Three women stepped straight out of the storybooks and into Buffalo, New York, one sunny day this fall. But they hadn’t met for so long (except on the printed page) that they scarcely recognized each other. Within minutes, however, they reached back across the years to the girlhood they have shared with a quarter of a million children. (Quote from “Three Heroines Meet for First Time [Except on Printed Page] in 34 Years” Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, Nov. 9, 1952)
Maud Hart Lovelace, Frances ‘Bick’ Kenney Kirch, and Marjorie Gerlach Harris met in Buffalo in November 1952. Although they had corresponded over the years, this trio of friends hadn’t seen each other in 34 years.
The first thing the trio did was set off on one of the immortal picnics so often described in the Betsy-Tacy books. Marjorie (Tib), now a widow and business woman from Chicago, arranged the reunion. Bick (Tacy), now a mother and grandmother from Buffalo, had prepared the food. “From the minute we met, each of us acted silly,” Maud said.
At the hotel, they stayed in the dining room and reminisced beyond closing time each night. People stared at the three 60-year-old women laughing and having a good time. When they parted after three days, the women agreed that they had “laughed away 10 years apiece.”
The paper reported, “Unlike most flesh-and-blood inspirations for fictitious heroines, Mmes. Lovelace, Kirch, and Harris don’t deny the closeness of the relationship to their storybook doubles. Perhaps this is due to the tone of Mrs. Lovelace’s books, brimming with the infectious high spirits of young people having a good time.”