50 Years of Amelia Bedelia
South Carolina author Peggy Parish published her first book with the character Amelia Bedelia in 1963. Based on a maid she had while growing up, Amelia Bedelia captured the hearts of children by repeatedly misunderstanding her employer. Sponge cakes had real sponges in them, a tent is pitched by throwing it into the woods, and drapes are drawn on a sheet of paper. Parish wrote nearly a dozen of the “Amelia Bedelia” books during her lifetime. After she passed away in 1988, her nephew, Herman, took up the task of keeping his aunt’s literal-minded housekeeper alive. He published “Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia” in 1995 and has kept charming readers with her mishaps since.
To celebrate 50 years of Amelia Bedelia, Harper Collins launched a 50th anniversary website and proclaimed January 29 Amelia Bedelia Day. A new chapter book series about the character also debuted that day, and Amelia Bedelia now has a Twitter account and Facebook page.
Mental Floss also has a list of 10 Amelia Bedelia-isms in honor of the anniversary, and if you’re near Parish’s hometown of Manning, South Carolina, check out the statue of Amelia Bedelia at the Harvin Clarendon County Library there.