Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Oh, Kaye!"

Falling in love with fictional characters.

When do you know you’ve crossed the line?

I suppose it could be when you sit by the phone and wait for Linda Fairstein’s Mike Chapman to actually call.

Or, I suppose it might be when you start pretending to be the character you admire  (that's probably a good time to seek professional counseling, I would guess).

But it’s okay when you’re little, right? I mean, we all played “Let’s Pretend” when we were little. 

right . . .?  (you know, I really didn't mean for this post to follow along the same theme as my last one about being such an odd little child . . . . )

Assuming everyone reading this is nodding their head yes, I’m going to tell you who I pretended to be.

Oh laws, but I loved Eloise.

I’m not sure too many book beginnings caught my attention in quite the way this one did.

"I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child. I live at the Plaza."

I kinda had a head start on my whims to be Eloise because I had the ability to push my imagination into overdrive. 

But still - - -

Eloise and I do share a few things. 

See what you think.

First of all, we were both born in 1948. While it's true that the first Eloise book was published in 1955, legend has it that Kay Thompson invented Eloise to entertain friends and co-workers. She didn't know what she looked like, however, until Hilary Knight drew a sketch and sent it to her, and she supposedly told him she recognized the little girl immediately.

And so began the partnership that brought us Kay Thompson's Eloise: A book for precocious grownups published on November 28, 1955 by Simon and Schuster (just missing my birthday, which is November 26).

Let's take a look at some of the startling similarities between me and Eloise -

* Eloise lived in the oh so posh Plaza Hotel in New York City.
* I lived in an old apartment building in downtown Cambridge, MD.

*There were expensive restaurants offering fine dining in the hotel lobby, including room service.
*There was a soda fountain in the drug store in my apartment building lobby. If we had ever called Mr. Collins requesting room service he would have laughed himself silly, and we would have been the talk of Cambridge.

*There were ritzy boutique dress shops in the hotel lobby.
*The city gas company and an insurance office were in my apartment lobby.
And one children’s clothing shop.
And a jewelry store.
I don’t remember much about the clothing shop, truth be told, but I sure do remember the jewelry store. It was owned by my buddy, Mr. Henry DeVoe. Mr. DeVoe would sometimes let me hang out with him if my dad was working and my mom had to run to the grocery store. And he let me open my very first charge account. I’ve been a little bit in love with jewelry ever since.

*There was an exclusive hair salon in the hotel lobby.
*Cecelia’s Beauty Parlor was in my apartment lobby. I would march into Cecelia’s and carry on conversations with the ladies getting their hair done on a regular basis. Leaning over them while they were having a shampoo. Knock-knocking on the hair dryers to say "Hey!" and pass the time of day. And told everyone I was going to be coming to work there as Miss Cecelia’s manicure girl when I grew up. I don't recall running this plan by Miss Cecelia, however.

*The lobby of the Plaza Hotel was sumptuous and elegant with thick carpeting and beautifully decorated conversation areas.
*The lobby of my apartment building was not.

But it did have a movie theater! With an elegant (I thought) ticket office, and a gentleman who stood outside the theater doors collecting tickets.

I spent a lot of time chatting with them too.

*I did not have a Nanny who liked to watch the fights and drink pilsner.
*My dad liked to watch football and drink beer though.

So see – my life growing up wasn’t so different from Eloise.

Well, I didn’t have a dog named Weenie who looked like a cat, nor did I have a turtle named Skipperdee who ate raisins and wore sneakers, but I did have a turtle. Several, as I remember. I never was sure what happened to one turtle before my mom would take me to Woolworth’s to the turtle tank to get a new one. They were all named Sweetie Pie. As was my parakeet. As were the chickens we had living under the stove for a short while (that's another story for another day, however).


So, maybe there really weren't that many ways in which Eloise and I were alike. Other than being a bit free-spirited and presumptious in our misguided imaginations that everyone thought we were adorable.

So, yes, Eloise has been to Paris, and I haven't.

And, she's been to Moscow. I have not.

But!  She apparently liked Christmas a lot.   Well - me, too!

And, she took bawths.    Me, too!

Well, actually, I don't recall ever saying I was taking a bawth, but I did and still do love a bubble bath.

And she was in a dance recital or two, I think.    Guess What! 

Me, too!

I loved her when I was a kid and I still love her today.

And I'm not the only one.

Eloise has a lot of fans. A lot of them still stop by The Plaza to see her portrait which was painted by Hilary Knight. The original portrait disappeared after a party. A fraternity party - - or so the story goes. Sometime after that happened, supposedly, Princess Grace visited the hotel with her children and was sad to learn the portrait was gone, which moved Mr. Knight to paint a new one.

The Plaza threw an anniversary party when Eloise turned 40. Simon and Schuster published a special anniversary edition of the book.

And The Plaza continues keeping Eloise alive today. This from their webpage - "Guests who skibble in may relax in the stylish living room, and plan their (mis)adventures with the concierge, just like a certain young lady. In the Fashion Room there is absolutely nothing but costumes for dress up, so mini-Eloises can model their favorite looks from the podium. Sklonking off to the Library Room, guests may enjoy “park views” and watch their favorite Eloise movie clips, play on the computer stations or enjoy story time with their mostly companion. Of course, fans can’t leave without a visit to the Tea Room where family and friends can come together for tea and birthday parties and other celebrations. A visit to the Beauty Salon rounds out a day of living like Eloise, and in Summer 2010, tea and birthday parties, beauty salon service and etiquette classes will be available too, thank you very much."

My invitation to the ball was lost in the mail, I think.

And - the chances of ever actually spending the night in the Eloise suite?  Pffttt - Let's say that's a definite slim to none.

But, one of these days - ONE of these days - I plan to at least peek into the Eloise Suite and visit the Eloise Shop in The Plaza.  Maybe buy one of those postcards even.  I haven't been to New York in years and years and years, and I'm wanting a trip back pretty badly, truth be told.  I want to be the complete tourist.  I want to wear my most comfy clothes, shoes and a hat.  I want to see the most touristy things NYC has to offer - camera in hand.  I want to sing on the ferry to Staten Island, go to the top of the Empire State Building, gawk at diners at The Russian Tea Room, have my picture taken with the Eloise portrait, see a Broadway play, go to The Cloisters, prowl around The Dakota (can you do that?), I want a day at MoMA, a Bronx tour, a Brooklyn tour, a sail around Manhattan, a Coney Island tour, a Food on Foot tour.  sigh.  Well, some of those things anyway . . . . and when I meet people I will introduce myself as Eloise.

In the meantime, I've got my own little Eloise right here in Boone with me.  She is much loved.

She sits on the bookcase in our bedroom and keeps an eye on us while we're sleeping.  Me, Donald and Harley.  Donald does swear though that she gets into mischief during the night and sometimes wakes him up.  I believe that.  Sometimes when I hear Harley grumbling during the night I feel sure it's because Eloise is up to no good.

There are people who touch our lives. Sadly, we're not often given an opportunity to let them know how they enriched our lives. Kay Thompson died in Manhattan on July 7, 1998. She was either 92 or 95. When she takes a break from all the entertaining I feel sure she's doing up there in heaven (she was a singer, a dancer, a choreographer and a comedienne in addition to writing the Eloise books), l hope she checks in with The Reds. I'd like to say "Thank you, Ms. Thompson for giving me Eloise."

Otherwise, I would never know that -
"An egg cup makes a very good hat"

And for those of you who also love all things Eloise, here are some fun sites:

Now - Your Turn!  Who was your favorite fictional  character when you were little?  Did you ever actually pretend to be that character?  Or did they come to your house and play?  (in your imagination, of course . . . . )  And do you still love that character today?

Thanks for stopping by!

p.s. Has anyone here ever visited the Eloise Suite at The Plaza?


Joan Emerson said...

Sadly, I’ve no trips to the Plaza to regale you with, despite having enjoyed Eloise’s many adventures there. [And even though I was no longer a young child when the book was published, I definitely wanted to be Rada in Isaac Asimov’s “The Best New Thing.”]

As for favorite fictional characters when I was little . . . I always loved the Bobbsey Twins because --- well, they were twins and so was I and I thought that was pretty special. But, truth be told, it was Nancy Drew that captured my fancy so much that I thought it would be great to be her. All those mysteries to solve . . . one book and I was hooked.

Vickie said...

You are still Eloise.

Vickie said...

While not entirely fictional, I wore the pages out of the little golden book Pocohontas. One summer my dad turned cane poles and feed sacks into a teepee and I was an Indian Princess for life.

cathy said...

Great article, Kaye... and now I'm VERY curious to hear more about the chickens that lived under the stove??? LOL

I was trying to come up with my favorite childhood character, and then read Joan's comment about the Bobbsey Twins... yes, I adored that series and would have to choose the Bobbsey Twins as my favorite.

Great article, Kaye.

Jack Getze said...

The music made me want to be Elvis, the TV made me want to be whip-toting cowboy Lash LaRue, but the book of short stories by A.C. Doyle made me forever Sherlock Holmes. I made a big thing out of it in high school. Once when my buddy's date lost her contact (yes there were contacts back then) and everyone gave up searching, I declared that by using Sherlock's methods, I could find it. I interviewed the girl, declared it HAD to be under the backseat of so and so's car because it was no where else. I had them remove the back seat, hunted myself, and there it was! I still am asked (almost daily) to find my wife's glasses.

Lucy Burdette said...

Wonderful post Kaye! You ARE Eloise:). My hub and I walked through the plaza last time we were in New York because there's a new wonderful food court in the basement. We stumbled accidentally into the Eloise shop--oh my it's so gorgeous. You must come up and see it!

The Bobbsey Twins is perfect for an aspiring mystery writer type Joan and Cathy! And love the teepee and Jack's Sherlock. good thing you found the contact--that could have been the kind of thing you never lived down...

I would have to go with Pooh Bear. he had such wonderful friends. And always a happy ending with Christopher Robin...

Mike Orenduff said...

What a fun post. My favorite fictional character was The Thin Man as played by William Powell, except I thought he was real. He also lived in a posh New York City building like Eloise, but he dressed better.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

OH, yes, Mike, I was very big on being NOra Charles. Although that might have come a bit later than childhood...and has, actually, stayed with me.

As a little girl? I was sometimes ANnie Oakley, according to my mother.

NAncy Drew, yes of COURSE...because she had cool friends and a nice father and a housekeeper and a roadster. ANd she got to solve crimes, which was so exciting. Warning: do not go back and read Nancy now..yeesh. The Nancy of our memories is better.

xoxoo, Kaye! I do love the first Monday of the month!

Kaye Barley said...


I am not even going to try to tell you how nervous I was about coming to Jungle Red today. Seriously! I'm always scared to death I'll get here and be all by myself. I would die.

Joan - I always wanted to be a twin. I used to beg my mother to "go get me a twin, please." My dad would shake his head and say, "too late, too late." Being a very slow child, it was a long time before I understood why.

Vickie - You made me laugh. I may have carried my love of Eloise too far. BUT - I don't jump around and show my drawers like she does! I love that your dad built you a teepee. I love that!

Cathy, Hey you! Y'all - Cathy Carper is hanging out at Meanderings and Muses today. I hope you'll drop by there and say "Hey!" You haven't heard the story about my chickens? Oy. That's a tale I'll have to share, for real

mb said...

Heidi. Then Jo March. Am still both, even though now older than dirt.

Anonymous said...

Kaye, this is one of the best blogs I have EVER read!!! Congratulations for your charm and talents! Your coming book should hit the NYT list as Number ONE!!! Thelma Straw in Manhattan who has seen the Eloise haunts at the Plaza and loved them too!

Kaye Barley said...

Jack, you crack me up. I am very impressed that you were able to convince these people to remove the back seat. Yours powers of persuasion are even greater than your powers of deduction! A combination of Elvis, Lash LaRue and Sherlock would be quite a guy, I must say. One I would have a hard time resisting, for sure!

Kaye Barley said...

Lucy, Hi!!


I am so wanting a trip to NYC. I'm going to somehow make it happen.

You know, Pooh Bear and Christopher Robin used to come play with me at The Plaza when I was in my Eloise persona. They did. Lovely days . . . .

Ramona said...

Fun post!

Mine would be Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, and Pippi Longstocking.

Both kindred spirits--and redheads. I am not a redhead, but I married one.

Kaye Barley said...

Mike, Hi!! I'm so happy to see you here! and you know what, I can picture you as The Thin Man, you charming devil, you.

Kaye Barley said...

Hank, I love you. And you make THE perfect Nora. I can picture you perfectly swanning around with a martini - and you're always, of course, draped in pearls and wearing great shoes!

Kaye Barley said...

mb - picturing here how I might dress is I were a cross between Heidi and Jo March. 'Course if you're older than dirt it doesn't matter. We ladies of a certain age can dress any damn way we want - we're earned the right to ignore fashion dictates. Right?!
(anything to not have to wear plaid and a pinafore)

Kaye Barley said...

Thelma Straw. you made me cry!!!! But only in a good way. (we're half way through Draft #4 - the part where I'm "killing my darlings. ugh).
Hugs, my friend.

Kaye Barley said...

Ramona, oh! Anne Shirley and Pipi Longstocking! YES! Our childhood reading days introduced us to some pretty terrific little girls, didn't they? I miss being a redhead, but try awfully hard to stay true to the tradition.

Jack Getze said...

I can see Hank as Nora, too -- swishing around the room like a beautiful flower, all the while whispering instructions to everybody and solving the crime.

Earl Staggs said...

Loved this, Kaye!

Since I'm a boy, my heroes were cowboys. Hopalong Cassidy was classy, Lash LaRue invented cool, but the King of the Cowboys was Roy Rogers, and that's who I was in my fantasy playtime. The stick I rode was a golden stallion and the cap I wore was a white Stetson. Roy grew up in the same town I lived in as a kid and that made us almost kin.

Years later, I had the incredible thrill of meeting Roy in person and spending time with him. One of the most special days of my life.

I wrote a story called "White Hats and Happy Trails" about that day and it's on my homesite at

There's even a picture of Carol and me with Roy at the end of the story to prove I didn't make it up.

If you notice any spots on the pages, they're happy memory tears.

Don't ever stop being Eloise, Kaye Darlin', and don't ever grow up. It takes all the fun out of life.

Kathleen Taylor said...

I wanted to be Meg Murray very badly. Some days, I think I might be her.

Wonderful post, Kaye. Absolutely wonderful!

Sandee Barrowclough said...

Wonderful! I believe you truly channel Eloise, Kaye, both now and then! I envy your lifelong love affair with her.

While I can't remember wanting to be a fictional character, I regularly fell (and occasionally still fall) in love with fictional characters. I think Peter Pan was my first love, then Mr Rochester. I moved on to the Scarlet Pimpernel, Ari Ben Canaan and, of course, Lord Peter. Such wonderful men! No wonder I'm single. Who could measure up!

Hallie Ephron said...

Oh, Kay - I loved Eloise too! I remember going to the Oak Room at the Plaza and lurking behind a potted palm, an homage to Eloise. My favorite thing in the first book was a huge foldout map showing Eloise's adventures going up and down the elevator and down the stairs through the hotel.

Deb said...

Kaye, I want to know about the chickens. Seriously.

I think I wanted to be Tigger, actually.

I wanted to be Jo March and Heidi, and then, from the sixth grade, Meg Murray.

But what I really wanted to be was a HORSE.

Earl, some day I'll post the picture of my older brother when he about five, dressed in full cowboy regalia, sitting on Roy Roger's knee.

Kaye Barley said...

Jack - a PERFECT visual of our Hank!

Earl Darlin'! - I thought you would be in Fort Worth today doing the tourist thing! Have fun! Y'all - please do read Earl's story about Roy, it's so wonderful.

Kathleen, hey! I think you just might be Meg Murray! (and I want you to know - I recently reread "Wrinkle in Time" thanks to you).

Margaret Maron said...

Delightful post, Kaye. Mine was a cross between Mary Lennox (Secret Garden) and Jo March (Little Women). Am I correct in thinking Eloise was modeled on Lisa Minelli, Kay Thompson's goddaughter?

Kaye Barley said...

Sandee - We have the EXACT same taste in men! When I come visit you can we go to The Plaza, please?

Oh, Hallie. Now whenever I see you I will envision you as a little girl behind that potted palm pretending to be Eloise. Perfect!!!

Beth Anderson said...

I used to pretend I was the Queen of England. My girlfriend Ruthie and I would climb up on these two concrete walls with lions on them on opposite sides of the dirt road on the way in to Fort Masaac in Metropolis, Illinois. She had to be the king because I insisted on being the queen every time, and oh, the things we poured down on our subjects! Fun blog, Chickee, I loved reading it. Took me right back to when I was a kid, and all those Bobbsey Twins books. Now I'm wondering why I never wanted to be a twin, but it's probably because I could never visualize being one of two queens. ;-)

Kaye Barley said...

Debs. You made me scream. Okay, you will forever have the adorable nickname of Trigger in my mind.

okay - the chickens living under the stove will be a good story to tell here. Perfectly in keeping with my "odd little child" self.

And I think I also have a picture of Earl sitting on Roy Roger's knee - but he was WAY older than five. (kidding!)

Kaye Barley said...

Margaret - Mornin'! I love the story that Eloise may have been based on Liza Minelli! (I have often pretended to be Liza also!)

Kaye Barley said...

Beth, I love this! Honey, pull out that tiara and wear it proudly today. We're never too old to pretend and I think you'd make a great queen!

Sam Irvin said...

I got hooked on Eloise when I was a kid growing up in Asheville, North Carolina. My two older sisters introduced her to me and read her books to me as bedtime stories.

When I got a little older, I moved to New York City and, at a retro movie house, I saw the movie FUNNY FACE starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, and this cyclone who blew through the movie, stealing every scene. Her name was Kay Thompson.

When I put two-and-two together and realized that THIS Kay Thompson was the SAME Kay Thompson who had authored all the Eloise books, it somehow made perfect sense -- and I wanted to know all the was to know about this amazing woman.

Unfortunately, I never got to meet her. She became a recluse in her later years and never wrote a memoir. Nobody else had written a book. There was a great profile of Kay Thompson by Marie Brenner published in VANITY FAIR in 1996, but it barely scratched the surface of Kay's many head-spinning accomplishments and mysteries.

So, after Kay died in 1998, I decided to write a definitive biography of her life and career. Little did I know it would take over 200 interviews with friends and associates -- plus a decade of painstaking reasearch in libraries around the world -- to piece together the jaw-dropping puzzle that is the one-and-only Kay Thompson.

Her life story proved to be as thrilling as all the Eloise books combined -- and then some. She did everything, knew everybody, and her vast influence in music, movies, television, books, fashion, and women's rights has gone shockingly unrecognized... until now.

Thanks, Kaye Barley, for your wonderful tribute to Eloise -- and for including the image of the cover of my book.

May the bazazz be with you!

Think Pink!
Sam Irvin

Charge it please... and thank you very much!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Kaye, what a fun blog! I can see you as Eloise even now.

I wanted to be Jo March of Little Women and Caddie Woodlawn (anyone remember her?) and Sydney Carton of Dickens' Tale of Two Cities who nobly sacrificed his life for true love! Oh, and Zorro!

PeggyE said...

I also loved Eloise & Pippi Longstocking & Mary Poppins--but I wanted to BE Nancy Drew!

Judy said...

Loved this blog, Kaye! And I do believe you are still Eloise precisely as she would have grown up to be. As for me, I think I wanted to be the generic (I hate to think what this means) princess in the fairy tale collections I obsessively read--but in my princess hood, I was the one doing the rescuing of the poor prince trapped in the tower. Now, it sounds as if as soon as I get home, it's time to introduce Eloise to my granddaughter, and we will enjoy her together.

Joan Emerson said...

Judy, if you haven’t read “The Paper Bag Princess” you might want to give it a try. It’s a children’s book about a wise and heroic princess who goes off to rescue the prince who has been captured by a fire-breathing dragon.

Patty said...

Great blog Kaye. I read so many books so fast that I often missed the opportunity for "being" the characters, that I've acquired as I've aged.

But, one stands out, Encyclopedia Brown. I loved the first story of his I read and he was the first I was determined to read all the books (drat, he started my addiction to series mysteries!) I moved on to so many others that have been mentioned here, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Hardy Boys, and then to my all time favorites, Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe (with Ellery Queen right behind).

Kaye Barley said...

Linda, Hi! Oh, what a crush I had on Zorro! I had totally forgotten about Caddy Woodlawn until I saw your comment. I loved her too!

Peggy, those Nancy Drew stories touched a cord in all of us,I think. I loved her independence. But mostly, I really loved that roadster.

Kaye Barley said...

Jude, Hi!! Thank you for stopping by - I was wondering if you had started your great adventure yet. I cannot wait to hear how it's going. Wait - did you say "generic??" Honey! You are as far from a generic anything as anyone on God's green earth. for real. and you know I mean that in the best possible way!!!

Kaye Barley said...

Joan, I've not heard of "The Paper Bag Princess," but sounds like one I need to look for!

Patty, Hi! Encyclopedia Brown - isn't it fun to put a name to the culprit who started us on our serial addictions?! One name in your list is one I see often, but she was never a character I could warm up to; Cherry Ames. I still don't know what it was about her that rubs me the wrong way. odd.

Joan Emerson said...

Written by Robert Munsch, "The Paper Bag Princess" is a 32-page children's picture book. Here's the blurb from Barnes and Noble: "Before Pretty Princess Elizabeth can marry handsome Prince Ronald, a dragon burns down the castle and carries Ronald off. Dressed in a paper bag, the brave princess heroically finds the dragon's cave, tricks the dragon into exhausting itself, rescues Ronald while the dragon is sleeping. Ronald then has only one thing to say to Elizabeth--that she is a mess! Elizabeth quickly realizes that she is better off without this ungrateful bum. Young feminists, here is a book for you!"

Darlene Ryan said...

I second Joan's recommendation of The Paperbag Princess. It's a wonderful book. The princess rescues the prince, who isn't at all grateful. I love it when the princess tell him, "You look like a real prince but you are a bum." Robert Munsch also wrote I'll Love You Forever. I saw him perform both stories several years ago. He was terrific. My daughter was mortified when I sang along with I'll Love You Forever.

LJ Roberts said...

What a great article! Oh, darling Kaye, are ARE Eloise. There's no question about it.

I read so much I don't remember having one particularly fictional character with whom I identified. I was too shy, as a child, to be an Eloise. Jane Eyre probably held strongest appeal for me

Amy said...

I can't believe I'm the first to say it, but I wanted to be Harriet the Spy. I loved to write and I loved to observe people. Of course, like many others, I too wanted to be Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Meg Murray.

Jack Getze said...

Never met a man who wanted to be Peter Pan, although it is possible I do not move in the right circles.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaye Barley said...

oTAY, so our library has "The Paper Bag Princess," Yay!!! Thank you for this recommendation Joan and Darleen.

L.J., Jane Eyre. sigh. Everytime I get near you I add another book to read or reread to my TBR pile. I don't remember when I last read this one - it's past time.

Amy - I can't believe it either! I was sure I would see more Harriet the Spy fans here of all places.

Jack, I do recall a bried period of time wanting to be TinkerBelle . . . But stayed loyal to Eloise, even now.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Whoa I am LOVING this. Thank you! xoo

Thelma, did you get your book?

And how about a Jungle Red meeting at the Plaza? Seems like the perfect spot...

Sam Irvin--I am--enchanted. Blown away. Delighted. Thrilled. Oh, how wonderful... (And, small world, I once did a big project with Richard Avedon--you and I should chat!)

Kaye Barley said...

A Jungle Red meeting at The Plaza. Can we rent the Eloise Suite?

Marie said...

I used to make scrapbooks using pictures from movie fan magazines. I envied Doris Day..her smile, her nails and her sunny ways.
I want to go to New York again after last visiting in the early sixties. I traveled through the Lincoln Tunnel and stood in front of the Rockerfeller. No fancy hotels but steaming hot sidewalks.

Kaye Barley said...

Wait! Whoa! Where's my response I left here for Mr. Irvin?! Did this blogger thingie mistake me for a robot?!

okay - if this shows up twice, please forgive me.

Mr. Irvin - I am thrilled and honored and tickled pink that you dropped by. Thank You!

I do have your book, but have not read it yet. I was afraid if I read it before posting this piece I'd have way too much to say here. I already have a problem with being a bit long winded. I can't wait to read it now, I've been surprised and a little sad not to have found more information about Kay Thompson available, but you've fixed that nicely and I thank you!

Kaye Barley said...

Marie, I loved those old movie magazines! and oh my, I miss the old glamor of Hollywood

Susan D said...

Trixie Belden. My hero, my best friend, my alter-ego.

Kelly Chandler said...

Kaye,What a wonderful blog! I've only driven by The Plaza, so have no tales to tell. Nothing would come close to Eloise in any case.
My favorite character from childhood is so hard to choose, but probably Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (also illustrated by Hilary Knight) and Pippi Longstocking. I also loved Trixie Belden and Cherry Ames.

Reine said...

I was the little girl in the fairytales. I dodged spells and escaped from witches. I ran through the woods. Fireflies showed me the way.

We had very few books at home. What we did have were the classics. I used to hunt books in the town dump. They were always very old, like my first find, Tom Swift and his Sky Racer (1911).

My mother told me about her favorite books and characters, but they were like a dream. I never saw them until I was an adult, after she died. Anne Shirley was her fantasy self who she could never be.

I missed the standards of my cohort. Until college, when my friends were reading Winnie the Pooh in Latin or Russian, I didn't know who Christopher Robin was. I never heard of Eloise before today. Meg Murray?

This is a beautiful post, Kaye. Thank you, but it is also very sad for me, because I realize where that missing piece went. It didn't go down a rabbit hole. It jumped a shark.

Kaye Barley said...

Susan, I just KNEW I recognized you when I first met you! You ARE Trixie Belden. HA! Now that your secret is out you can breathe more easily.

Kelly, I'm still in awe that you drove by The Plaza. anyone able to drive in NYC gets lots of high marks from me. I'm not really the country mouse I sound like, but still - driving in NYC takes a brave soul. My hat's off to you. (next time you go by, park your car and go say "HEY!").

Kaye Barley said...

Reine, this makes me sad also. But, all is not lost. Thankfully, the books we've talked about here today are still available. While some may not appeal to you, some very well may - such as Madeleine L'Engle's novel A Wrinkle in Time with her unconventional heroine Meg Murray. Treat yourself to a few days of getting to know some of these characters. You may very well not care for Eloise who was never a good role model for children. Thankfully - I had a mom who could put me back in the real world quick snap if I tried to emulate Eloise too much. She did a masterful job of allowing me my flights of fantasy while keeping me respectful of reality.
I am, however, still dodging spells and trying to escape from witches - the real world has both. Most times I succeed, but get tripped up from time to time. Then I just start hurling spells and curses of my own.

Eloise Hill said...

Kaye, I thoroughly enjoyed your blog and am currently sitting eye-level with Eloise's Guide to Life. I was born in '54 and although not named after Ms. Thompson's Eloise, felt like I grew with her. And I'm still working on the staying six forever thing:)

Deb Romano said...

Betsy Ray from the Betsy/Tacy books was one of my heroes. I tried to recreate some of her adventures in my own life. I also wanted to be Nancy Drew and solve mysteries (and drive around my town in a "snappy blue roadster"; it is probably not a coincidence that my first car was blue!) And Anne Shirley so enchanted me that I was thrilled to go to Prince Edward Island as an adult and visit anything Anne-related! I tried to emulate her throughout all the years that I read the Anne of Green Gables books.

Kaye Barley said...

(posting this for my friend Brenda who was having difficulties in her attempts.)

Kaye, I loved this!!!! (And do write more about your interesting childhood!)
I never read Elouise but I see I need to do so.
(I also need to read Pippi Longstocking as my grandfather loved it as a child and for some reason I never had a copy of it.)
I loved so many characters in childhood. The Five Little Peppers. Certainly, the Bobbsey Twins stood out as great favorites as did Nancy Drew. I was very fond of Beezus. I reread Heidi quite a lot.

Kaye Barley said...

Eloise's Guide to Life is a must-have, isn't it?! Don't laugh, but it sits right next to my copy of "The Tao of Willie" by Willie Nelson (another of my heroes).

Deb, I think recreating those adventures sounds too fun!!! Do you still have a few to recreate for the first time, or are we up to re-recreating yet? (I feel a book coming out of this!).
I have never been to Prince Edward Island, but oh my - it's one of the places I hope to be able to visit.

Brenda - I think you're the first to mention The Five Little Peppers. I had forgotten how many really wonderful children's characters there are out there!

One of my current faves is Olivia, and I've only recently discovered Harold. Couldn't resist getting a copy of "A Picture for Harold's Room."

Reine said...

Thanks, Kaye. I think I will read some of those. It isn't as bad as it might sound. I never understood the criticism of fairytales. I never realized how much they meant to me until I found myself in Odense, Denmark, staring at a tiny yellow house that I discovered on a walk. I'd been looking for a church with some affiliated family history and had taken a wrong turn. Later in the week I was out walking with my granddaughter and noticed banners pointing the way to the little house. It had been Hans Christian Anderson's childhood home. The importance of fairytales in my development of resilience flooded me, more than a little overwhelming accompanied by my Danish granddaughter in her home town.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

What a wonderful day...see you all tomorrow! xoo

Msmstry said...

I'm a big Eloise fan, too, but my life was nothing like hers—small town gal all the way here. I did, however, visit a home in preparation for our historical society's holiday tour that included an Eloise bedroom, complete with murals all around the room.

Eloise and Kaye rock!

Linda said...

Started with the Bobbsey Twins, moved quickly to Nancy Drew, then Ellery Queen, and on to Sherlock Holmes (who is still a bit of an obsession). Before my eldest niece was even two, I gifted her with the entire set of the "original" Nancy Drew books. Mysteries, without a doubt, have always been and still are my absolute favorite genre.