Judy Blume Once Exchanged Letters with Beverly Cleary After Accidentally Getting Each Other's Fan Mail
Reflecting on the beloved Ramona Quimby author's death this week at age 104, Blume, 83, called Cleary her "inspiration."
"I wanted to write books like yours. I so regret never having met you," she wrote on Twitter over the weekend. "You will not be forgotten."
The Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. author went on to retweet another social media post about one very memorable interaction she did have with Cleary.
"I wish I could meet Beverly. The closest I got was when our mutual publisher switched a packet of fan mail quite a few years ago. She got mine, I got hers, and I admit I read a couple of letters meant for her," Blume told journalist Reyhan Harmanci, who shared the quote on social media.
After accidentally getting Cleary's mail, Blume decided to send back the messages with her own special note.
"I wrote her a letter then and sent her mail on -- and she included a note to me with the packet she forwarded," Blume said. "She cautioned me not to get caught up in the demands of the teachers and students. She was concerned that if I did it would interfere with my writing. She was right."
Blume went on to share that she "always" get a kick out of being approached by readers who would mistake her for Cleary.
"I'm always tickled when I meet young readers who say, 'I love your Ramona books.' Then I explain that I love Ramona to, but I didn't write those books, Beverly Cleary did," the author shared. "They give me a sheepish look then, and I tell them it's okay. What's important is that they're reading and loving the experience."
Many celebrities and authors reacted to the news of Cleary's death on Thursday and reflected on the impact her books had on their lives.
Jenny Han, author of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series, went on to reflect on a particular scene from Cleary's writing that comforted her as a child — and as an adult.
"The Beverly Cleary scene I'll never forget is when Ramona's mom and dad have a huge fight over one of them forgetting to turn on the crock pot, and her mom swats her dad on the butt with a pancake turner. Ramona's tummy hurts watching them fight and she worries they will divorce," Han wrote.
"That night Ramona sleeps in Beezus's bed and they comfort each other. It was such a real scene," she continued. "As a little kid it comforted me and as an adult, I just reread it and it's still a banger."
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Cleary died on March 25 in Carmel, California, where she had lived since the 1960s, according to a statement from HarperCollins.
"We are saddened by the passing of Beverly Cleary, one of the most beloved children's authors of all time," Suzanne Murphy, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, said in a statement.
Murphy added, "Looking back, she'd often say, 'I've had a lucky life,' and generations of children count themselves lucky too—lucky to have the very real characters Beverly Cleary created, including Henry Huggins, Ramona and Beezus Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse, as true friends who helped shape their growing-up years."