What did I do on my summer vacation? I watched the Babysitter’s club Netflix series. And I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Unsolved Mysteries, and Dave Chappelle’s 8:46. I ate literal pounds of goldfish crackers, baked several cakes, went for a short trip to the ocean, searched for jobs, and read Hidden Valley Road, a captivating book about schizophrenia and Charles Johnson’s The Way of the Writer. Both are excellent.
I also spent many days at our local beach with the little one.
The Babysitter’s Club (BSC)
I am filled with a weird mix of nostalgia for six months ago, when I could go to a show and for when I was thirteen and had little idea how scary and pain-filled the world actually is.
At thirteen, I would have thought of the pandemic as nothing more than a exciting moment in time because I felt invincible.
Imagine being thirteen now and “sneaking out” to see your crush, mid-pandemic. It’s only the most romantic thing ever.
“Meet me at the beach,” he texted.
I knew he wasn’t social distancing; I knew he had played basketball with his friends two days ago. But he was irresistible.
“Are you going to wear a mask?” I braced myself for the answer. Please say yes, please say yes.
“Then I won’t either.” Did this mean we were a couple?
I left the cute flowered-cover mask on my nightstand, the one I bought just for him to see and opened the window to the stifling heat. My parents were sleeping. I was free….
The BSC is why I wanted to be a writer. The writing was of so-so quality (so many outfit descriptions!), but the stories, ah the stories. The BSC is why I fantasized about living in the Nutmeg State (Connecticut) and the BSC is why I love classic blue-and-white bedrooms (Stacey) and why I have always vacationed in seaside towns (Sea City!) as an adult.
Stacey taught me about Diabetes I, Dawn taught me that a boy should never order food for you in a restaurant (the grilled cheese!); and Kristy taught me that it is OK to be a tomboy (I liked catching frogs and hated fashion).
I am even a more confident mother because of it. In this fictional series, 7th graders can provide exceptional care to kids. If Mary Anne can handle a 104-degree fever, so can I!
They are just as I remember: Innocent. Accepting. Industrious. I loved that they had a business, but I skipped over all of the boring babysitter diaries to get to the friendship trials and relationship drama.
And I liked that the series tried to undermine stereotypes. It’s far from perfect, but it tried. I watched the Claudia Kishi Club on Netflix and am glad to hear the character connected with young Asian Americans in the 80s/90s.
I had a grandmother just like Mimi. We were very close and drank a lot of tea together and I thought of her whenever I read the Claudia stories.
Thanks Ann M. Martin and the new Netflix series for making both the pandemic and my pre-teen years a little more tolerable.