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Re: Elsie Dinsmore ?

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  • Berni Phillips
    ... (My e-mail connection would send for a day, so I m posting a bit late on this.) I hesitate to admit this, but I loved _Elsie Dinsmore_ as a girl. I felt
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 5, 1999
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      ERATRIANO@... wrote:

      > My question today is, has anyone heard of the Elsie Dinsmore books by Martha
      > Finley?
      >
      > Lizzie "Princess Airhead"

      (My e-mail connection would send for a day, so I'm posting a bit late on
      this.)

      I hesitate to admit this, but I loved _Elsie Dinsmore_ as a girl. I
      felt akin to her in her spiritual struggles. What she was trying to be
      was how good Catholic girls were supposed to be. (Elsie definitely
      wasn't Catholic, but it was the same root-out-all-traces-of-sin
      mentality I grew up with.)

      I didn't find out until I was an adult that there was a series. I found
      out that a childhood friend of mine -- her family had moved away in
      junior high and she moved back into the area as an adult and we ran into
      each other at a party --collected them. Ironically, she's an athiest,
      raised by athiests -- the last person you'd think to be reading Elsie
      Dinsmore. I had gotten her hooked on the first book. (For those of you
      who haven't read Elsie, she tries to be the perfect little Christian
      girl, the perfect goody-2-shoes who turns the other cheek all the time.)

      I no longer have the original (it was a cheap paperback that fell apart
      years ago due to all the re-readings). Hmmm, maybe I should look for it
      and the sequels?

      Berni Phillips

      P.S. to Khazad-dum: I promise *not* to read from it at the Reading &
      Eating Meeting!
    • Berni Phillips
      ... Aaarrgghh! That should have been would NOT send for a day. I couldn t mail anything out. Never mind.
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 5, 1999
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        Berni Phillips wrote:
        >
        > (My e-mail connection would send for a day, so I'm posting a bit late on
        > this.)

        Aaarrgghh! That should have been "would NOT send for a day." I
        couldn't mail anything out.

        Never mind.
      • ERATRIANO@xxx.xxx
        In a message dated 12/05/1999 7:11:36 PM Eastern Standard Time, bernip@ix.netcom.com writes: This sounds like something about
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 5, 1999
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          In a message dated 12/05/1999 7:11:36 PM Eastern Standard Time,
          bernip@... writes:

          << Reading &
          Eating Meeting! >>
          This sounds like something about my speed! LOLOL.

          Berni: Did you see the website for Elsie? www.elsiedinsmore.com. Pretty
          easy. Good luck if you want to get books... I think availability comes and
          goes. They are also available on tape, I think, at least some are. If I do
          get the doll ever, I will then have an extra of the 1st one. And she's kind
          of next on my list of expensive toys LOL.

          It had occurred to me, despite my difficulties with the book, that since the
          characterization seems good, it might appeal to someone if it hooked them
          right. I just can't deal with the constantly-beaten-on-poor-little-girl
          thing, which come to think of it is probably just as much "period" as
          "religious," perhaps even more so... I am struggling on determinedly during
          my little snips of reading time. So does it get better?

          Lizzie
        • David Lenander
          I ve been sick and busy and haven t kept up with this list very well, but a few years ago we had some discussion of Elsie Dinsmore in _Once Upon a Time_, the
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 6, 1999
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            I've been sick and busy and haven't kept up with this list very well, but a few
            years ago we had some discussion of Elsie Dinsmore in _Once Upon a Time_, the
            children's fantasy apa (no, we didn't think Elsie was a fantasy, at least not in
            our usual sense). Like Bernie, I liked the book when I read it in about 5th
            grade. I did read a couple of the sequels, too. My grandmother had recommended
            them, along with a book called _Merrylips_, which was a historical set in
            Commonwealth England, about a sweet little girl. I also liked Burnett's _A
            Little Princess_ and _Little Lord Fauntleroy_. But those books had a lot more
            character than Elsie, I'm afraid. I read most of the Beany Malone books about
            that time, too. I never could really believe in Elsie, though, because she was
            impossibly just too put upon and too good through it all. And all of her
            relatives, except for one cousin, were too uniformly horrible. Also, _Five Little
            Peppers_ (was there only one of those?).

            Berni Phillips wrote:

            > From: Berni Phillips <bernip@...>
            >
            > ERATRIANO@... wrote:
            >
            > > My question today is, has anyone heard of the Elsie Dinsmore books by Martha
            > > Finley?
            > >
            > > Lizzie "Princess Airhead"
            >
            > (My e-mail connection would send for a day, so I'm posting a bit late on
            > this.)
            >
            > I hesitate to admit this, but I loved _Elsie Dinsmore_ as a girl. I
            > felt akin to her in her spiritual struggles. What she was trying to be . . . .
          • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
            David has about given the wrapup on =Elsie Dinsmore.= I went back to the site I gave, btw, and it only gets through Chapters 3 and 4. Too bad. I was
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 6, 1999
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              David has about given the wrapup on =Elsie Dinsmore.= I went back to the
              site I gave, btw, and it only gets through Chapters 3 and 4. Too bad. I was
              looking for the famous chapter where Elsie sits on the piano stool, obeying
              her father as far as possible but refusing to play on a Sunday, until she
              faints and falls off (!) This made a great impression on my mother, who
              recounted it to me, and also on Cornelia Otis Skinner, who in her
              autobiographical reminiscences remembers trying a similar scene on her actor
              parents, who were amiably mystified but tolerant.

              I hope David's not putting FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS in the same bag. It has
              spunky children with some interesting obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately,
              in the first book, they really overcome them all (by being adopted into the
              family of a rich gentleman) and the sequels never measure up, in my opinion.
              To answer his question, there were several of these published, but most are
              o.p., and I only found two of them at the library when I got in the mood to
              look up the Peppers this summer. However, one of those I found answers the
              interesting question, "Who did Polly Pepper marry?" -- and I can also give
              those who haven't read the sequels the interesting information that Mrs
              Pepper, too, married again.

              I owned the first book as a child and read it with great interest, being an
              only child myself and not having any intimate acquaintance with the kind of
              hardscrabble poverty described in FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS. Also I was too young
              to get a lot of the period references, and indeed, I am still mystified as to
              why an "old boot top" should be one of Davy Pepper's prize possessions, how
              cut-up leather could be used to mend a stove, or why, in a New England state
              (Massachusetts, if I recall) where public education was perhaps more
              prevalent than anywhere else in the country (and all praise to New England
              for that), Mrs. Pepper keeps moaning on about not having any money for her
              children to go to school.

              Mary S
            • Berni Phillips
              ERATRIANO@aol.com wrote: [re Elsie] ... I haven t read it in 30 years. I honestly can t remember how it ends. I just remember her earnest attempts at
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 6, 1999
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                ERATRIANO@... wrote: [re Elsie]

                > It had occurred to me, despite my difficulties with the book, that since the
                > characterization seems good, it might appeal to someone if it hooked them
                > right. I just can't deal with the constantly-beaten-on-poor-little-girl
                > thing, which come to think of it is probably just as much "period" as
                > "religious," perhaps even more so... I am struggling on determinedly during
                > my little snips of reading time. So does it get better?

                I haven't read it in 30 years. I honestly can't remember how it ends.
                I just remember her earnest attempts at perfection, her uncle being
                younger than her, and things like trying to write with the old-style
                pens without making any blots to spoil her pages. It's more the
                atmosphere I remember. I can't recall the plot at all.

                Berni
              • Berni Phillips
                ... Indeed. (I also read a couple of the Pepper books.) What mystified me about money and school was _Girl of the Limberlost_ and trying to raise money to go
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 6, 1999
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                  Stolzi@... wrote:

                  > I hope David's not putting FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS in the same bag. It has
                  > spunky children with some interesting obstacles to overcome.
                  >
                  > I owned the first book as a child and read it with great interest, being an
                  > only child myself and not having any intimate acquaintance with the kind of
                  > hardscrabble poverty described in FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS. Also I was too young
                  > to get a lot of the period references, and indeed, I am still mystified as to
                  > why an "old boot top" should be one of Davy Pepper's prize possessions, how
                  > cut-up leather could be used to mend a stove, or why, in a New England state
                  > (Massachusetts, if I recall) where public education was perhaps more
                  > prevalent than anywhere else in the country (and all praise to New England
                  > for that), Mrs. Pepper keeps moaning on about not having any money for her
                  > children to go to school.
                  >
                  > Mary S

                  Indeed. (I also read a couple of the Pepper books.) What mystified me
                  about money and school was _Girl of the Limberlost_ and trying to raise
                  money to go to high school! Her mother, who was poor, considered it a
                  luxury.

                  Berni
                • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
                  I am rather aghast at Christian homeschoolers of today exposing their children to Elsie Dinsmore s Mammy Chloe, who wears a spotless turban (of course) and is
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 7, 1999
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                    I am rather aghast at Christian homeschoolers of today exposing their
                    children to Elsie Dinsmore's Mammy Chloe, who wears a spotless turban (of
                    course) and is given to remarks like "Bress de Lawd, Ah knows Jesus loves
                    =me=, too, jes' the same as if Ah wuz white." Mammy Chloe can't even pore
                    over the Bible herself - Elsie has to read it to her.

                    I suppose the Girl of the Limberlost needed money for suitable clothes and
                    also transportation - didn't she live a long way from the high school? And I
                    think maybe in the old days you had to buy your textbooks even if the
                    education was free.

                    We were given ours, but had to turn 'em in at the end of the year, so some
                    got more battered books than others. We were also given, and required to
                    use, a set of fold-and-stick brown paper book covers printed up by the State;
                    I find that graven in my memory forever is the lead motto (for State Parks, I
                    guess) "Education and Recreation in the School of the Great Outdoors."

                    Never thought 'til now of the irony of reading this over and over as we sat
                    firmly imprisoned in the School of =Indoors=.

                    Mary S
                  • Stolzi@xxx.xxx
                    Since we are wandering somewhat afield just now, I ll mention F. Marion Crawford. Just finished an oldie I picked up in a local antique barn for 5 bucks. It s
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 7, 1999
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                      Since we are wandering somewhat afield just now, I'll mention F. Marion
                      Crawford.

                      Just finished an oldie I picked up in a local antique barn for 5 bucks. It's
                      THE WHITE SISTER by F. Marion Crawford, pub. 1912. Such a sentimental and
                      romantical brew, ala =Beau Geste=! The frontispiece is a picture of some
                      well-known actress of the time in the role of The White Sister.

                      Looked up Crawford on the 'net and it turns out he is remembered today only
                      for shockers, ghost-stories and the like ("The Screaming Skull" is one of his
                      top titles). One of the pages where I learned this is a set of links with
                      the engaging title "Gaslight Fiction" - this seems to cover everything from
                      shlockmeisters like Crawford to =real= writers of the period such as
                      Turgenev, Chekhov, or de Maupassant. I wonder who he was. "Francis Marion"
                      are two good first names for a South Carolinian.

                      Mary S
                    • WendellWag@xxx.xxx
                      In a message dated 12/6/99 5:07:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, Stolzi@aol.com ... Is this the book I think I remember? I probably read this somewhere between
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 8, 1999
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                        In a message dated 12/6/99 5:07:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, Stolzi@...
                        writes:

                        > I hope David's not putting FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS in the same bag.
                        > It has spunky children with some interesting obstacles to overcome.
                        > Unfortunately, in the first book, they really overcome them all (by
                        > being adopted into the family of a rich gentleman) and the sequels
                        > never measure up, in my opinion. . . I owned the first book as a
                        > child and read it with great interest, being an only child myself and
                        > not having any intimate acquaintance with the kind of hardscrabble
                        > poverty described in FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS.

                        Is this the book I think I remember? I probably read this somewhere between
                        1960 and 1962. By that point it was way out of fashion, so it was probably
                        something that my mother had read as a child and had sitting around. Even
                        then I found the idea that your best hope of getting out of poverty was to be
                        adopted by a rich man to be strange. I can't call my family poor, more like
                        struggling working-class. My father made enough working a job and a half
                        that we might have been middle-class if my parents hadn't been silly enough
                        to have eight kids.

                        If I'm remembering the right book, I found it funny when the kids in that
                        book talked about how "someday our ship will come in". I had never heard
                        that phrase before (in the meaning of "someday we'll make our fortune"). I
                        thought that was hilarious. I remember telling my mother, "Mom, our ship
                        just came in. Unfortunately, it hit the side of the pier and sank." Boy, I
                        was one snide, cynical little kid. But then I'm also one snide, cynical
                        adult.
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