I am indebted to Ann M. Martin for her book series The Baby-Sitters Club, of which I read almost 100 titles around the time that I was 11 years old.
These stories fostered in me a sense of responsibility towards children, and an entrepreneurial mind-set, both of which remain with me today.
I discovered a collection of the books in a milk crate in the garden shed of my family home. The books had been left behind in storage by the daughter of a family friend sometime in the 90’s. I would later find out that a member of this same family had deeply and irrecoverable wounded one of my family members. And so, I find it bitter-sweet that our family’s association with that family brought me so much joy through my discovery of their books, and another member of my family, so much suffering. I don’t know who I would be without those books, and I don’t know who my family member would be without the painful experiences inflicted on them - had we never known this family.
Life weaves a complex path for us to navigate, no human life is immune from choices, for children, those choices are sometimes made for them by those who are bigger and stronger - we can only hope that those in such positions of power act in the best interests of the child, for when they don’t, we weep and society hurts.
The books I found in the shed that day were squashed and water damaged, they were not in pristine condition and yet I cherished them for the instant friends I found in them. Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne - their names I had to Google because I had long well forgotten - but their influence on me, on who I am today, might be as foundational as any of my early life experiences.
Thank-you Ann M. Martin, for your thought-provoking and empowering writing, I was amongst those who received your message - and grew from it.