don't know when this book came out, when did this book come out?

Heather:

I think this was like 55

Hawa:

As kids. They seem like more free than you would think that they would be now just because they tell her, okay, well you can go to your painting class. Your sister's gonna be in the sandbox. Is the painting class, not inside in the park outside. Like how is she watching her? If she's watching her painting, right. Ramona went free one time and the police had to bring her back. And I'm just like, if that happened today, there'd be a lot more than just the police bringing you back. Like, there's definitely gonna be like an investigation. Like, is this child neglect for you letting your child get this far? Something that stood out to me.

Audrey:

[laugh] welcome to the wild west of our childhood. [laugh] yeah. Yeah. And you look on that, I think, and, and realize that we were really given a lot of freedom. It's something that you only appreciate now, like as an adult, when you're stuck in the library on a really beautiful day and the kids fly by on their bikes. But that is definitely like, not something that happens today. And it's almost something that I think you feel kind of sorry for those kids who don't have that kind of moment of kind of sheer joy. Oh,

Hawa:

Absolutely. [laugh]

Hannah:

So I, I have to go back to the apple incident for a second is to share my sister when she was a toddler, took one bite out of each tomato in my mother's tomato vine [laugh] my mom thought it was the birds until she saw Lucy like walk up and like just chomp it off the vine with no hands.

Hawa:

It's funny that she did it in front ofyYour mom.

Hannah:

She had no shame, she was all I'm just doing this.

Heather:

Yeah. I think a lot of this it's just such well done observational writing. She really, really captures the way that children are. These all seem like familiar incidents for any of us. Like we can think of moments in our childhood where a sibling did something similar where we did something similar. One of the things that I love about these books is she understands how the sounds of words or the feel of words in your mouth can be just intensely pleasurable. So you have all of these little incidents with Ramona making sound effects, or like even down to like the name that she picks for her dolls. Right? She has Bendix, she has Chevrolet in other books that joy about like the taste, the feel of certain words on the tongue and her books are just littered with words like that. So there's this like real musicality, I think to the way that she writes, there's lots of sound effects. There's lots of , um, just funny words or little rhymes that are kind of snuck in here and there where she's really playing with how language works in a way that when you're a little kid and when you're learning to read and you're first like really diving into big chapter books and you've sort of lost the illustrations and stuff. This is the kind of writing I feel that really draws you in because it's what lets you know, that language is pleasurable in a way that you don't get when you're doing like EFBs. So like Dr. Seuss would be sort of the precursor to this, but most early reading books are not like that. They, they don't have this sort of like sense of joy in the language. I don't think so. It's a really nice distinctive writing style that she has. And I think it's part of why the books hold up so well, because there's no time tied to that. Like language is fun and be beautiful forever. So like as long as you have that appreciation of it in the text, I think that it , it holds up pretty well.

Hannah:

Well, as we know, Bendix is the most beautiful name in the world, according to Ramona

Heather:

[laugh] it is she's sadly not the most beautiful doll in the world anymore after her trip into the oven

Hannah:

Poor Bendix.

Audrey:

Bu honestly, I mean, for those of us who had a reliable doll that went with us, I can count maybe once or twice where my doll was actually clean. I mean, that doll went with me everywhere. Um , it even had bandaids, you know, when I had bandaids. So I mean, it's one of those moments that your doll went everywhere with you. So why wouldn't they want to go into the, to the oven at some point as your proxy, I guess, I don't know. I know that my childhood doll eventually went away. I'm not really entirely sure of the consequences, but she was well loved. And I think that's one of those things that I've really come to appreciate when I see a lovey or a stuffie of a child, the name is always important. And mine for the record, her name was Baby Custard, E E R C Y, no memory of what any of that meant.

Hawa:

<[ laugh]

Heather:

I have a vivid memory of my oldest daughter, her favorite, two dolls at that time was a baby doll that was named Mama Baby. And then this rabbit doll that she named Ty Martin, and she was supposed to be napping one day and it was awfully quiet in there. And so I like went to check on her and Ty Martin was a white rabbit. Cora had gotten out all of the markers and decided Ty Martin should be like rainbow colored [laugh]. And she had colored Ty Martin to the degree that like, there was no longer any white left on him, but like even just picking him up, he was wet with the like marker juice [laugh] but it's like, and to her, it was like, she just had made him so beautiful, right? Not like, oh, I ruined my doll, you know,

Hannah:

She enhanced him.

Heather:

Exactly. She just gave him a glow up and he was ready to go.

Hawa:

Children are so wholesome in that way. It's funny though. Ramona was probably thinking, okay, cool. I'm gonna read a different story to her. This is gonna be fine. You know? And then she was probably regretting reading that story to her so badly when she realized it ruined her birthday cake.

Heather:

Well, cuz she did Hansel and Gretel with Bendix right?

Hawa:

Yeah.

Audrey:

Right.

Hannah:

Had some foreshadowing

Heather:

There, which was why she went in the oven. [laugh]

Hannah:

If you read a Grimm's fairy tale it's gonna introduce some dark concepts into the world.

Heather:

I just, again, wanna comment on some of the like Beverly Cleary just having a really great sense of observation or like turn of phrase at times. So the like Bendix is the most beautiful name in the world. There was the whole thing with the harmonica and she's riding around with her harmonica. Just kind of like sighing in and out of it. And the way that Cleary describes it as this made the harmonica sound as if it were groaning. Oh, oh dear. [laugh] Oh dear. Over and over again. And it's so like spot on like that's exactly what a harmonica being played poorly sounds like, but just like lots of these things. So like about the Scoopy book, just like, oh God, we've read Scoopy so many times. And like everyone can feel that in their bones, you know, like we've all been there where it's like the 82nd times someone wants you to read them that same book that's not even very good.

Audrey:

Or the parents who hide it, they take it,

Heather:

Right

Audrey:

You know, they take it away from you.

Heather:

I don't know where Scoopy is

Audrey:

You know, I loved The Train from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo. And the great part about it was that you just had to swap out the place names, you know, and go back the other, the journey the other way. And oh my gosh, that book disappeared. And I love that book. It, you know, it just went through each town and then you can, could come back again. And I just thought that was the coolest thing and my parents

Hawa:

Not so much [laugh].

Heather:

yeah, No, my brother's Scoopy was a book called Pano the Train. He lost his caboose. So like he would go around and everybody would be like, you've lost, you've lost. And he thought he was in a race, but he had just lost his caboose. So like the whole book is people going, you've lost, you've lost. I remember reading that to my brother. So many times them being like, I hope this book burns in a fire. I hated it so much.

Hawa:

So they basically were calling him a loser, the whole book.

Heather:

That's what he thought. So he is like, I have to go faster. I don't wanna lose.

Hawa:

I think this book did a really good job at making us realize how annoying Ramona was. I was literally reading all her antics and I'm just like, does she ever stop? And then I remembered like, this is what having a toddler or, or like, I guess a little bit above a toddler. Like, you know, a sibling is like also I think that it was very cute how upset Beezus was when she thought that she was never gonna be able to go back to the library again, she was so distraught. She's like,

Heather:

Yes

Hawa:

Now I won't have, I can't go to the library and I'll just be stuck at home with Ramona. Like, what am I gonna do? And her mom's just like, it's okay. I'll just, I'll just give you the money. Then you can just pay for the book and you know, whatever. So she takes it, she, they goes to the library, they pay for the book. The librarian's like, yeah, it's just, you know, this much. She's like, okay, well now you get to keep it. Beezus is like, oh no, but now I have to keep reading this book to her. And then the librarian's like, well actually Ramona, it not your book because you don't have a library card. And Beezus is like, it's my book. [laugh] I thought that was the funniest thing. Also. That was a pretty cheap library book. But also this is like the fifties probably

Heather:

It was the fifties. So that actually seems like a lot of money for a library book. Like $2.50 is a lot. And there's that moment where Beezus says like, oh, what an awful lot of things that money could have bought. So another thing I think that Beverly Cleary does really well is capture childhood anxiety.

Audrey:

Absolutely.

Heather:

I felt that one in my bones too, where it was like, that was the kind of thing as a kid. I worried about money all the time because we didn't have a lot when I was this age. And one of the things that would just like rile me up about my younger brother was he had no concept of money. Like he'd ask for things that I was just like, we can't afford that, that I would never have asked for, you know, even if he didn't get it. And so the book I felt like really encapsulated that like Ramona did what she wanted. She signed her name on every single page of the book. And now it created this mess, that Beezus has to clean up and then like pay for the book and then Ramona's gonna get rewarded for it by like now the book belongs to you, but I thought that the, like, librarian handled that really well. And I think that the librarian, this is a nice book for librarians. We've had some not so great librarians in our books before this one. And this was very pro librarian. The children's librarian was awesome.

Hawa:

I was gonna say the children's librarian was awesome. The other librarian, they were just like, Ugh, I wish the children's librarian - could help us find a book.

Hannah:

The adult librarian was mean we, it was implied [laugh]

Heather:

Yeah. She was like sitting there glaring at them because Ramona was too loud.

Hannah:

[laugh] I was fascinated by the library scenes. Like I love that, like the criterion apparently to get a card is being able to sign your name and I'm like, wait, that's, you know, and you see Ramona trying so hard to sign her name, but she's four so she can't. So she she's like, we would never ask that. Right. And

Hawa:

It's just like, what are her parents here with her while she's signing up for this card? And then she's taking out all these things. Well, luckily she didn't get the card, but it's just like, was it cuz she was with her older sister. Is that why she just let it slide also she's nine. So she's still a child. Like

Hannah:

Yeah, It was

Hawa:

They're barely old enough to be in the library by themselves. But that was a different time.

Hannah:

It's an odd window into like a possible way that people could have gotten cards. Cuz I'm assuming it's pulled slightly from reality since she was a children's librarian.

Hawa:

Right.

Hannah:

It's very different than how we would do it now probably

Hawa:

Only us as librarians would have this much analysis into the libraries of this book.

Hannah:

True.

Heather:

[laugh] she only did I's and T's I think right. She was used to seeing people dot and cross

Hawa:

Which her name had neither

Heather:

Nope, not a one, but that was true too, because like I remember when I was a kid and I was jealous of friends that had names that started with certain letters that I thought were way cooler than mine. Like in cursive,

Hawa:

I feel that

Heather:

You've got signature envy. Well you're an H too.

Hawa:

Yeah.

Heather:

like didn't you ever like look at the people that had like a cool starting letter, like Z or an L and you're like aww

Hawa:

or an S...nice and curvy

Heather:

I wish I could do this curly.

Hawa:

And then on top of that, my name's also really short. So like my name's only four letters. So like even like when I get my name tags made for work, I put my first name and my last initial, cuz just my first name just looks so short. Like

Audrey:

I remember getting my first library card, but I don't remember having to to write my name. I think it was just a matter of the frustration of only being able to have two ca - two books at the school library and complaining to my parents. My dad's like let's take care of this. And we went to the library and we were able to check out, I think it was like five and I thought I had won the lottery [laugh] But I can't imagine going to the library and having to see the librarian and say, my sister wrote on this book, I would be mortified.

Heather:

No, that would've been the worst.

Hawa:

I've just put it in the book drop

Heather:

<laugh> I felt so bad for Beezus at that moment because yeah, I can't imagine it's like,

Hawa:

Why don't I have to be the one to explain, you're the adult can't you just come do this? Like

Heather:

Yeah.

Audrey:

But at the same point, isn't it like Heather was saying about, you know, not having a lot of money. I know that having books when we were kids was a big deal and you didn't have a lot that were your own, well, this is like an instruction manual of like how to get your own library book. Step one, use a purple cran [laugh] step two. Right. write very big on every page gets a yellow caution from, you know, because who knew you could own it if you just wrote in it and you know, so maybe we shouldn't keep talking about it. [laugh]

Heather:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean we probably shouldn't and we still have that as like a policy that if you have to buy it, you can the like bought copy because well you just paid for it, but Beezus was right. The, the quote from the book was if she spoils a book, she shouldn't get to keep it. Now every time she finds a book, she likes she'll and it's like, she can't go on because she realizes, oh no, I've given her the roadmap to.

Hawa:

absolutely.

Heather:

forming your own library collection via destruction,

Audrey:

The ego there. I mean, it's like when she gets in trouble for the ruining the game and you know, at some point she gets a cookie and then the dog ends up in the ba- locked in the bathroom. And it was like, once she figured out how that whole situation resolves, it's like the dog, ate my cookie, I will punish him because the only power I have as a little person is to do this. And it was like all of the feels.

Heather:

Well, that's how she gets punished too. Right? Like you were bad go to your room. [laugh]

Hawa:

And Ramona's whole worry about this is now that the dog's locked in the bathroom. I'm not worried about the dog. My friend can be worried about his dog. I'm worried about the fact that now we'll have to use the bathroom and we'll have nowhere to go. Like she's nine years old and worried about all these like important things.

Heather:

No. And then she did immediately have to like pee and her mom had to take her to the neighbor. Right. [laugh]

Hawa:

I, sorry. I said Ramona, but I meant Beezus, Beezus was the one that was worried about, you know, where are we gonna be able to use the bathroom? Also. Can we talk about how Ramona just threw her own party? [laugh]

Heather:

Yep. She invited the whole neighborhood too. It was like, what did they say? 13 kids.

Audrey:

Absolutely.

Heather:

That's a nightmare.

Audrey:

And tromping through the house. I mean, it wasn't just a, they're in one room, but we're like parading, like,

Hawa:

So did they not talk to the parents before they just pulled up? Like did Ramona tell her classmates? And then be like, oh, tell your mom had a party. And the kids told the parents, and then

Heather:

That was dreadful parenting right there by all of those parents to not verify. But see, I think they were all just so desperate for a break. They were like, sounds great. I'll just drop 'em off.

Hannah:

Or,

Hawa:

And then the mom's just like the mom's like, okay, I see what's going on here. Well, let's just see what we can do. Like you can go get stuff from the store. Cuz all of our hair is wet. We have ton of applesauce. How convenient ,

Audrey:

Uh , I'm not touching the Fig Newton's worst party, worst party food ever. Um, we thought those, those kids were weird when we were little. And so like,

Heather:

Well Fig Newton really, I feel like should have, you know, had, had some objections how they're portrayed in the book. Cuz Ramona says they're full of worms and then none of the other kids will eat them. And I thought that was interesting that they used essentially a brand name and then maligned it in the book.

Audrey:

But I mean, who hasn't looked at a Fig Newton and went, what is that? When you're little?

Speaker 2:

I mean yeah. Mushed up figs are not pretty

Audrey:

Right. And I don't think I knew what a fig was. Um ,

Hannah:

I definitely didn't it's a suspicious, like healthy looking cookie when you're a kid you're like.

Audrey:

Exactly.

Hannah:

No I'd rather have an Oreo,

Hawa:

But it seemed like they were down to eat them until she made that worms comment.

Heather:

Right? Well, because they were passed out as cookies, right? Like here's cookies and applesauce and t hen they were happy to eat them until she told them they were made of worms.

Hannah:

I feel like for accuracy, there should have been one kid that was like, I'm gonna eat it anyway. I like eating worms. Like there would've been like one kid who was

Heather:

The paste eating kid. Would've been like, I am all in on the worms too.

Audrey:

Right. I think you all should put an asterix here, then go back to How To Eat Fried Worms. [laugh] go through that book.

Heather:

Another classic.

Audrey:

That's a great one. Um, cuz that one I could relate to as well. I mean I could relate to the worm part more than I can relate to the Fig Newton

Hawa:

But it's so crazy. Cuz Ramona is like, ew, ew, these, there are worms in here, but she's still like, you're going to eat these because this is my party. And you're gonna do what I tell you to do. Like she was so determined. She's like anything I tell y'all to do, y'all going do this is my party. And I think she was like kind of salty that her friends were having more fun at her party than she was absolutely.

Heather:

Well, it got out of her control, right? I mean, I think that's also a very four year old thing is like, if you play with a four year old, they get these elaborate ideas of what they want to play. But then they want you to do exactly what they have in their head for you to do. So now you say this now you say that it's this very like controlling, like they've scripted it out in their brain. So I thought that was like super accurate that she would invite all of these kids and she had in her head, it's gonna go this way and I'm gonna be the star and everyone's gonna do what I want them to do because Howie doesn't do what I want him to do every day, but he'll have to cuz it's my party. And then they didn't and she just like melted down.

Audrey:

Yeah. She and Howie kind of break up almost every, every book it's always something, something different. And I, that relationship, I really appreciate cuz I only had my, was the only girl that in our neighborhood and everyone else was boys. You know, having that kind of relationship with the, the little boys in the neighborhood was it was never very rarely what I wanted to do and dolls were definitely out. Um , but I could see them. This is, you know, worms and things, definitely a meeting melding of the minds of [indistinct] .

Hannah:

So I have to stop and note the fact that once again, in books we've been reading for the pod, wet hair is a plot point [laugh]

Heather:

And this didn't make any sense either though they didn't explicitly say like you will get sick or catch a chill and die with your wet hair. Instead. She said, well, you can't go out with wet hair. It's raining, which I didn't understand. Like isn't that the best time to go on the rain. That was very strange to me as well. But yes, it, it, it does seem to be a recurring issue in our books. Wet hair is extremely problematic.

Hannah:

#WetHairStruggles.

Hawa:

We're putting it on a button. [laugh]

Heather:

Nice. We should. It's merch now. Alright. We are moving onto the next book, which is Ramona forever. Ramona is now nine and Beezus is in middle school. And both girls are frustrated by having to stay with the Kemps after school while their mother is working. Money is tight with Mr. Quimby back in school to become a teacher and taking shifts at a frozen food warehouse. Howie's rich uncle Hobart comes to town and the girls use this as an opportunity to escape Kemp camp and stay home alone after school. Life throws a series of curve balls at the girls, their old cat Picky Picky dies. Their mother announces her pregnancy and their father is struggling to find work as a teacher, Aunt Bea and Hobart unexpectedly decide to get married and move to Alaska. And there's a flurry of excitement trying to plan and host a wedding in just two weeks. Ramona and Beezus are bridesmaids and Ramona has to save the day when the wedding ring goes flying during the ceremony, Mrs. Quimby gives birth to baby Roberta and Mr. Quimby ultimately takes a job as a grocery store manager. Ramona learns that while life may not always turn out the way she expects it to, she is confident and capable that she can handle whatever comes her way. Alright, let's dive into Ramona Forever. Ramona is now the age that Beezus was in the first book,

Hawa:

Which I think is so funny that she's the same age as Beezus was in the first book, because I think it really goes to show how being an older sibling gives you like an added sense of responsibility just because Ramona still does not seem as responsible as Beezus felt in the first book. She's definitely grown, but she doesn't seem as responsible cuz you definitely see, there are parts where Ramona looks back and she like when she's like watching Willow Jean and she's like, you know, I remember when they thought of me as Ramona, the pest. So she tries to be understanding. It's almost like it's come full circle, but

Hannah:

But she still recognizably Ramona like absolutely,

Hawa:

absolutely.

Hannah:

You, you still see her, her, her chaotic nature

Heather:

Ramona Is still doing many things that Beezus would never.

Hannah:

Right.

Audrey:

And I think that kind of speaks to Ramona's spirit. They're, they are very different. That individuality that is allowed to kind of come out here and why we love Ramona so much is because of this spirit that she has and carries even when she's mature and older and winning at growing up, as she says, I think towards the end, how

Hawa:

Do we feel about Uncle Hobart? You know, when we were reading, when he was first coming into town like that first chapter, it took a couple of tries for me to get into it. I was like, this is boring. Why are we talking about this? I guess at, at the end, obviously you see that they get married and do all that stuff. You see like the relevance of it. But in the beginning I was just like, is he even really rich? Or do kids just think he's because he's bringing them gifts.

Heather:

He did bring Willa Jean a camel saddle, which I thought was a pretty cool present

Audrey:

And an accordion. I mean,

Heather:

And an accordion though. It didn't last long

Audrey:

[laugh] and a unicycle. I mean it's such an odd combination

Heather:

yeah

Audrey:

It's an odd combination of gifts

Hannah:

Which died an untimely death. He's like the archetype of like the quirky weird, cool uncle. [laugh]

Heather:

Right. He's the funcle.

Hannah:

Yeah.

Heather:

You know, he's just like out there doing irresponsible things cuz he doesn't have to deal with the mess when the unicycle goes, goes poorly for the kid,

Hawa:

You know? But overall he seemed kind of cool. I did feel like the getting married things felt kind of random because it was just like, they were still talking about her taking ski trips. So you were thinking that like she was taking ski trips with the Michael guy and then the way they find out that he's dating the aunt is basically how he's like yeah. My uncle has a, a girlfriend. She's a teacher. Do you know how many teachers there are out there? Like why would that randomly be the connection? Even though they probably did remember that he was, they were like, oh yeah. Well we went to high school together. I don't know. That thing just felt like it moved a little too fast. What was this? The span of was this span of weeks, months.

Heather:

She was skiing with Michael every weekend and then he was gone and like a week later they're announcing that they're eloping

Audrey:

And then they're moving, you know,

Heather:

To Alaska,

Audrey:

Right

Heather:

Aunt Bea is the like Ramona of that family. So I can see it. Just go for it.

Hawa:

She totally would fall for a dude with like a unicycle

Hannah:

She would

Audrey:

Would. And then he gets to pick out the dresses. I mean, I didn't have flower girls, but I just couldn't imagine my husband being the one picking out the dresses/

Hannah:

I, I did like watching him like go, oh this is super simple. And then he's like, oh no, it's not. That was kind of funny to me. Well, you

Hawa:

But you know, I think he played it off a lot.

Speaker 2:

He

Speaker 1:

Handled it . He did, it was forget the flowers for the church. He forgot

Speaker 2:

The flowers for the church. They were even that like , he just got it done efficiently. I was like, dude's a pretty good wedding planner. He got a church, he got a caterer. He got dresses.

Speaker 1:

Yeah , no , I feel like in this book a lot kind of happens in such a small amount of like pages. Also. Like the mom is like pregnant mm-hmm <affirmative> like , and , and

Speaker 2:

There's a lot happening behind the scenes because dad is

Speaker 1:

Going to school,

Speaker 2:

He's go going to school. And he's like pulling these like crazy shifts in the frozen food warehouse to make ends. Meet moms, had to go back to work, to make ends meet, which is why they're at the camps. And now she's pregnant on top of that. And it seems pretty clear from the subtext that this was not a planned pregnancy. Yeah. There's a lot going on for them find financially . I did wanna talk about the adult relationships in the book. We've talked a little bit about the two younger adults with aunt B and Hobart, but the, the quibi, there's a really nice depiction of like the humanity of adults in this book. Like there are times where one of them gets a little bit snippy. It's very gentle in the text.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm

Speaker 2:

<affirmative> you can see that they're stressed by the financial situation that dad is stressed. Like he's doodling dollar signs and babies when he is supposed to be studying. Yeah . Because he's worrying about like, how are we gonna make ends meet? I really liked that. They didn't tie everything up with a happily ever after Bo by saying like, oh, now he's taking aunt B's job teaching at the school because I think the way that the, the plot strung out that was the sort of predictable path to take. And one of the girls either Ramona or Beza says, great, now you can take a piece job. And they were like, no, that's not how it works. And dad ultimately takes another blue collar job. Doesn't get to do anything with this art teaching credential he got, because they have to eat. I think there's a really good lesson in that we have to make hard choices sometimes and we have to do what we need to do to get by. And that's okay. You can't let that like defeat you. Yeah. I thought that was a , a really positive thing that often doesn't get done in children's books where you don't see disappointment as an end game . And that it very much was here. Like that had to be devastating for, for him to give up on this thing and be a like, okay, I went and got these degrees and I'm still just, you know, a stalker at a frozen food warehouse. I, I, I really liked that. I thought that that was really well done. And I think that that's important for kids to see that realize that there's real value in their parents trying their best. That doesn't always mean we get everything we want, but there's value in the effort.

Speaker 3:

It's just enough realism to kind of make it feel true. Cause there was a lot of happiness and like wrapping things up, but it's not perfect. Like, you know , aunt B gets married, you know, there's some sort of sweeping changes. Like you said, you know, the dad didn't get the job he wanted. He had to like make a tough choice and their cat died. I mean, that's a little earlier, but you kind of get this of like it's life, just kind of a mixed bag, even though there's happy things happening and people are growing up and good changes are occurring, but like there's still struggle and sadness and things are not perfect.

Speaker 2:

And we also see that, I think in the depiction of Mrs camp , I wanted to bring this up because I thought it was a , a kind of surprisingly feminist notion for a children's book, the 1950s. And I don't mean feminist in a like, oh, rah, let's go burn our bras kind of way. I mean, in just a , an acknowledgement of the patriarchy and a system that really hurt a lot of women. So Mrs. Kemp, doesn't like Ramona. And is she overtly doing things to tell her that? No, but Ramona's reading that off of her and she's upset by it. And she talks to her mom about it because she and be , wanna not go to the Kemps anymore. They wanna stay home alone and try to be, you know, by themselves after school. And she brings up, you know, Mrs . Kemp doesn't even like me. She'll be happy. Mrs. Quimby says, quote , women, her age were brought up to keep house and take care of children, explain Mrs . Quimby . That's all they really know how to do, but now maybe she'd rather be doing something else. I thought that was a really surprising line that just kind of occurred in there that really acknowledges the humanity of this woman. That really hasn't been depicted in a super positive way. I mean, I don't think anybody reads the book as like, I'd love to hang out with Mrs. Kemp or like, <laugh> , she's my favorite character. You don't, she, she seems frazzled. She seems kind of overwhelmed. She's pretty short with the kids. It doesn't seem like she wants to be doing that. And so to acknowledge that, you know , she might have had dreams for herself too, that were not this, but she's making it work. They need the, they need the money.

Speaker 4:

This is kind of a continuation of Mrs. Quimby going back to work, which happens, I think in Ramona, at the brave their father going back to school and going through school. And we see that in some of the other books, which we aren't gonna talk about is kind of an ongoing storyline in the continuation, cuz this is really books one. And then we're talking about book seven. I think it's interesting to me that like it's laid out that Ramona and Biza have this choice, you know, that they've, you know , been with Howie's grandmother and that this is not something they enjoy, but you know, this was so that their mother could go back to work. And that was kind of understood, you know, for a lot of kids in of this era, it wasn't a choice. Both parents are at work, you're a latchkey kid. And, but I thought it was interesting that they had the choice that they had this kind of moment of maturity of like you said, I often as an adult, don't always think about that decision. But only now as my sister is trying to make health like childcare decisions, like what that means when people want to go back to work and who, you know, and we do have a generation of children now who the grandparents are much more involved and in a lot of ways, I think it's good. My mother looks after my sister's daughter and it's a great relationship, but it's not always, like you said, you know , maybe she had other things that she wants to do and kind of looking with longing at that generation that was allowed to kind of go out into the workforce and that wasn't a dream that they were able to realize, but that's also the generation that you see going back to school and going to kind of further that. So I think it's a very adult topic and a very much old child book, but I think like you said , it's a very interesting kind of somber in some ways, but I just love the way that like dovetails into like Ramona and Beza trying to, you know, to mature and bear this responsibility so that they can have this freedom. But it also, you know, in some ways it's almost like Ramona's gift to high , always grandmother I'm out of your hair. Now <laugh>

Speaker 1:

One thing that stood out to me I guess, was interesting was they make the , uh , Beza makes the comment about how, yeah, she doesn't go to her friend's house after school anymore because one of her friends made a comment about how her dad needs to go and get a real job. One. This is so mess up. And it's funny, I think a lot of these books that we've discussed, you know, talk about kids making commentary on like parents professions and what they do when I'm trying to think like as a kid, I don't know if we knew all that about our friends , parents, but I guess it kind of just depends on what kind of community you grow up

Speaker 2:

In. Yeah. I mean, I think I was well aware of what, like my friends' parents did for everybody was all up in everybody's business. I think <laugh>

Speaker 4:

Yeah. I think , and too, you could tell by, you know, the clothes you wore and what you had . Yeah . What you didn't have. Um, that really said a lot about what your parents, you know, and the difference at the time, I think between, you know, if your mom was a teacher, it was huge compared to like, if your parents were more blue collar , um yeah . In what you could afford and

Speaker 2:

Well, and here. So Mr. Quimby loses his job in earlier books and then he ends up being underemployed, taking these jobs as a cashier and a stalker. And Mrs . Quimby has to go back to work. And I think at that time in that neighborhood, her having to go back to work would certainly have been something that neighbors would've talked

Speaker 1:

About. That makes sense. And

Speaker 2:

Like that it would've reflected poorly on Mr. Quimby , that his wife had to go back to work, especially now that like she's pregnant though at this point in the story, I guess Pamela is that the friend's name wouldn't have known that mm-hmm , <affirmative> like that would've only increased the talk it's like, right , Man, you can't even provide for your family. Look, your wife's here in her uniform for work, you know, hugely pregnant. So I think that would've been something that like a child conceivably, would've heard her parents talking about like , um , another thing that to me read is kind of like, oof , she's pregnant, Mrs. Quimby is, and there's multiple , uh, instances in the book where she passes on dessert

Speaker 1:

That stood out to me too.

Speaker 2:

And so like at one point it says like dessert had been eaten by everyone except Mrs. Quimby , who was careful about, I have real concerns about dieting during your pregnancy. Like that seems really bad, but I know that for the time period women were told like, oh, you should only try to gain this much during your pregnancy. And it , from what I could tell, looking it up, it was quite a low number, especially since Mrs. Quimby described as always being slender. Like they said something like 20 pounds, like doctors would really try to like keep women to , and of course, male doctors, almost certainly trying to keep a woman's figure by telling her don't gain during your pregnancies . That

Speaker 1:

Just seems so unrealistic.

Speaker 2:

It's like , to me, it's wild. Like I gain like 50 pounds with each of my pregnancies because you do, I mean, half of that was just water weight.

Speaker 4:

Well , and I think they're all trying so very hard not to upset her as if this one, you know, the cat dying for instance, would just suddenly send her into some sort of the anxiety that they're feeling. Can't upset. Mom, can't upset mom as if mom is like some sort of like bomb to go off or something. It just , um, really is a interesting portrayal. I think they

Speaker 3:

Point out that like she's clearly like tired and a little bit overwhelmed. I'm like she probably needs extra calories or maybe she just needs to be able to have dessert, you know ,

Speaker 1:

Yourself when you're hungry, Dorothy, eat a Snickers. <laugh> even when the dad was kind of worried and stressed out about school, like his go-to thing was to make jokes and Ramona didn't like that. And I thought that was kind of funny. They're

Speaker 2:

Portrayed in a very real and positive way. It's two people that are they're good parents, but they're not Aussie and Harriet good parents, you know, they're have having some struggles, but they're trying their best in very healthy ways. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I think that model is something positive for kids. Like generally I feel like these books hold up surprisingly well, given that they were written in the fifties, there's not a lot in them that really dates them. There was

Speaker 3:

A hint. I kind of wondered cuz they , they said, well of course when she has Roberta, she'll have to quit her job. And I kind of wonder, like that could happen now to be honest sometimes for all sorts of reasons. But I do kind of wonder like how much of that was just books from a child's perspective . So maybe there were adult discussions about it that we didn't see potentially, but it just seemed kind of understood. Well, in the fifties it was a lot harder to work after you had a

Speaker 4:

Kid. Well, and I think the thing that for me, dates it a little bit is that I just don't meet these kids anymore. I think that the, what is missing is the things that we fill have filled, you know, technology and things like that and creates a very different childhood. You know, looking back on this book, I have a , I feel a lot of joy and everything because there's this sense of, you know, freedom and, you know, remembering what it was like to discover things and ride my bike and do all those things. But I don't know that kids have that kind of freedom now. I mean, I think they're not supervised <laugh> at all, you know, and that's that helicopter parent type mentality. And I think that that , um, is the only thing you can kind of look on it with a lot of nostalgia.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I think a lot of that is also, it can be regional or even hyper local . Um, I mean we talk a lot about helicopter parents and they certainly exist kids running around and playing at playground with friends or in the neighborhood unsupervised that's still happens. It ,

Speaker 4:

It does around here .

Speaker 2:

Yes. It certainly, it certainly does with my kids because in my neighborhood that's okay. It would be much harder in other neighborhoods, but I think that some of it is specific to where people are. I mean, certainly we have in particular in Maryland, there are a lot of rules about like what age kids can be to look after other kids and how old you can be to stay home alone. And I think there, there's still some relevance to, you know, kids having some degree of freedom, a kid could go outside, but is that the choice they make? Right . Right. Maybe not because they're gonna be on a screen instead. So I think that that is something that's a good point. The lack of, no , I guess there is the mention that like at the one point where it's like, Beza says something like they're not watching themselves, they're watching TV about the latchkey kids that she knows. Right. That's that time period's version of that. I suppose <laugh> , there's really no , uh , mention of racial diversity in this book at all, which is almost certainly accurate to Portland, Oregon in the fifties.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, very much so

Speaker 2:

<laugh> but I do think that there's some subtle stuff in there about class

Speaker 4:

Very much. I mean, this is definitely, you know, this kind of blue collar kind of, but there is like that creep towards, you know, going back to school, you know, wanting better lives. Like , you know, there is that kind of sense of striving and ambition that is present, I think in a blue collar kind of neighborhood. But you do see like when they talk about the wealthy uncle and you know , the things he's able, you know, he kind of introduces these, these objects into their lives that they wouldn't have normally bought for themselves or even had. So I mean, there's that

Speaker 2:

Right? Well, and like he goes to the store and he's just like put it on my card, like

Speaker 4:

A unicycle <laugh>

Speaker 2:

And I think that's a little bit interesting just in contrast to mom counting out the $3 bills for visas to go to the library, to pay for the book, for context in the Ramona series, the sort of trajectory of Mr. Quimby and his job struggles, you know, when we first meet them and Bezo and Ramona he's working for the utility company, he and Ramona's mom met when they were in college, she got pregnant with visas before he was able to finish his degree that he was working on at the time. So he made do , as many people do make do and found a job and he's found a pretty good blue collar job with the utility company. Then we see in , I think Ramona and her father, he loses that job and you see him, you know, standing in the unemployment line, you , you see sort of this decline of those types of jobs , industry jobs, union jobs. And then he ends up having to just take whatever he can find, which is being a checker at the grocery store, taking these minimum wage jobs. And you know, how does that impact him as the man of the house? And so you see kind of, he's struggling with that and he's down about things, but he's, he's gonna keep grinding. He clearly hates the job, which I think is also an interesting thing that often doesn't get into children's books. An important thing where it's like, yeah, you need a paycheck. You're job might suck, but like, you're , you need to eat, you know, by the end of this, he's tried to sort of finish that degree and pursue this dream. And it just never gets actualized. We usually see women characters portrayed in this sort of, is it enough? Mm-hmm <affirmative> vein where it's like, you can't have it all, but really in the Ramona books, Mr. Quimby is the one who can't have it all. You can't have this family and this career as an artist that you wanted, you have to make all these hard choices. And so I think, I think it's brave of CLE to have sort of written that arc for him. He's a good man. He's a good father. He's a good husband, but he struggles through the, every single book. There are struggles on the employment front. That was a fairly bold choice for her to make in books for little kids. I thought that was kind of an interesting, a different model of masculinity than we've seen in some of the other books that we've read, because we really have only had either men who are providers and good providers in the American girl books in particular, or in role of thunder here might cry. Or we have men who are just a train wreck , like Johnny <laugh> tree grows in Brooklyn, or like Nelly's uncle, you only have these polls. And I think Mr. Quimby is a much more nuanced depiction of masculinity than we get in a lot of these books. I don't know why that is maybe

Speaker 4:

A more realistic, I think. Yeah . Is definitely, he's definitely a, a very genuinely you recognize Mr. Quimby. Yeah . He's not a stranger, he's someone, you probably knew a lot of Mr. Quimby's. Um , maybe not to the degree that we know intimate details, you know, and I think he's neither always the Knight and shining armor and perfect and everything, but he's perfect for them fits very well. Um , but I agree for me growing up, I was in a community that did have a lot of broken homes. So for a lot of kids having books that even had parents that were together, my own family was, you know, your typical nuclear. But I had a father who was a little bit more distant, I would say than Mr. Quimby . And so, you know, but he's definitely relatable and definitely more of a realistic character than probably many of the ones that we've seen. And you can recognize, like I can recognize my parents in them in that desire to give us what we needed, but also in that distance that they were busy having working parents and, you know, but you also knew that by your behavior, you helped them. Mm-hmm <affirmative> in a lot of ways. And so there is that push pull that I think maybe in some ways that kind of socioeconomic situation makes you more aware mm-hmm <affirmative> and more mature, maybe faster than,

Speaker 2:

And that they were tired. <laugh> I , I feel like that's also like such a good, accurate , uh , portrayal of parenthood in this. Were there any other things we wanted to hit during discussion?

Speaker 4:

I like algae.

Speaker 2:

Oh, algae. Yes. The baby being called algae. <laugh> .

Speaker 4:

I mean, it's such a better name than Roberta

Speaker 1:

In ,

Speaker 4:

In so many ways. Sorry, Roberta. I'm sure you're listening

Speaker 1:

Somewhere. Um ,

Speaker 4:

But I mean, when you got Ramona and Bezo , I mean, algae's this kind of famous , you

Speaker 1:

Know, there was a good reads comment that said, I don't know why they were so hard . And the dad , Quentin Quincy Quimby , would've been such a cool name. <laugh> <laugh>

Speaker 3:

I like, so when Ramona was banished from the maternity ward, cuz she was too German , that that doctor came up and like wrote her a literal prescription for attention.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . That was she funny .

Speaker 4:

But that was the thing. I mean, I remember when my sister was, I just thought that doctor was pretty great because they , you know, they were so worried about, I think in some ways they still are with newborns. I don't know each episode, our luminous , literary and frequent co-host ha will provide miscellaneous insights from our book. It's time for ha head space .

Speaker 1:

You know, all this talk about siblings has me thinking a lot about the Changan I got into with my siblings growing up.

Speaker 5:

<laugh>

Speaker 7:

All right , right . Wait what again? Oh my God . My name is alpha I'm for 14 years older . I'm how younger brother ?

Speaker 8:

Hi, I'm Lucy. I'm Hannah's sister. I'm two years younger than her. And we also have a brother who's seven years younger than me.

Speaker 9:

Okay . I start over. Hi, my name is Lina . Hi, my name is and we , and we are ,

Speaker 10:

My name is Matthew and I am Heather's younger brother

Speaker 11:

Say my name's dev I'm related to Kelsey. I'm her younger sister. Okay . First of all, this is my interview. <laugh> where I <laugh> introduce yourself for interrupting . Oh my God . On a scale of one to 10 , 10 annoying on

Speaker 12:

A scale of one to 10 , how annoying was I growing up

Speaker 8:

As your younger sister? I think it's very clear that my job was and I think I performed pretty well at being , uh , the more annoying sister. I , I, I don't recall it, but I understand when I was around two , I would actually like actively bite you.

Speaker 9:

I would say in for , or like four in the moment I would used to think six.

Speaker 1:

You weren't really that annoyed about me. Oh , that's so sweet .

Speaker 7:

Don't take it like that though.

Speaker 11:

Mm . I wanna say like a solid three . Oh yeah. You weren't that annoying. I mean, you're like, you're annoying, but like it was helpful

Speaker 10:

When I was a child . I probably thought you hovered around an eight, but I think in reality I was the more annoying one. So,

Speaker 13:

Well you were just a figment.

Speaker 11:

So that wasn't your

Speaker 10:

Fault. You did tell me that I was a figment of your imagination, which was slightly annoying. <laugh>

Speaker 9:

On a scale of one to 10. How great of a sister am I 10 throughout school. You helped us navigate, you know, with classes and just like, you know, helping us , me get through high school, applying to college. And then when I was actually in college, there was a lot of things I didn't understand. I mean, isn't that like what an older sister is supposed to do

Speaker 11:

One to 10 . How, how great of a , so my 10 . Oh my God. Yeah . I would forgot to say a 10 ,

Speaker 7:

A 10.

Speaker 1:

Are you just saying that? Cuz you want me to keep cash shopping you money

Speaker 7:

Basically. Yeah.

Speaker 10:

Okay. You're a great sister. Good . You were always, I mean, I , I mean, I'll give you a 10. I always looked up to you, you know, through high school and whatnot . I tried to basically follow in the same footsteps as you, as best as I possibly could. And you were ultimately the one that encouraged me to pursue music and I always took your advice because it was always sound advice. And so, yeah. Great sister .

Speaker 8:

I wanna say , um , Hannah was the, the oldest child. So given that our parents made all of the mistakes on her, I wanna say, I wanna give her a solid six and a half . And that , um, we both got a lot closer to each other more as of late. And I think that that number is a lot closer to 10 now.

Speaker 14:

Okay . Describe our dynamic.

Speaker 11:

We'll like pick up the phone often and be like, Hey, this is going on. Hey, this is going on. We don't really fight ever anymore. Or like disagree or bicker. No, sometimes we bicker.

Speaker 14:

I was gonna say, <laugh>

Speaker 11:

No , we do be bickering. I'll be like, stop trying what to do . And I'll be like, you ask for vice I'm like my dad

Speaker 14:

And then you , and then you hang up on me and then tomorrow you call me and you're like, okay, here's what's going on now? <laugh> <laugh>

Speaker 11:

Take <laugh> No, but I would say the dynamic overall it's kinda like Gilmore girls, except for the fact that you're like, not my mom.

Speaker 14:

I don't think I'm like Laura lie though. Am I RO and you're Laura

Speaker 11:

Lie probably. Oh, a hundred . And we

Speaker 7:

Have a great connecting bond. I just do we really? No , I was lying. <laugh>

Speaker 10:

You always wanted to read and kind of have time to yourself. And I wanted to do anything in my power to interrupt your reading and your time to yourself, probably toward the end of your time in high school, you started treating me a little bit more like a real person <laugh> and started including me in a few like social activities and, and whatnot . And so that was, I think that was when our relationship started to get closer and better. And then, I mean, it sounds weird, but then when you went away to college, we managed to actually I think get even closer.

Speaker 8:

I remember when I went away to college at 18 , uh, struggling a whole lot less than some of the kids who had never had to share rooms and negotiate those kinds of, of challenges of cohabiting and living in a space.

Speaker 12:

So what I'm hearing is that the chaos that I contributed to and we may together inoculate you against roommate shock in college.

Speaker 11:

Well ,

Speaker 8:

You were the cowpox to the , the future smallpox that I then had up resistance to <laugh>

Speaker 9:

There's things that like can upset me very easily. And I feel like you're always the one to then keep me levelheaded.

Speaker 15:

But yeah, same. I feel like you're the older one. Who's like, you know , the wiser, like I forgot the word English.

Speaker 9:

What is it in

Speaker 15:

Spanish? Spanish ? Is it advice, advice you give advice to us? Like when we need it, cuz either you've been there done that or yeah.

Speaker 9:

Or pretend they've been there done that .

Speaker 12:

How am I different at home versus in public,

Speaker 8:

Hannah can be very private about certain aspects of her life . And it's only a , a very kind close knit circle of people who she really gets , gets close to . And maybe she lets herself be a little bit more vulnerable to those people.

Speaker 14:

Are you afraid of being mean or something?

Speaker 11:

No, that's I was gonna say like quirky, like you're like all excited. You'll talk about something and you'll just be like so excited. Like, it'll be like, I don't know , like a statue somewhere and you're like, yo, let's go check this out. <laugh>

Speaker 1:

Okay. So we need to go back because you said how at home is more, how , what does that mean?

Speaker 7:

You're just you,

Speaker 1:

What does that mean?

Speaker 7:

You're just how that , that's what that means . Is that a bad thing? It's not a bad thing. You're just how ,

Speaker 1:

Okay. So what does that mean for the people who don't know me?

Speaker 7:

Um, Well, if you know how then you, you just act like how , I don't know. I can't, oh my God. You're the , you just act like

Speaker 15:

You. And it's funny cuz we always think, why are you so loud? And everyone's like, she's quiet. We're like, you know , she's loud. Like this is loud

Speaker 9:

For us. This is loud for us.

Speaker 14:

Would we be friends if we were not related?

Speaker 11:

I would say, yeah, I think so. I mean, you're like a little boring sometimes you'd probably be like the friend that I like call like once a month and I'd be like, how's your life? And then you update me on it and then we just do it again the next month. Like you wouldn't be like Myrah RA or Kuba like, let's go out every weekend and do stuff.

Speaker 14:

Yeah. I was gonna say, I feel like we hang out in different circles. So like, it would be hard for us to meet each other, but that's not to say we wouldn't get along. If we did happen to meet like at work or something, we're not gonna go out to the bars.

Speaker 11:

Yeah. Like if we were at the bars, we wouldn't have sat at like the same tables or like

Speaker 14:

I'd be at home and you'd be just getting there. <laugh>

Speaker 10:

Again, it would've depended on when, when in the , the timeline of life it would've been because grade school, absolutely not . You would . I think, I think in high , by the time we got to high school, had we been in high school together? I think, yes. We probably would've been, we would've been choir kids.

Speaker 15:

I mean, I feel like, yeah. Right. I think maybe <laugh>

Speaker 9:

But I , I don't know . I feel like we have similar dispositions but different personalities, but that's because we, you know, we're different in our ,

Speaker 15:

Um , Zodiac signs <laugh>

Speaker 9:

Yes. In our Zodiac signs. But I was gonna say in order of birth, so as the oldest, I was gonna probably be the one that's more responsible as a middle sister. I feel like that's a catchall because I don't think all middle siblings are the same. And then as the youngest, I think you're definitely the funniest of us.

Speaker 8:

I almost think it would really depend on how we had met , how we had met and whether the environment was one. That was one of these shared situations where I don't know, it brought out the fact that Hannah is , uh , a quirky, hilarious weirdo who sometimes covers herself in plastic spiders, posing in some sort of guest scene or wears eyeball mask. And I like to dress up in shark costumes or dinosaur costumes. Do other weird stuff.

Speaker 7:

I don't think so. You're a 28 year old. So like I'm 14. We wouldn't be friends. I don't know how he would.

Speaker 1:

<laugh> okay. Honestly, you're not wrong. Okay. But what if I was your age? Would we be friends? You're thinking too hard. I'm gonna take that as a no.

Speaker 7:

Yeah. Probably not. Wait . I don't know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that sounds like a no. Okay. Thanks. Thanks for your time off .

Speaker 14:

Do you have anything else you wanna share about sisterhood,

Speaker 11:

Sisterhood of the traveling pants? Um, great movie by the way. Um,

Speaker 14:

Not book . That's the key difference between us.

Speaker 11:

Yeah . See that is the difference between us. I don't, I don't read . And my sister is a librarian, so I don't know that we would've had friends . I'd take it back .

Speaker 15:

I was just gonna say, you know, the famous quote sisters by chance, friends by choice. <laugh>

Speaker 3:

Okay. So for today's game segment, we're gonna try to take this quiz as Ramona . And it's called our , everyone is an obscure Portlandia character and this personality test will reveal which you are. We have to, you know, do a shout out for Beverly clear . He's a hometown of Portland. The first question is a guy on the street calls you pretty. You tell him to seek God, give him a lesson in feminist history. Tell him, thank you, sir. Tell him about your favorite band giggle or berate him .

Speaker 2:

I think Ramona would say no. Thank you, sir.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. With some like force behind it, it wouldn't just be like, oh no, thank you . Be like, no, thank you. Stop.

Speaker 2:

Well, cuz she keeps like trying to sort of, well, uncle Hobar like how she keeps like so are you the I'm moving back to

Speaker 16:

<laugh> real subtle .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. At least on surface. It would sound polite, but like the tone would clearly not be.

Speaker 3:

I like that one. Everyone. Okay. With that option. Yeah. Okay. It's Friday night. You can be found doing homework, finding over bands at the hall artist venue, giggling, reading the Bible, making plans to smash the patriarchy snuggled up with your boyfriend and your bed sweater. What's a bed sweater .

Speaker 2:

I think Ramona's gonna smash the patriarch. I was

Speaker 1:

Literally gonna say that

Speaker 3:

<laugh> John , these choices. That's the most, I mean, I could see Ramona doing it. If your friend's had to describe you one word, it would be entrepreneurial responsible, intense, unique, smart, passionate. I think

Speaker 1:

Ramon is kind of intense.

Speaker 3:

I think she's kind of intense.

Speaker 2:

She's intense. She's also unique. But I think intense is a good descriptor

Speaker 3:

Of her

Speaker 2:

As

Speaker 3:

Well.

Speaker 2:

Yes. She's a lot.

Speaker 3:

Your perfect date consists of, I've never been on a date maybe one day going to a protest, talking about music, brainstorming new business ventures, giggling less choices . I don't date by choice.

Speaker 1:

I like that . I've never been on a date maybe one day because she's clearly still a child. <laugh> and she's not at the age of like bees . She

Speaker 2:

And Howie do have

Speaker 3:

She and Howie have this relationship.

Speaker 4:

Yeah . They , they , they smash bricks

Speaker 1:

Together. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

In their

Speaker 4:

Brick factory game.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I like that one too.

Speaker 3:

I've never been on a date.

Speaker 2:

Maybe one made it one day.

Speaker 3:

Your favorite subject in school was recess. Music, business, religion, art and

Speaker 1:

Math recess.

Speaker 2:

I feel like recess.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Or art though. I mean she did really go <laugh> she ,

Speaker 2:

She was artistic and she did music. You know, she loved that harmonica and , and her parade,

Speaker 4:

A marching band parade parade.

Speaker 3:

I don't

Speaker 2:

Know . But I feel like you can kind of do all those things at recess too . Yes .

Speaker 3:

Recess. It is finally, what would you name your child is Bendix an option algae. <laugh> Robert, Gloria, Peter Francis , perse . Susan .

Speaker 1:

I think she would go with Susan <laugh> I Or for SCE .

Speaker 2:

Perse does sound like really beautiful. But I think Susan says the right like combination of beautiful, but weird.

Speaker 3:

It's like a little bit quirky and like off the beaten path, which is

Speaker 2:

Ramona. I vote for Susan .

Speaker 3:

All right . Ramona. Her obscure Portland character is Ashby. She says giggle. That's not very satisfying as a result.

Speaker 1:

Could someone, cause I am not familiar with port Landia. So could someone give a little bit of context to this? Like result

Speaker 3:

Port Landia stereotypes. I have seen it, but I don't remember this character.

Speaker 1:

Well they did say obscure <laugh>

Speaker 3:

Yeah . They , they weren't kidding about the obscure

Speaker 1:

Giggles. <laugh> like what?

Speaker 3:

We never picked giggles.

Speaker 1:

Literally never . Well , some of the ones we picked probably gave giggles vibes.

Speaker 2:

So Ashby is a real person from Portland. Oh really? In real life, she makes appearance as herself, which is a ghostly, oddly feminine entity with a bobbing weather balloon tied to her and Portlandia. She plays a character herself. I think that captures Ramona.

Speaker 3:

Yep .

Speaker 2:

Ramona. Yeah . I mean I think this is, she is a free spirit who laughs a lot. Agreed . So I think that's fine for Ramona

Speaker 4:

Each episode we ask whether our book passes, the Bede test Bede test asks whether a work features two female characters who talk to each other about something that doesn't involve men or boys. So does it?

Speaker 1:

Yes. I think they both definitely pass. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

<laugh>

Speaker 2:

We have plenty of conversations about be and Ramona together. We have the conversation about Mrs. Kemp, watching kids. We've got lots of stuff in there. They talk about a dip cat . Yeah . It's poor picky. Picky.

Speaker 1:

R I P well, that's it for this episode of these books made me join us next time when we'll discuss a book where the boys at school are obsess with mountains, if you think you know which book we're tackling next drop a , a tweet . We're at PGC MLS on Twitter and hashtag these books made me.