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A Kid's Hero.

Sure, I read the trashy magazines while I'm standing in line at the grocery store.  (And then, when it comes time to pay, I clumsily mush the US Weekly into the slot where the Good Housekeepings are standing at attention.)  And yes, I catch myself humming along to the theme song of Entertainment Tonight when it comes on at the gym.  But I've never been one for celebrity heroes. 

However.

I had a hero as a little kid and she wasn't even real.

When I was a little kid, I was a big ol' book worm.  (Currently, I am a big ol' Book Nerd.  I've evolved.)  My room was a pile of dog-eared books, some of which were bloated from bringing them into the shower.  The librarian in my hometown knew me by name.  I would get in trouble for bringing books to the dinner table.  Bottom line:  I wouldn't stop reading.

Shortly after I was diagnosed, Ann M. Martin started a series of books called The Baby-Sitter's Club.  Telling the story of a group of girls who start a baby-sitting business, I was hooked from the first page of Kristy's Great Idea.  Tomboy Kristy, fashion-plate Claudia, mousy Mary Anne, Dawn the California gThe truth about Stacey.irl, and Stacey.

Stacey was my hero.

Here I was, all of about nine years old, my friends and I devouring every new Baby-Sitter's Club book that was published and talking about starting our own baby-sitter's club.  Then the book The Truth About Stacey came out and the world cracked open. 

Stacey had diabetes.  This well-known character in a series read by millions of kids (and most of my friends), was smart, pretty, popular, and had diabetes. 

My heart soared.  (My blood sugar probably did, too.  Hormones were a bitch on my A1c's.)  Mainstream diabetes!  Most people talk about Shelby in Steel Magnolias as the pop culture diabetes icon, but for me it was Anastasia "Stacey" Elizabeth McGill.  She talked with her friends and tested her blood sugar at the same time

My nine-year old brain could barely handle it.  "I talk to my friends and test my blood sugar, too!"  I thought she was the coolest.  She may as well have had a superhero cape as far as I was concerned. 

Even now, almost twenty years later, I think about Stacey McGill and feel so connected to her stories.  Fiction or not, the Baby-Sitter's Club books were like prehistoric diabetes blogs, serving as a lifeline between diabetic kids.  In a town where I was one of the only kids with diabetes, Stacey confirmed that there were others out there like me.

Oh, and I wanted to dress like Claudia.  ... and I've digressed yet again.

Comments

A trip down memory lane :)

Umm, yeah...I can so relate. LOL

And I felt super connected to her because not ONLY were we both diabetic BUT my name is Stacey also...spelled the same way and all!!

It was all to exciting for my little brain!

And yes, I wanted to dress like Claudia also.

Yes! I had read a lot of the Babysitter's Club books by the time I was diagnosed at 14, but I remember rushing back to the bookshelf in my friend's bedroom (she has the whole collection) to find that specific volume because I'd remembered reading it some time before! Even though Stacey was a fictional character, she was somebody to identify with.

I LOVED THOSE BOOKS!
I remember waiting anxiously for each one. In fact, I still have them packed away. I can't let go of any of my books.

That was the first time I had ever heard of diabetes, and one of the reasons I never thought I would get it as an adult.

Oh I loved the Babysitter Club Books! Stacey was always my favorite, though I was a bit of a tomboy, like Kristy, and overly emotional, like Maryanne. I guess I related to a lot of the characters :)

I was very familiar with diabetes, via Stacey's story, before I was diagnosed at age 13. When the doctor told me the news and asked, "do you know what this means?" I said, "Yes, it's like Stacey in the Babysitter's Club Books..."

What a great hero for us!

Oh, nostalgia! I read all those books repeatedly when I was 9 (pre-D) and thought Stacey was the coolest girl EVER. Without that series I think I would have had a much harder time when I was diagnosed a couple years later at 11. Kerri, your stories reminded me so much of my bookworm self as a kid :) Kudos on the books in the shower though, I never took it quite that far!
BTW, I love your blog - thanks for the constant source of amusement and inspiration (and procrastination)!

I devoured the Babysitter's Club as a kid, and I wasn't even diagnosed until I was like 21! Seriously, I had like the first 75 or so books in my personal collection.

Did you skip the chapter in all the books that was word for word the same - character bios, etc?

Stacey was my hero too! I was pretty much nothing like her as far as the fashion and popularity part. But my parents were divorced & I also had diabetes. I was more personality-wise like Mary Ann. But Stacey, man, she let me know that people actually knew about diabetes! A lot of my friends learned about diabetes by reading those books. Me, I just felt connected to her... I wonder if Stacey had been "written" in 2000 insead of the late 80s if she would have had an insulin pump.... that would be a great question for Ann Martin. :)

even though i wasn't diagnosed with diabetes until my 20s, stacey was always my favorite! after i was diagnosed, my sister immediately sent me a copy of the truth about stacey! i love that you wrote about that... stacey was the best. meanwhile, claud was definitely the trend setter. also, i always loved that hollowed out book where she hid her devil dogs or whatever they were.

I loved the BSC! The first ones came out when I was 10-11. I read 'em up through my freshman year of high school.

As far as personality, I've always been a Mary Anne type, but I wanted to be more easygoing like Dawn.

I guess I'm way old for those books, BUT I'm soooo happy that we are discussing READING!! My mom was a librarian.

I still have my BSC books packed up somewhere. It's kinda funny now to think about my diagnosis of diabetes....the day before I was diagnosed I told my best friend that I thought I was diabetic like Stacey in the BSC books. She laughed. The next day I was rushed to the hospital.

I guess I'm on the other side. Since I've always been a big reader, when I was dx'd my mom ran to the bookstore to get books for me to read. She asked someone working there what to buy (she didn't want to buy books to teach me things but to help me relate,etc) and she recommended the BSC series. Mom got me the book about Stacey you mentioned and I was HOOKED! I loved the book but I did feel that what was written about whats he was going through was not true for me. This was in 1990 but for me it was never a problem to have a sweet if I wanted, I just had to plan for it in my diet. Stacey wasn't allowed anything. She also had to go HOME to test her BG, why didn't she bring it with her? I read the whole series as I grew up and the Stacey plots regarding D really didn't seem correct to me and they were very sterotypical. I even wrote the author a letter once to correct her. Not sure if she even read it LOL! I also liked MaryAnne. I thought Claudia was way too obsessed with clothes!

Heh, I couldn't stop reading either. I once got caught reading in class, instead of doing the classwork.

Stacey helped me in a different way...when I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1989, I wasn't as confused as I would have been otherwise because I already knew about blood sugars, snacks, and insulin thanks to her. And I remember telling my mom all about her in the doctor's office as we waited for my "official" diagnosis.

Okay you’ve got me. I've been reading this post for days and I have a comment that comes out of left field but I have to say it. I'm a 58 year old man that grew up and idolized Superman, especially George Reeves as Superman, but I also loved to read Pippi Longstockings. She’s at the top of my hero list. I would walk miles to the library to checkout the books about her and that's saying a lot because I had polio as a child and walk with crutches. My point is that we all have our heroes and for many of us, even tough guys like me, it isn't just the male superheroes. Often it's even a nine-year-old girl with fiery red hair worn in braids that’s stronger than 10 policemen. For me, that unconventional girl provided the strength I needed to face a world that didn’t always accept or understand the unconventional.

Oh my! I remember Stacey :)

Funny thing is, I had never heard of diabetes before reading the BSC books. I thought Stacey was so cool and disciplined and responsible.

Then a few months later, two months before my 12th b-day, I was diagnosed with T1. :)

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