By Jennifer Peltak
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Additional resources for Beverly Cleary (Who Wrote That?)
Beverly knew vaguely where Norma lived and wrote her a letter. Norma responded immediately and enthusiastically. Norma’s parents were fine with the two girls living together, and Beverly’s parents also agreed. Verna found the girls a two-bedroom apartment with a monthly rent of $15. Now truly on her own, Beverly basked in her independence. She marveled at going to the market on her own and taking turns cooking with Norma. She went to the movies, football games, and dances, earning extra money by knitting lace patterns and correcting high school Latin papers.
She won honorable mention and was awarded $2 for naming a new brand of bread. The family cancelled the weekly newspaper and Beverly’s father learned how to sharpen his razor blade instead of buying a new one. He quit smoking to save on the cost of tobacco and finally sold the family’s car. Beverly continued to display her gift for writing in high school. For one class she wrote a story about a boy who was accidentally dyed green, saving him from performing in the school Christmas pageant. She received good grades, and her better papers were read aloud in class.
Her favorites were the “Our Gang” comedies. “To me these comedies were about neighborhood children playing together, something I wanted to read about in books. ” 48 Beverly’s mother had a different idea about what her daughter needed. That summer she decided it was time to “mold my character. I was too old to call her Mamma. I was to call her Mother. Her rules followed me around the house like mosquitoes. ” There was the occasional bright side to so much trying. A contest was announced with a prize of $2 for the best essay about an animal.
Beverly Cleary (Who Wrote That?) by Jennifer Peltak