I never read these books when I was a kid. Did you? They were mentioned this week on The Writer’s Almanac:
The Boxcar Children series is the story of four orphans, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who range in age from six to fourteen. Their parents die, and their grandfather is granted custody. But the children are afraid that he is a cruel old man, and so they run away and set up house in an abandoned boxcar, supporting themselves and living an independent life.
Gertrude Chandler Warner said that after it was published, many librarians objected to the story because they thought the children were having too much fun without any parental control. Warner said, “That is exactly why children like it!”
As we were driving home, I told Vivi, “You know, when those books came out, some people didn’t think kids should read them because they didn’t think it was right for children to read about kids who lived on their own and had fun adventures without any grown-ups around.”
I looked in the rearview mirror and she was gazing out the window, nonplussed. I asked, “What do you think about that?”
“Well,” she said, “I don’t think about the alone part as much as I think about the adventure part.”
Huh. That pretty much sums up the first three years of therapy for me. When Fartbuster and I divorced, I spent at least a year staring at the alone part instead of at the adventure part.
The Alone Part–that’s the part where you end up sitting on the edge of your bed and asking yourself, “How did I get HERE?” (to quote my friend, Heather). The alone part is the part where you can’t breathe or sleep because your brain is hashing up every NEVER AGAIN and ALWAYS that it can lay hands on. The alone part demands logic and reason and a really sound explanation. The alone part asks, “WHY?”
The Adventure Part–that’s the part where you end up sitting on the edge of your bed and asking yourself, “What do I want to do today?” The adventure part is the part where your whistle comes back and you get some jig in your giddy up. The adventure part sleeps at night and dreams during the day. The adventure part demands leaps and giggles and doesn’t care to explain itself. The adventure part asks, “WHY NOT?”