After reading this week’s Binge Thinking column — in which EW columnist Diablo Cody reminisces about "generational icon" Judy Blume — we’re recalling all sorts of random life lessons we’ve gleaned from Blume’s extensive canon of popular young-adult novels. Some of mine, particularly from Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, are merely practical. Never walk around in a wet bathing suit. Don’t be racist. The nice old man down the hall who’s always offering you candy probably isn’t Hitler. Still, might be better not to take the candy. (I hated that last one a lot.)
But oddly enough, the Freedman theme that’s stuck with me the most is pop culture-related: Sally idolized competitive swimmer/movie star Esther Williams. Years before I bothered to actually seek out an Esther Williams movie, I’d inexplicably drop the name into conversations with other 11-year-old girls. We’d be in the lake, testing out glamorous mid-swim poses, and I’d be all, "Check it out. Esther Williams." And they’d just stare at me. Why would I do that?! Sigh. Who knows? Just Judy.
Name the random Judy Blume memories that have stuck with you, below!