Ramona Quimby and Me

Mar 4, 2013 | 2 comments

RamonaAs I recall, I was a fairly compliant little girl. As an only child, I didn’t need to compete with siblings for attention and, though I can’t cite specific examples, I was probably spoiled – not in a material way because we never had any money.  But I don’t remember very many times that I needed to argue with the authority figures in my life in order to get my way.

So, years later, when I was teaching primary grades and reading to my classes from “chapter books” each day (that precious fifteen minutes after lunch that we all loved!), I managed to learn a lot from the characters of children’s literature.  One such individual was Beverly Cleary’s feisty Ramona Quimby.

I always think of her by the entire title of one of the books in which she starred, Ramona Quimby Age 8, though it is the Kindergarten-aged Ramona with whom I best identify, even now as I approach the octogenarian years!  Maybe I’m declining into those “second childhood years” or maybe, to put a more positive spin on it, I’m just in touch with the child in me.  Whatever… I feel that Ramona has taught me a great deal.

Take her Kindergarten habit of pointing at someone who annoyed her and drawing a huge X in the air in front of them.  It took a while for everyone to figure out what she was doing – X-ing them out of existence.  At school she was learning how to X out the picture that didn’t belong with the others – for instance, if she X-ed out the banana in a row of various toys on her worksheet, her teacher smiled and praised her.  So, she applied it to real-life situations.  In modern parlance, she was in effect letting people know that they were ‘out of her network!’

I love that!  Not that I actually point and make the X.  But, I do try to remember that there is no reason to worry about those annoying people who interfere unduly with my version of sanity.  I can just mentally X them out and get on with things.

The most important thing I learned from little Miss Ramona, though, was that sometimes it is useful to make a “Great Big Noisy Fuss.”  Granted, Ramona’s GBNFes were more in the form of tantrums and mine are (I hope) in the form of reasoned-but-firm objections to situations which I feel are unfair or just plain ridiculous.  Instead of rolling over and letting someone (who I am sure is wrong) prevail, I find that making a GBNF (in a nice way) is helpful.

And so it is thanks to Ramona-Quimby-Age-8 that I have gained a little time for correcting the proofs on my Legendary Locals book and the promise that I will, indeed, see a second set of proofs before it goes to press. Thanks for that trick, Ramona-Quimby-Age-8!  Once again you have proved to be the perfect role model!


  1. Mrs. C.

    Oh, bravo Sydney…Ramona was one of the first chapter books I remember reading and she was always a favorite character for me. Maybe because I tended to be more Beezus-like and often longed in my heart to get away with making a Great Big Noisy Fuss…

  2. brigid byrne

    The thing about it is, you are just as cute as Ramona too.


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