Illustration by Lois Lenski
© HarperPerennial ModernClassics

When Maud was writing the Betsy-Tacy books, she wrote letters to her friends asking them for recollections of their childhood in Mankato. The following is an excerpt from a letter written by Ruth Williams (Alice Morrison), dated December 18, 1945, in response to Maud’s request:

Ruth recalled that at age 15, “we still had a horse and buggy – Rex was an ice race horse and very special. Had Bessie, a jersey cow.

Do you remember the “Blue Jay”? The sleigh rides we used to take! There was a bay at the bottom of the blue-jay; and blankets. Some kids were forever hopping out and running along behind – throwing snow balls and washing faces, etc.

The long coasts – the bob-sleds. We only went down there about three times an evening. It took us so long to walk back up. The Center Street hill used to take us to the Congregational Church. Prospect Heights or Bunker Hill were steeper and not quite so long. But, oh boy!”