Saturday, July 30, 2011

Author Pilgrimage #1

Today we went to Mankato, MN to visit the Betsy-Tacy Society's preserved Betsy and Tacy Houses. It was a really neat day.

On the way down to Mankato, we came across the Biggest Candy Store in Minnesota. It was really neat. There is a GIANT gumball machine that you can't miss when you walk in the store. The girls posed by it (and were pleased to buy a gumball before we left).

Unlike my usual self, I told each girl that she could get a candy and a soda. This was perhaps a mistake. There are about a million different kinds of candy there. We saw ginger chews. We saw gummy rats. (YUCK!) We saw clove gum, which reminded me of the one time I smoked a clove cigarette. (It was disgusting. And "smoked" is probably too strong a word. I took a puff off a clove cigarette. I think I ran and brushed my teeth for like 20 minutes right after.) We saw lots of other candy that reminded me of a friend I had my freshman year of college. Lemon Heads. Pop Rocks. Pop Rocks! Wow! Anyway, Rose #3 was like beside herself with excitement, trying to figure out what to get:
And Rose #2 was dumbfounded with joy and surprise. She told me that when she is an adult, she was going to live at the candy store. The friends we were with said they would visit her. By the way, Rose #2 came out of the candy story with a giant thing full of taffy. "But Mom, you SAID we could get ONE THING of candy!"
After the candy store and a nice picnic lunch in St. Peter, we arrived in Mankato. The way to the Betsy and Tacy houses is not marked. Luckily we had Google Navigation which brought us right to Betsy's House! The girls all posed under the sign. Reggie, our friend, read several chapters of Betsy-Tacy on the ride down. Rose #1 had read the book before, but Roses #2 and #3 had not. It was really nice to have heard the book a bit before we arrived.
After a rather stern docent gave us a tour, we went over to Tacy's House, where it turned out we should have started all along. Tacy had 10 brothers and sisters, and she lived in a tiny house.
Here are the moms by the Betsy's House sign:
Betsy and Tacy often took their dinner out to the bench at the end of Hill street. This is not the actual bench, but it is supposedly in the same place. It is in a nice little grove, with (unfortunately) lots of mosquitoes. We think that when Betsy and Tacy (in real life, Maud Hart Lovelace and her best friend Frances "Bick" Kenney) brought their dinners and sat outside to eat them, there were no mosquitoes. Probably there weren't any trees at that point. Here are the girls sitting on the bench:
And the mommies with Reggie and Rose #3:
Betsy and Tacy had another friend, Tib (Marjorie "Midge" Gerlach) who lived really just around the block. The Betsy-Tacy society does not own Tib's house, but someone put a plaque on the front door:
Here's a better view:
It was a wonderful day. No TV because we were out on an author pilgrimage. After the pilgrimage we drove over to the Faribault water park and went swimming, a great activity for this hot Minnesota July day. I loved reading the Betsy Tacy books when I was young. Now they seem so sentimental and sweet; Betsy and Tacy were just darling little girls who loved each other and were lifelong friends. We should all be so lucky to have such friends.

We want to go on other Minnesota author pilgrimages. Can anyone think of any and recommend them?


Ellie said...

I loved it there mom

Melissa said...

You should go to Walnut Grove, MN or Pepin, WI for a Laura Ingalls Wilder pilgrimage!