Last week my eldest daughter and I drove my son back to college. He is a sophomore this year. This simply means that I was not filled with anxiety as I anticipated leaving him at school. I will miss him and, of course, worry about him as any mother would. However, I know he was a great student last year, he honored his Dad's wishes even in his absence, and he enjoyed himself.
So we had a long, but enjoyable drive. We talked, listened to our favorite radio hosts, and my daughter read to us as I drove. She read from one of our family's favorite collections, The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Maud Hart Lovelace based this collection of books on her own lovely childhood in a small town in Minnesota. The time period is the early twentieth century. Betsy, the main character, is followed from the time she enters kindergarten (Betsy-Tacy) through her first year of marriage (Betsy's Wedding).
My children never tire of Betsy and her friends as we read over and over about their elementary years. However, our favorite books in this series begin with Heaven To Betsy . Here we find Betsy entering high school. The remainder of the series sees her through high school graduation, into her young adult life and culminates as she is married just as World War I begins.
Lovelace's characterizations are fabulous. Even her minor characters are three-dimensional. By the time Betsy enters high school in 1906 the reader is intimately familiar with her thoughts, attitudes, worries, hopes, and aspirations. Her family and friends will become your family and friends. You will enjoy Sunday dinners with her "crowd", devouring her father's famous onion sandwiches. You will spend evenings singing around her family's piano.
You will fret with Betsy as she studies for Latin exams and prepares for essay contests. You will love her discussions of the classics and even Wagner's operas. Lovelace captured the time period with delightful descriptions of the fashion, architecture, and culture that created Betsy Ray's life. Betsy's life may seem idyllic but I believe it is simply a picture of a beautiful family enjoying a simple life to the fullest. The entire series is available through Amazon.