Today I walked into my office in the middle of a hectic morning and I found a copy of Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin on my desk – the very first book in the young adult series The Baby-Sitters Club.
I didn’t know who’d left the book there, so I immediately posted a photo of the book on Facebook, figuring that the gift-giving co-worker would see it and reveal herself. That’s the easiest way to solve a mystery like this, right?
No – it’s not. I knocked on my next-door neighbor’s door five minutes later and she told me that she’d found the book while cleaning out her mother’s basement and had left it on my desk. (I guess we don’t need to use social media for all communication? It’s unclear.)
A few hours later, my Facebook post had some likes and some comments, and my sister and I were DEEP into a texting argument over which baby-sitter we’d be if we were the members of The Baby-Sitters Club. (I so want to be Dawn Schafer, but I am constantly assigned the role of either Kristy Thomas or Mary Anne Spier.)
My wife Tee and I recently had a similar discussion with our friend The Naturalist; one Saturday during harvest, we decided that Tee is Stacey McGill, The Naturalist was Kristy Thomas, and I was (sigh) Mary Anne. (My sister thinks Tee is more Logan than Stacey, which is actually pretty insightful – a Southerner who is kind, laidback, and level-headed.)
The point of all this chitchat is that I was pleasantly surprised by how much dialogue was instigated at the mere mention of The Baby-Sitters Club (BSC). Today’s conversations got me thinking about the feelings BSC talk inspires in girls of a certain age. Whenever The Baby-Sitters Club comes up in conversation, it cues two things – nostalgia and questions of identity. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life spoken about BSC without engaging in a lengthy debate about who would be who, and why, and then subsequent arguing when opinions differed. And I’ve never thought about BSC without being instantly transported back to my childhood home, with me sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal, the latest BSC book folded around the cereal bowl so I could read while I ate, my older sister waiting impatiently for me to finish so she could read it, too.
I don’t think I’m alone in the sentimental identity crisis I experience every time I think about these beloved books. Every once in a while, an expression of BSC love will pop up on my Facebook feed – a list of the best-dressed BSC members, a blog that summarizes all the BSC books, a look at the worst covers in BSC history. AND, thanks to my reflections today, I had the good fortune of discovering that a BSC prequel was released several years ago, as well as graphic novel versions of the first four BSC books! (Don’t you worry; they’ve already been requested from the Baltimore County Public Library.)
In order to win my argument with my sister, I took Buzz Feed’s Which Baby-Sitter Are You? quiz, and was VERY happy to get Dawn as my result! You can take the quiz here if you want to find out who you are. (You know you want to.)