Sunday, April 26, 2009


One hundred and seventeen years ago a wonderful woman was born!

I am about to leave for a birthday party with the NEWBETSYs - the northeast Betsy-Tacy group. Our official acronym definition is the somewhat awkward "New England Women Boisterously Eating, Talking and Sharing Youth-Lit". It amazes me how many close friendships I have made thanks to this talented writer and marvelous human being!

My quest to find out exactly what this would have been the 100th anniversary of took me to chapter 20 of BETSY WAS A JUNIOR. (I love knowing what happened exactly 100 years ago or 10 years ago. I blame the metric system.)

This is a party in the waning days of the Okto Deltas. It is such a downer that Maud doesn't even tell us who is hosting the party! (Although she does walk "down the hill with the girls" to get home. And since she lives up hill from everyone else, I am going to guess Tacy or Alice. They seem up hill. But I digress.)

At this party Winona brings up the trenchent problem that the Omega Deltas are sniffing around other girls. And to add insult to injury - Tony is blowing them off! Betsy is worried about him (foreshadowing!) because he is going around with a perfectly awful girl.


For those of you who are wondering why this is so exciting, a perfectly awful girl (or a PAG if you prefer) is a subset of the Betsy-Tacy fellowship who just might find herself hopping a freight to see a ball game or at the very least drinking a beer and smoking a cubeb! If you have a tatoo, you are a perfectly awful girl. If you stay out past 10 you are a perfectly awful girl. There are a lot of fun things about being a perfectly awful girl.

Here is the funny thing - in the book (page 207) there is no specific mention of who utters the phrase "perfecly awful girl"! I have always assumed it was Betsy, but perhaps not. Was it mentioned before?

So on this auspicious day which could be the 100th anniversey of the phrase "perfectly awful girl" - I ask you - Who said it? And more importantly - are you one?


  1. The person who said it has to be 'a stick' but as we have learned, Carney is hardly a stick after all. Maybe Tib, she's literal enough to repeat what someone said. Betsy is a suspect, however, it's more likely that she would have said much, much more.

    Me? Perfectly awful? Perfectly probable.

  2. I don't think it was Betsy, because of the next paragraph where she feels as though a hand has closed over her heart, that's clearly in reaction to the perfectly awful girl comment she's just heard. I would suspect Winona, but I have always felt Winona had a bit of the awful girl in her herself, or as Betsy would say, a bit of the "D," so I don't think Winona would have been so judge-y as to have said that....And Irma seems too wishy washy to say anything so bold.

  3. I've always thought it was Alice.

  4. I've forgotten who created the label, but say it loud, I'm awful and I'm proud.