What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Baby-sitter’s Club Series
by Ann M. Martin

Field-Tested by Christina Talcott

in The Little Falls Library in Bethesda, Maryland

Sandwiched somewhere between being young enough for day camp and old enough to “volunteer” (read: forced by Mom) to be church camp counselors, my older sister and I spent what felt like an entire summer at the Little Falls Library, a modest and extremely quiet building surrounded by woods on two sides, busy roads on the others. It was a far cry from the busy Bethesda Library closer to our house, which is probably why we were sent there. No one went to Little Falls, it seemed; I hardly even remember seeing librarians. There were no other kids, just the two of us, day after day.

To alleviate the boredom, my sister Monica and I resigned ourselves to the only game in town: we scoured the Young Adult section, looking for books we couldn't read at home. Which was, when we found them, the Harlequin novels of late-eighties’ pre-adolescence: the Baby-sitter's Club books. One by one, I devoured them - in order, of course - relishing the teenage intrigue and boy talk, knowing full well that Mom would call them "trash" and would put a cap on it if she found out. Meanwhile, Monica never got in my way; Sweet Valley High was her territory.

I remember reading, curled up in corners, shivering in the air conditioning, or dripping with sweat, sprawled on the grass on muggy afternoons. Reading those books made me feel naughty but good, too, like eating cake all day, or drinking cocktails in the afternoon. But like cake and cocktails, I had my limits, and by the end of the summer, I'd had my fill.

Christina Talcott, a Washington Post staff writer, ventures into the woods and across busy streets to cover Mid-Atlantic and international destinations for her hometown newspaper's Travel section.

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