I sometimes think of the painful things, but more often than that, I think about the good things. I think about Ramona Quimby. If she and I had ever met I'm certain we would have been best friends because she was the only person who could possibly understand me.
In my youth, I checked out every Ramona book from the library. I've carried the memories with me forever. Sometimes I would stay up late in my room reading about her adventures. We were about the same age and how could I not want to be just like her?
From the time she squeezed an entire tube of toothpaste into the bathroom sink out of frustration, to the time she got her hair shampooed, cut and styled by a big time hairdresser. She even secretly wore her pajamas to school. I found myself having similar events in my own life.
One Saturday morning, my Mom took me to a hair salon and I felt just like Ramona. The sudsy shampoo smelled so good and it was relaxing to have my hair washed by a professional. When I was dried and styled I skipped up and down the ramp from the waiting area to the salon area, glimpsing in every mirror along the way, so proud of my new hairdo!
When I was in 4th grade we got to watch a movie in class one day (The Neverending Story). I was sitting at my desk in the corner of the classroom. It was cloudy and rainy outside. I was next to the window enjoying the moment. So cozy. I was wearing my friend's jacket. Not just any jacket, this was a baby blue satin jacket with pink sleeves and a giant roller skate patch on the front. The best jackets ever created, in my opinion. Once again, I was feeling like Ramona.
I realize now that my love for Ramona Quimby was awakened by words and amazing writing. That is the sign of an extraordinary writer. Someone who can make you feel like your in the book alongside the characters. Like you are right there with them and emotionally attached. Feeling, smelling, tasting every written word. Stirring imagination without even a photo.
So thank you, Beverly Cleary. Thank you for sending me Ramona Quimby, my best friend forever.