Thursday, January 3, 2013

"You sure know a lot about pinkeye." BSC Super Special #2: Babysitter's Summer Vacation (1989)

Until I'm able to get ahold of the two Logan Reader's Request books, we're starting with super specials with at least one Logan chapter in them. This kinda limits things a bit, as he only shows up in some of them.

There's always some kooky gimmick as to why a super special gets written. In this one, Stacey's living in NYC and her Stoneybrook friends convince her she has to come be a camp counselor with them, so she convinces them they have to write in her journal. All seven BSC members and a number of sitting charges head off to the girls' camp, while Logan and an equal number of charges head to the boys' camp.

Of course, everyone has their own stories:

Kristy: lets her other CITs make her over. Also has to deal with a very homesick Charlotte
Claudia: falls in LUV with a boy CIT after seeing him for about two minutes
Mary Anne: to impress her co-CIT, she tries to sneak over to the boys' side of the lake. She gets caught but wins the other CITs' respect
Stacey: gets poison ivy and about thirty thousand other things and spends a large amount of time in the infirmary
Dawn: goes on an overnight with her girls and gets lost. A bookish camper helps them find their way home
Mal and Jessi: deal with racist campers, but make most of them see the light in a very cheesy, afterschool-special manner
Logan: starts a food fight. The other CITs all think MA is a "feeb" until they actually meet her and lay off

Interesting tidbits

This book is dedicated to Jean, Barry and Bonkie. And I...just don't want to know.

Stacey addresses a letter to her parents as Mr. and Mrs. Edward McGill. I need to start keeping a database to keep track of these things, as I think he's had a different name in a different book.

Most of the campers at Camp Mohawk are only going to be at camp for 2 weeks. I wonder how much they had to pay for all the required camp clothing. I can see having uniforms for a camp where children spend the whole summer, but otherwise, it's pretty ridiculous.

Stacey says she didn't join in the conversation going on around her on the bus because she's not that bold. But she's not really shy either, and it's not as if the girls on the bus should consider their conversation to be private.

Different ways the lake name is spelled throughout the book: Dekanawida (the correct name, I believe--used by Kristy, Stacey and Randi), Dekadonka,  Dekanunga (Claudia), Dukakis, Deckasaga, Duckanawooda (Mary Anne),  Dekadeka (Logan), and Dekadoo (Kristy). In the epilogue, Stacey calls it Lake Whatever.

I'll have to check some other books, but I feel like normally, they don't use zip codes when they write letters. But in this one, Stacey's zip is 10000 while Stoneybrook's is 06800. Palo City is 92800.

Real movies: Meatballs and the Parent Trap. Both about camp, of course.

This book occurs after Emily Michelle is adopted but shortly before Mimi dies. So far, this is the only super special I've been able to exactly place.

When Mimi passes away, they use Mimi as her name in the obituary. Yet Claudia addresses a letter to Mimi with Mrs. L. Yamamoto.

Claudia spelling: havnt (twice), realy (twice), asinments (assignments), whos (who's), Bradock (Braddock), tonigt. She also says who instead of how, your instead of you're, to instead of too, and hole instead of whole.

Cabin assignments: Mal and Jessi are in the same eleven year old cabin; Dawn is on the other side with the other eleven year olds. Claudia has nine year olds (including Vanessa and Haley); Mary Anne, seven year olds (including Margo and Nancy Dawes, Karen's friend); Kristy, eight year olds (including Charlotte and Becca) and Stacey, six year olds (including Karen.) Logan's seven year olds include Jackie R., Buddy (who is usually eight) and Matt Braddock--because Logan knows a little sign language.

Of course, keeping with super special #1, Claudia steps on her fellow CIT, Sally, every time she gets off the top bunk. They should probably start restricting her to the bottom.

Somehow, Jessi's dad is named Alex in this one. Yet, his son is John Philip Jr. Someone needed to give the people who do the "letters" the chapter 2 backstory. (Although, it's actually pretty much missing in this one. We don't get to learn how the club started or hear about everyone's positions or crazy families. That comes out more organically.)

Jessi ends her letter WBS, and then has to explain that means write back soon.

Real books, all of them about horseys: Misty of Chincoteague; Stormy, Misty's Foal; A Morgan for Melinda; and Impossible Charley.

Mary Anne draws a picture of Tigger on her letter. It's better than the picture of Tigger in super special is truly awful. (I'm trying to track down a picture of it online.)

MA is always waaaaaay too worried about who is sophisticated.

Dawn says her co-CIT Amy went to Camp Mohawk last year. I'm trying to puzzle this one out. When Mallory and Jessi say they want to be CITs, they're told CITs must be thirteen. Yet the eleven year olds are the oldest campers. As a kid, I remember thinking that twelve year olds were just out of luck, but Amy must have been at camp the year before somehow.

Dawn's caught a case of MA's sophisticated sickness. She mentions that her camper Freddie is more sophisticated than the other girls, and knows about things "such as fur storage and dining al fresco." Fur storage? Really? (Later in the series, Dawn would have started railing about fur being murder.)

Stacey is surprised when Karen gets all hyper at camp. But why? I would expect nothing less (more?) out of her.

One of Mallory and Jessi's cabin-mates calls them Oreos. It was the first (and really only) time I'd ever heard that term. And of course, the girl used it wrong...unless she's suggesting Mal is like an inside-out Oreo. Double the cream, one cookie? Hmmm....

Kristy says she looked her name up in a baby name book once and couldn't find it. I don't even know why she really would need to look it up. Kristin is pretty clearly a version of Christina, and it's pretty obvious that that relates in some way to Christ. (Or maybe it's not so obvious and I've just too much time looking at baby name books. This is a very distinct possibility.)

Kristy realizes that all the other CITs are wearing bras, while she isn't. I know I've said it before, but even flat chested girls usually get a bra by this age. Mostly because they have to change for gym class and it would be embarrassing to wear an undershirt, or worse, nothing at all.

Kristy just sits there and lets her fellow CITs make her over verbally. She should have just told them to go to hell and that she was happy the way she was. (If only they could curse; then, all the dirty jokes told by one of Dawn's campers could actually be heard, too!)

This sounds wrong: "She was headed to the lake, wearing swim trunks and trying to walk in flippers." It's a girl. Shouldn't she be wearing a swim SUIT?

More Claudia misspellings: realy (twice, again!), riden, mosty, hav, potery, niddlework (needlework), imergine (imagine), com, Bradock (again). She also spells Mary Ann wrong, and the cream of the crop--she writes "Me just fine". I'm not sure exactly how to take that, whether she's saying, "Me, I'm just fine" or if she's really (realy) just supposed to be that stupid.

Oh my Lord (as Claudia would say). Claudia's postcard is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Kishi. I'm pretty certain another book establishes him as having a different name, first off; second, in different books, Jessi's dad, Mallory's dad and Claudia's dad have all been called John, while Dawn's dad is Jack. Crazy.

They (of course) make fun of the camp food. Sally, Claudia's co-CIT, suggests that the boys eat the same food the girls do but don't care: "They'd happily eat pond scum and gorilla feet."

Mary Anne writes the world's cheesiest love letter to Logan, and then is so embarrassed when she's caught and the authorities actually GIVE the letter to Logan.

Hee hee! I'd totally forgotten about this part! When MA gets caught, she tells them not to kill her because she has a kitten at home that needs her, and she has a gun!

I think this one is actually consistent: Logan's dad's name is Lyman. I seem to remember that from a book just a short time ago.

In Logan's very first sentence, he calls Stacey's book (the book I'm reading) dumb. Very astute.

During the food fight, one kid sucks Coke through a straw and squirts it out. I spent four summers at camp, and we had to drink three cups of water at every meal before we could have any other liquid. And you wanted that water, because the only other choice was (chunky, watered-down) Kool-Aid.

Isn't it convenient? Both MA and Logan get in trouble (her for sneaking across the lake, him for the food fight). They both get banned from an activity for three days for it (and are soooooooo disappointed). And both their counselors tell them they did the same thing and got in trouble for it when they were CITS. Also, they're both counselors for seven year olds, which I didn't notice until later.

After Dawn's counselor has to go home, they leave Dawn in charge. Yes, there's an adult next door in the other half of the cabin, but really. It doesn't get any better though: the replacement counselor who arrives, Debra, is only fifteen. I don't know about 1989, but by 1997, you had to have an eighteen year old in any group of campers. I worked that summer with a 17 year old counselor, and any time we went anywhere, someone who was 18 or older had to come with us. Of course, the campers at this camp also go all over the place unescorted and can choose their own activities. No one under 16 was allowed to wander without an adult at my Girl Scout camps and our units all did activities together as a group.

When Stacey goes to the infirmary, she is convinced she has "everything". At various points she describes her illness as the plague and leprosy. She tells the nurse she has Lyme disease, allergies, dyspepsia and chicken pox. In reality, she's diagnosed with a horrible case of poison ivy, pinkeye, a cold, impetigo, and lots of insect bites.

Kristy thinks it's hilarious that Becca is so bad at dancing she knocked over a bunch of girls like bowling pins. This was apparently so funny that both Becca and another girl wet their pants.

Ahh, Claudia. In a post card to Janine, she asks (for the second time in this book) Who are you. (just like that, no question mark). More misspellings: boyfreind, sonds, Im', waht, certin, dont', i'l (like that, no capital), reprot. Also, no for know, others for other's. She also attempts to spell particular and dilemma before crossing them out. (I don't blame her; I had to have spell check help me solve dilemma.)

Claudia is thrilled when her mystery Asian boy turns out to be Japanese (she can tell by his last name, Yamakawa, which is distinctively Japanese) because she's sure her parents would like her to marry a Japanese man and have Japanese babies. At least she acknowledges that a) she doesn't even know this boy yet and b) she's only thirteen!

It's been a long time since I've seen Meatballs, but is it really the type of thing they'd show 13 year olds at a camp? If camp's anything like school, they'd probably show movies that are rated G.

Clumsy foreshadowing: Will's grandmother, who had always lived with his family, passed away last month.

Dawn actually address her postcard to her grandparents to "Granny and Pop-Pop Porter."

Dawn says she doesn't really know how to read a map, and she barely knows her left from her right. This must explain why she's usually the one to get horribly lost. (In this one and in SS #4.)

Dawn actually eats a hot dog!!!!!!!!

Mary Anne actually agrees to let the other CITs pierce her ears, but of course, they chicken out.

Kristy gets made over for the dance, and Logan thinks she looks great caked in makeup.

Yet more Claudia misspellings: draems (twice), isnt', realy (of course!), nigth, daced (danced...after she had just spelled it correctly, too!), matrial (material), alway, expreinces, bracking, abel, sclupture.

Claudia thinks Will is a funny name, for some reason.

Kristy says no one ate the veggie burgers at dinner. I bet Dawn did!

I think "feeb" is the BSC version of "retard." It's the insult to use when you don't have any good insults at your disposal. (When I used to teach school, I actually banned the kids from using the words "gay" and "retarded" and they got pretty good about correcting themselves and policing one another: "Ms. C. doesn't like that word. We don't use it.")

This book was back when diabetics used to test their urine instead of their blood.

Jessi writes a postcard to her cousin Keisha. She writes so much and her handwriting is so flowy that I had a hard time reading it. There's way more print on there than would fit on a standard postcard, that's for sure.

Mallory and Jessi's number they perform with Becca and Charlotte and Kristy's other campers is so preachy and silly. They made B & C twins and had the rest of the girls be neighbors who taunt them, until one girl makes friends with them, so all the rest do. Of course, this makes most of Jessi and Mal's cabin-mates apologize for their behavior.

Right before they leave, Mallory and her camping sisters have a happy reunion with Claire, who was too young for camp. Mallory points out it won't last: "We'll be fighting before we've even left the parking lot, and then Margo will puke in our Barf Bucket."

Why do they Capitalize Barf Bucket?

After the various people (the Pikes, the Brewer/Thomases) leave the girls' side of the camp, they go to the boys' side to pick up their sons. Does that mean that the boys' side doesn't have a parents' day activity, or that they do, and those families have to sit through another meal and another bunch of skits?

Final Claudia misspellings: Im', im' (in the same sentence, too), worryed, thinck, wasnt, waht, surprize, Wills (Will's), addres, dont', Stoneybrooke, writ, leter, thrid. Also, she doesn't capitalize Pike, uses no for know and bake for back. (Funniest part of the letter: she writes a P.S. stating that this is the third day in a row she's not worn something with a teepee (or as she writes, TP) on it.)

Epilogue: Stacey regularly exchanges Christmas cards with one of her campers. Claudia decided to keep up a relationship with Will. Kristy now occasionally wears mascara...when she thinks she might run into Bart. MA has decided to never, ever pierce her ears. Dawn enjoyed getting lost in the wilderness and stays close to Heather, the girl who led them back to safety.

I'd forgotten how old and bad AMM looked in her photo in the early books. She looks much younger and better in the late books, circa 1997 on. Must be better photo editing. Heh heh heh.


No real outfits in this one, because everyone is wearing their teepee clothes. However....

Mal and Jessi: armbands that say "junior CIT"

Randi: parrot earrings, friendship bracelet (book says "braided string bracelet," but whatever), bangle bracelets, beaded anklet spelling out her name, headband with a neon green bow

"Mohawk" Jo: a mohawk (duh) with half dyed red and half blue (at least until Mrs. Means sees her)

Will: "punk" hair that sticks up, black hightop sneakers

Logan: (best...outfit...ever!) teepee short, teepee polo, teepee sweater tied around shoulders, teepee socks, Reeboks, aftershave

Mary Anne: yellow ribbon in hair, yellow flower (as dictated by her ridiculous letter)

Kristy: tons of makeup, clip on earrings, barrettes, bracelet, Reeboks (not hers)

New Characters

Thirteen year old CITs: Sally, Gwen, Corinne, Randi, Faye, Julie, Amy, Joanne, Lauren, Izzy, Tansy, Will, Rick, John, Henry, Cliff, Jeremy, Miko (37)

Eleven year olds: Mary, Mary, Mandi, Maureen, Rachel, Shari, Freddie, Donna, Caryn (which, Dawn makes a point of saying, is pronounced Karen), Heather (35)

Nine year olds: Leeann, Brandy, Jayme, Gail (33)

Eight year olds: You actually don't get the names of any of Kristy's other campers. Sorry!

Seven year olds: Tara, Curtis, Russell, Thomas (aka T) (31)

Six year olds: Nonie, Valerie, Monique (30)

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