I wrote this article in 2006 for a Betsy-Tacy Society newsletter and thought I’d share it here. Nancy Wilson, from Seattle, Washington sent photos of Rupert and Helmus Andrews (characters of Larry and Herbert Humphreys) that she found in the San Diego High School yearbook, The Russ, June 1909. Nancy wrote:
“I first met Betsy and Tacy when I was just their age—5 years old. My best friend and near neighbor, Virginia, introduced me to these stories. I checked them out one by one from the old children’s library in Santa Ana, California, and I continued to check them out of the library and read them over and over, even as an adult, until I discovered at about the age of 50 that they were available in paperback. Quickly I purchased every one, and now I have a complete collection.
It was only after my grandmother’s death in 1978 that I began to realize that the characters in these books, everyone in the Crowd, were her contemporaries, not my own. I had read the books so many times, yet I somehow never let go of the illusion that we were all the same age at Deep Valley High School. I will never forget how I waited for Betsy’s Wedding to be published, rounding out the series.
One day it dawned on me that my grandparents had graduated from San Diego High School in 1909. This meant that they might have known Rupert and Helmus Andrews, the Humphreys boys, who moved to San Diego at the end of Betsy’s freshman year. Sure enough, my sister and I found the school yearbooks in the archives of the San Diego Historical Society, and there were the pictures of Rupe and Helmus, alias Larry and Herbert.
This discovery seemed very fitting to me. My only regret is that I did not figure it out when my grandparents were alive. How I wish I could have asked them about the Andrews brothers. I’m sure they knew one another, because the school was quite small in those days.”