In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

True love: the ceremony

Dear Annie,

I'm writing this the morning of your brother's wedding.  I love the tribute to true love you just posted, and thought I'd continue in that vein.  Here are excerpts from two truly wonderful pieces of children's literature.

First, as you know, I'm a very big Beverly Cleary fan.  This is from
Ramona Forever
, set in the summer after her third grade year.  Ramona's aunt is marrying her friend Howie's uncle.  The ever-frugal Quimbys have new dresses for their daughters to wear in the wedding party, but figure they can make do with their old party shoes:

“Beezus, my feet are killing me,” whispered Ramona with tears in her eyes.  “My shoes are way too short.”
“So are mine,” agreed Beezus. “I'll never make it down the aisle”
Grandmother Kemp was lining up the wedding party in the order in which they were to enter the church.  “Once you reach your place at the front of the church, don't move,” she ordered.
“Quick,” whispered Beezus to Ramona.  “Give me your shoes.”  Astonished, Ramona obeyed.  As the wedding party proceeded through the reception room to the vestibule of the church, Beezus dropped the two pairs of slippers into a large bouquet of rhododendron blossoms.  When the organ burst forth with the processional, the girls stifled their giggles.  Uncle Hobart's friends, the bearded ushers splendid in their rented clothes, grinned at the girls and, after escorting Howie's mother and grandmother and Mrs. Quimby to the front pew, returned to walk slowly down the aisle together.
Ramona and Beezus counted to four.  With the carpet tickling the bottoms of their feet and their nosegays quivering from nervousness, they followed, slowly and with dignity.
The scene continues to where Ramona saves the day by finding the missing ring, but I'll leave our readers to anticipate that, as we are anticipating Michael and Grace's walk down the aisle.

The next is from
Walk Two Moons
, a marvelous and emotionally rich book by Sharon Creech.  (I'd call it fourth grade and up).  Salamanca is traveling cross-country with her grandparents, who reminisce about their lives.  Here is the story of their marriage, narrated by Sal:
They were married in an aspen grove on a clear July day, and afterward they and all their friends and relatives had a wedding supper on the banks of the river. ...
At the end of the supper, Gramps picked up Gram in his arms and carried her across the meadow.  Behind them, everyone was singing, “Oh meet me, in the tulips, when the tulips do blooom--”  This is what they always sing at weddings when the married couple leaves.  It is supposed to be a joke, as if Gram and Gramps were going away by themselves and might not reappear until the following spring when the tulips were in bloom.
Gramps carried Gram all the way across the meadow and through the trees and into the clearing where their little house stood.  He carried her in through the door, and took one look around and started to cry.
The reason Gramps cried when he carried Gram into the house was that there, in the center of the bedroom, stood his own parents' bed – the bed that Gramps and each of his brothers had been born in, the bed his parents had always slept in.  This is where his father and brothers had disappeared to during the wedding supper.  They had been moving the bed into Gram and Gramps's new house.  At the foot of the bed, wiggling and slurping, was Sadie, Gramps's old beagle dog.
Gramps always ends this story by saying, “That bed has been around my whole entire life, and I'm going to die in that bed, and then that bed will know everything there is to know about me.”
So each night on our trip out  to Idaho, Gramps patted the bed in the motel and said, “Well, this ain't our marriage bed, but it will do,” while I lay in the next bed wondering if I would ever have a marriage bed like theirs.

Here's wishing Michael and Grace a wonderful marriage.


Aunt Debbie

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