March 22, 2017
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars during 2017, on the subject of our favorite squads.
Maud Hart Lovelace wrote about Betsy Ray, Tacy Kelly & Tib Mullen in a series of books that get longer and more narratively complex as the girls grow up. When Tacy and her large family move in across the street, five-year-old Betsy runs to meet the new girl who’s her same age, greeting her and asking her name. Painfully shy Tacy runs away. Only after regaining the safety of her own house is Tacy able to shout the answer to Betsy’s question — which Betsy, never having heard the name Tacy before, mistakes for name-calling. Once that misunderstanding is resolved the two become inseparable, and it’s as a unit that Betsy and Tacy go to meet Tib. They’re quite dubious about the prospect: “They walked as though they were walking into danger.” Much to their surprise, they like Tib, and duo becomes trio.
Betsy is the tummler: “Betsy loved to think up things to do and Tacy and Tib loved to do them.” But Tacy and Tib aren’t mere sidekicks. They’re closer to improv partners who build on Betsy’s ideas — including but not limited to learning to fly, falling in love with the young king of Spain, combining a dizzying array of ingredients to make Everything Pudding, exploring the Mirror Palace created by treating ceilings as the floors of new and mysterious rooms, and cutting off locks of their hair to remember each other by, in case one of them dies.
They regularly get into trouble, but the trouble never includes fighting among themselves, and that stability was deeply comforting to me as a young reader. I didn’t know then that Lovelace based Betsy, Tacy, and Tib on herself and her lifelong friends Bick and Midge. But I did notice that she always described the friendship in terms that immediately reassure the reader that it endured: “Betsy and Tacy and Tib found plenty of things to do. They soon stopped being ten years old. But whatever age they were seemed to be exactly the right age for having fun.”
#SQUADGOALS: Annie Nocenti on THE WILD BUNCH | Alice Boone on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS | Gordon Dahlquist on BOWIE’S BAND | Rob Wringham on THE HOME GUARD | Jennifer Krasinski on WATERSHIP DOWN RABBITS | Annalee Newitz on ROBIN HOOD’S MERRY PALS | Adrienne Crew on THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | Mark Kingwell on THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | Adam McGovern on KAMANDI’S FAMILY | John Overholt on THE CLUB | Greg Rowland on THE VULTURE SQUADRON | Sara Ryan on BETSY, TACY & TIB | Chelsey Johnson on VI ÄR BÄST! | Brian Berger on THE JOHN FORD STOCK COMPANY | Sherri Wasserman on THE WARRIORS | Jessamyn West on FAREYNIKTE PARTIZANER ORGANIZATSYE | Josh Glenn on DADA | Matthew De Abaitua on THE TIME | Mandy Keifetz on THE FOUNDING FATHERS | William Nericcio on ZOOT SUIT PACHUCOS | Deb Chachra on FIREFLY CREW | Matthew Battles on THE ANIMAL FAMILY | Anthony Miller on TBD | Joe Alterio on THE USUAL GANG OF IDIOTS | Jacob Mikanowski on THE RATBASTARDS | Rob Walker on LES TROIS INSÉPARABLES | Katie Hennessey on BEAT POETS | TBD on TBD | Ingrid Schorr on THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS | Luc Sante on THE BOUZINGOS | Carl Wilson on NEW YORK SCHOOL POETS | Mimi Lipson on TBD | Franklin Bruno on THE AACM | Cintra Wilson on TBD | Karinne Keithley Syers on BLACK LIPS PERFORMANCE CULT | Dan Reines on THE BREAKFAST CLUB | Lynn Peril on THE DALY SISTERS | Devin McKinney on 1975 RED SOX | Steph Burt on DAMAGE CONTROL | Gary Panter on TBD | Barbara Bogaev on THE MOD SQUAD | Chris Spurgeon on THE ALKALI METALS | Molly Wright Steenson on TBD | Elina Shatkin on THE HOLOGRAMS | Anshuman Idamsetty on TBD | Jenny Offill on TBD | Kio Stark on TBD | Douglas Rushkoff on TBD | Colin Dickey on ACÉPHALE | Anindita Basu Sempere on TBD | David Smay on THE MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF THE OINGO BOINGO | TBD on TBD.
#SQUADGOALS (2017 weekly): THE WILD BUNCH | BOWIE’S BAND | THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | VI ÄR BÄST! & dozens of other squads | GROK MY ENTHUSIASM (2016 weekly): THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF LUNCH | WEEKEND | MILLION YEAR PICNIC | LA BARONNE EMILE D’ERLANGER | THE SURVIVAL SAMPLER | & dozens more one-off enthusiasms. QUIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2016): “Tainted Love” | “Metal” | “Frankie Teardrop” | “Savoir Faire” | “Broken English” | & 20 other new wave songs. CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2015): DARKER THAN YOU THINK | THE SWORD IN THE STONE | OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET | THIEVES’ HOUSE | QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST | & 20 other fantasy novels from 1934–43. KERN YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2014): ALDINE ITALIC | DATA 70 | TORONTO SUBWAY | JOHNSTON’S “HAMLET” | TODD KLONE | & 20 other typefaces. HERC YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2013): “Spoonin’ Rap” | “Rapper’s Delight” | “Rappin’ Blow” | “The Incredible Fulk” | “The Adventures of Super Rhyme” | & 20 other old-school hip-hop songs. KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2012): Justice or vengeance? | Kirk teaches his drill thrall to kiss | “KHAAAAAN!” | “No kill I” | Kirk browbeats NOMAD | & 20 other Captain Kirk scenes. KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2011): THE ETERNALS | BLACK MAGIC | DEMON | OMAC | CAPTAIN AMERICA | & 20 other Jack Kirby panels.