The Never-Changing Bonds of Friendship

If you have read the Betsy-Tacy series of books by Maud Hart Lovelace, as a child or as an adult, you know that Betsy and Tacy met when they were five years old and remained friends forever, as did their real-life counterparts, Maud Hart Lovelace and Frances “Bick” Kenney.

Maud wrote ten books about Betsy, following her from childhood through high school and ending with her wedding and the beginning of her life as a wife and author. The books are notable for their excellent writing, accurate depiction of small-town life in the early 1990s, and — most of all — for their celebration of friendship. Betsy and Tacy are devoted to one another throughout the books. Soon after they meet, they add another girl, Tib, to their lives, and, in high school, an entire “Crowd” of boys and girls. But while some friends come and go, Betsy and Tacy are constant. They understand one another, respect each other’s differences, and seek to uplift one another whenever possible.

Everybody needs a friend like that. A spouse can fill the role, but Maud seems to value especially the friendship that can develop between two females: the special language of phrases and looks, the way of protecting one another, praising one another, being there at a moment’s notice when suddenly something is terribly wrong. And being there when everything is just right. The first book in the series, Betsy-Tacy, ends with this happy prediction:

“We’ll have lots of fun,” said Betsy. ” You and me and Tacy. Lots of things will happen.” And so they did.

Illustration by Lois Lenski of Tacy, Betsy, and Tib.


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