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Some of the first books I clearly remember loving as a child were the Ramona Quimby books. Who doesn’t love that irrepressible little girl? It’s been literally decades since I read them so I don’t remember many details from the stories at all, but I still think of Ramona and company with fondness.
My husband and I are living in Portland, Oregon for a few months while he works here. This is Beverly Cleary/Ramona Quimby country! The local Multnomah County Library has published a walking tour map of sites from the Ramona books and author Beverly Cleary’s life. One afternoon several weeks ago, my husband, who’s always a good sport, agreed to walk the sites with me. I don’t know if Beverly Cleary is still widely read, but I thought that readers my age and slightly older might enjoy virtually tagging along.
Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden
We began at Grant Park, at the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden. It was a small space that looked like it’s normally a splash pad. They probably have the water turned off because of COVID (Pools, etc. have not re-opened in this county since the initial shutdown). It was so fun to see Ramona, Henry, and Ribsy! Ribsy’s plaque reads “People liked Ribsy and Ribsy liked people. Ribsy was what you might call a well-adjusted dog. Ribsy 1964″ Ramona’s plaque reads “Only grownups would say boots were for keeping feet dry. Anyone in kindergarten knew that a girl should wear shiny red or white boots on the first rainy day, not to keep her feet dry, but to show off. That’s what boots were for–showing off, wading, splashing, stamping. Ramona the Pest 1968″ Henry’s plaque is pretty weathered and I couldn’t even read the picture I took of it.
The rest of the pictures aren’t really in any order except a loose grouping that made sense to me as I wrote this post!
Sites from Beverly Cleary’s Life
Above, two of Beverly Cleary’s childhood homes and a bakery that is the former site of the Hollywood library, which she visited.
Ramona Quimby/Henry Huggins Sites
Clockwise from upper left: 1. Klickitat Street, where Ramona and company lived. Ms. Cleary never lived there but supposedly she liked the name because it reminded her of “the sound of knitting needles.” 2. The field where Henry Huggins dug for earthworms, with the high school Cleary attended in the background. 3. The playground where Beezus waxed the slides to make them faster. 4. The Rite-Aid served as the Colossal Market from the books. 5. This abandoned supermarket was the QFC where Ramona got her boots stuck in the mud.
The Characters’ School
Beverly Cleary School at Fernwood. Ms. Cleary called the school Glenwood in her books.
There are a few more sites inside libraries that I can’t visit right now. Libraries here are only open for book pick ups so I haven’t been able to properly visit them. I hope they re-open before we leave Oregon but the prospect is not good.
Have you read any of Beverly Cleary’s books? She wrote more than 40! Which were your favorite? Do any authors or books have strong ties to your part of the world?
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site.