Tag Archives: are you there god it’s me margaret

Fabulous Fridays: #52lists Project

This week’s list: List your favorite characters from books, movies, television, etc…

  • Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind
  • Rose DuWitt Bukater from Titanic
  • Darcy Rhone of Something Borrowed/Something Blue
  • Margaret Simon from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
  • Farley Drexel Hatcher (aka “Fudge”) from Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Double Fudge.
  • Jo Polniaczek from The Facts of Life
  • Blair Warner from The Facts of Life
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (Specifically Melissa Gilbert’s version) from Little House on the Prairie.

Take Action: Find a common personality trait between all of your favorite characters. What is one character trait you admire?

I’d never really thought about it before until now because they sort of seem like a diverse group in my head. Still, when it comes right down to it all of them (except for maybe Fudge) are more than what they appear to be. At first glance, they seem stereotypical, but when you really get to know the characters, they are a lot deeper, stronger, and opinionated when you first meet them. They may be debutantes, superficial or classic tomboys, but there is always more to them than meets the eye and there is a part of me that has something in common with each one of them.


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Confessions of a Cynical Catholic: Are You there, God? Judy Blume CHANGED “Margaret”

AreYouThereGod_5x5    I have often told the story of the night I was at a friend’s house and was introduced to the book that would change my life forever. Oddly enough this was the same friend that caused me to experience ASMR for the first time…funny how everything ties together, isn’t it? It was a purple book with an art deco design on the cover and it was called “Are You There God, It’s me, Margaret.”

Margaret was the first literary character I identified with. Though she was older than I was at the time (Margaret was 11 while I was 7) I felt an odd kinship with her because her parents were of two different religions and she was supposed to choose her own way, if she wanted to, when she was older. Though I had become Catholic a year before discovering this book, I certainly understood Margaret’s confusion and the private way in which she spoke to God inside her head. Her prayers were honest, direct, and innocent, ranging from boys, to her impending development, wearing a bra for the first time and her confusion about what religion is right for her. I saved the $3.50 for my own copy and read he book so much that it fell asleep between chapters 13 and 14 (which, if you know anything about that book- are the BEST chapters.) I also read it so much that I have huge sections of it memorized. My kids say it’s creepy when I start in: Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret. We’re moving today. I’m so scared God. I’ve never lived anywhere but here. Suppose I hate my new school? Suppose everyone there hates me? Please help me, God. Please don’t let New Jersey be too horrible. Thank you. (Feel free to look it up, but I swear I typed it from memory!)

So the other day I happened to be in my local Books-A-Million when I saw a copy of Margaret on the shelf next to Judy Blume’s latest release, In the Unlikely Event. I was so excited to see my old friend even though she’d definitely gotten an upgrade since my early 1980’s Dell Yearling edition. My husband was sweet enough to buy me the book because he knew Margaret and I had some catching up to do but I was chagrined a few hours later when I discovered that Judy Blume CHANGED it.

Before you get your knickers in a twist, the plot is the same. Margaret is not suddenly Catholic or starring in a reality show and  is still obsessed with a certain punctuation mark that is code for a biological condition, but it’s been updated to reflect current products in this area of feminine hygiene and I can’t help feeling a little uneasy about this. I mean, when Forever was re-released (in its original form, mind you) there is a whole disclaimer at the beginning explaining that it was written prior to the AIDS epidemic and does not reflect the current practices encouraged today. But there was nothing to suggest that there was anything different about this version of Margaret so you can imagine my shock. I kept re-reading one section over and over again thinking I was missing something. When I finally realized (after remembering the original line in the book – yes, I really am that sad) that I was right, I shouted, “She changed it!!” and woke the whole house up in the process.

I guess I am just a creature of habit, but Margaret is like the Bible to me. It’s sacred and even it is a little out of date (heck, some of its language was out of date when I first read it) I hate being blindsided by the change. I wouldn’t want Adam and Eve to suddenly be named Tyler and Karen or for Mary and Joseph to make a long trip to NYC to have their baby so I don’t want Margaret to be different. I understand it’s like comparing apples to oranges, but that book is tradition to me…same as the Mass, the sacraments, and everything I love about my faith and when traditions change, it’s hard to adjust to. Though the world will still keep turning, I don’t think I will feel the same until I find an original copy where the words read like they used to and everything is as it used to be.

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Glo Column September: A whole new “period” in my life

red-gift     There is a video making the rounds on social media concerning a young lady so eager to grow up that she actually fakes a certain female experience. When her mother discovers that she is lying, she throws her a humiliating party to celebrate the supposed occasion. It’s funny, but also a little disturbing. A.) Who fakes something like that? and B.) Nice parenting skills, Lady! Your daughter will be in therapy for life!

I guess I was weird. I didn’t have the same fascination with the whole thing other girls my age did. In fact, I was perfectly OK with that parade passing me by completely. The whole operation seemed like a huge inconvenience, not to mention a bit of a mess and I wanted no part of it. I hoped that I might be a medical anomaly, the grand exception to the rule, or at the very least, would follow in my mother’s footsteps and avoid it until I was 16. No such luck. Two weeks after my 12th birthday, IT happened. The event I had been dreading ever since I read Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.

I became a woman…five minutes before entering the seventh grade.

There is something disconcerting about a routine trip to the restroom on the First Day of school turning into a life-altering right of passage; especially one that prompts mothers to become weepy and make ridiculous comments about this unwarranted and unwanted transformation like, “I guess you’re not my little girl anymore! Congratulations!”

This was not an accomplishment. I didn’t do anything, my ovaries did. And if I am no longer a little girl, then what the heck was I? Seriously, an hour before, I was a normal 12-year-old who still slept with a Cabbage Patch doll and played Barbies on a regular basis. Now after one little bathroom break, my reproductive system was fully developed and I was capable of bringing new life into the world.

I was so not ready for that level of responsibility.

Other womanly endeavors such as wearing pantyhose and training bras had proven to be big let downs and I suspected this would disappoint me as well. Not only would I have to deal with this hoopla on a monthly basis for the next four decades, but I would also have to endure possible stomach pains, migraines and avoid the color white until my mid 50’s. Thanks so much for the gift Mother Nature…what’s your return policy?

To her credit, my mother didn’t throw a party in honor of the occasion and was understated about the whole thing, but I still felt like there was a big neon sign above me announcing my condition. When the initial festivities were over, I stared at myself in the mirror to confirm that I didn’t look any different, (I would only do that one other time in my life.) However, I remained convinced that everyone would know. How I would make it through the school day? What if I ran out of supplies? How was I supposed to walk normally with what felt like a king-sized pillow shoved into my underwear? There were so many hypothetical questions running through my head, all punctuated with an unmistakable period and like it or not, I was going to have to get used to it. One down…only 509 to go.

Though it would happen time and time again, and on occasions far more embarrassing than the first day of school including field trips, graduation my wedding day and even family vacations. In that moment, I could not think of anything more mortifying than having to explain to my brand new (and male) teacher exactly why I needed to go to the girls’ room yet again.

Unless of course, it was telling my father.



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