BSC #26- Claudia and the Sad Good-bye

I will have to say that there probably won’t be much snark in this recap only because the death of Mimi is sooo sad- I was very sad about it at the age of 13, and I am sad about it now. I do love the Christmas light earrings Claudia is rocking on the cover of this book, though.  And she is wearing them IN the book!! Mimi is so adorable- sigh 😦 And sooo much cooler than Kristy’s Nannie, I am sorry.

Chapter 1:  Claudia is coming home from school and greets Mimi. Claudia throws her backpack on the floor, but Mimi doesn’t say anything. Claudia explains that if her parents or Janine saw that they’d tell to bring her stuff upstairs and she’d wait at least 10 minutes just to prove to them that they can’t boss her around.  But Claudia brings her bag upstairs right away because Mimi didn’t tell her anything. Mimi is preparing special tea.  Mimi makes Japanese tea and serves it in cups with no handles, and Claudia loves special tea with Mimi.  Claudia says Mimi likes to make the tea herself even though her hand isn’t as steady since her stroke last summer. Mimi also has become forgetful lately.  Claudia and Mimi talk about Claudia’s day at school- Claud got a B+ on a composition Mimi helped her write- and art and baby sitting.  Claudia says Mimi understands her better than anyone in this world and is her best friend. Gosh, I am tearing up already.  Claudia goes upstairs to work on her painting for awhile, and Mimi says it’s beautiful. Then Mimi asks about starting dinner, and Claudia thought Mimi had started it an hour ago. Then Mimi forgot what she was making for dinner, and Claudia helps her.  Mimi needs a lot of help these days, and it’s hard on Claudia’s family.

Chapter 2: A BSC meeting is about to start. Mal runs into her room upset because Mimi yelled at her, saying she and Mallory can’t go shopping again because Mal takes too long in the dressing room. Mallory doesn’t get why Mimi is saying that because Mallory has never taken her shopping. Mal is really upset about all of this.  Then Mal says Mimi seemed to be back to her old self, and Mimi gave her a small china bird and said she wanted Mallory to have it. Mallory asks if Claudia minds if Mallory has the bird,  and Claud thinks she minds a little but not because of the bird. It’s because that the new behavior Mimi is displaying really bothers Claudia.  Then Kristy barrels into Claud’s room, and Mimi troubles are forgotten during the meeting.  During the meeting, the mom of children we never hear about calls and is calling requesting an art teacher for one of her children. The caller is Mrs. Addison and  the children are Sean and Corrie. Mrs. Addison wants an art teacher for Corrie. Dawn says that Mr and Mrs Addison want time for themselves so they constantly shuttle Sean and Corrie to tons of classes and activities so Mrs. and Mr. A can be alone- UGH as hell, man! Corrie is nine and Sean is 10, BTW. Mrs. Addison wants Claudia to give Corrie an art lesson once a week. Why can’t she enroll Corrie in an ACTUAL class?  Then Claudia has a great idea- maybe she can hold an art class for a bunch of little kids in the neighborhood, like Myriah and Gabbie Perkins and Jamie Newton- and she can hold the class on Saturdays in her basement!  Claudia thinks this would be great because she may want to be an art teacher one day, and Kristy, of course, thinks this could bring more biz to the BSC. Claudia feels that with all those kids, she may need an assistant, and Mary Anne volunteers.

Chapter 3:  After club meetings, Claud sometimes feels lonely, and it makes her miss Stacey ( who is living in New York with her parents at this point in the series) all the more. Then Claudia remembers that Mimi is right downstairs, and Claudia will go and help Mimi make dinner. Mimi insists on doing lots of the work herself, but Claudia has to be there because Mimi’s hands really shake, so Claud worries when she uses a veggie peeler, and sometimes Mimi forgets to wash chicken or veggies, things like that.  Despite these worries, Claudia’s parents haven’t banned Mimi from the kitchen yet – they know on good days it’s good for Mimi to maintain her independence and on bad days Claudia is there to help.  Claud says that they can make a fancy dinner and serve it in the dining room with candles, and Mimi agrees.  As Claudia starts to serve pea soup as the first course, Mimi kind of slithers in her chair and slumps and Mr. Kishi catches Mimi right before she falls to the floor. Mrs. Kishi tells Claudia to call 911 right away.  Claudia does  and sees Mimi on the floor and wonders if she’s dead. Janine says no, and Claud observes Mimi on the floor talking about ” the old country” and looking very confused. A paramedic says Mimi has low blood pressure. Mimi and Mrs. Kishi go off in the ambulance, and Janine, Claud and Claud’s dad go in the car behind the ambulance.  Claud is relieved that Mimi is in the hospital and can get better there. 😦 as we know what’s coming.

After school the next day, Claudia decides to take a teddy bear to Mimi.  Mimi is sleeping, and Claudia’s mom says they think Mimi has some kind of problem with her blood, but they don’t know what yet.  Two more days go by, and they give Mimi more and more blood tests and still don’t know what’s wrong, and Mimi keeps saying nonsense things. Claud spends all of her afternoons with Mimi, as her family thinks THEIR activities are sooo much more important than Claudia’s.  But Claudia doesn’t mind much. The doctors then give Mimi a couple of pints of fresh blood, and Claudia feels that did the trick.  Mimi seems much more alert and has her appetite back, and the next day after getting more blood, Mimi wants to take a walk.  Claudia and Mimi walk down to the nursery and they see an Asian baby with its hair sticking straight up, and Mimi says Claudia looked like that when she was a baby, and squeezes Claud’s hand. Claudia instantly feels guilty for resenting having to be with Mimi at the hospital.  Mimi gets to go home the next day, and Claudia says Mimi seems to be like her old self.  Claudia makes special tea for Mimi and Mimi yells that it’s all wrong!  Claudia leaves the room in a huff, and Mimi says ” sorry, my Claudia” behind her.  Then on Friday before a meeting Mimi keeps asking for stuff and then asks for the newspaper. Claudia gets annoyed and throws a bunch of newspapers and magazines on the bed and says ” need anything else” in an angry voice. Mimi starts to cry and Claudia says she is sorry but she is tired of being Mimi’s maid.  Of course, just as in book 7 Claudia and Mean Janine, Claud volunteered to always help Mimi.

Chapter 4:   Claudia says she felt awful about how she treated Mimi on Friday and kept saying she was sorry, but she still feels bad. Luckily, the next day it’s Claudia’s first art class!  The kids who signed up are Corrie Addison, of course, Myriah and Gabbie Perkins, Jamie Newton, Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold. and Matt Braddock. Claudia says Matt is a ” wonderful deaf boy” who everyone just loves to bits. OK great.  Claudia decides the class will be fun and relaxed and today she will just give them some paint, water and paper and let the kids mess with color or whatever.  Claudia meets Corrie, who has blondish brown hair and is quite pale.  Corrie is not smiling. Claudia introduces herself and takes Corrie to her basement.  The kids all have a  great first art class. Myriah works on a picture of her baby sister Laura. Claudia teaches Matt how to make inkblots. Gabbie just mixes up a bunch of different colors of paint to make different colors. Marilyn and Carolyn both paint brick houses.  Claudia sees Corrie making a beautiful landscape and tells Corrie she is very talented. Corrie tells Claudia she loves art. Then Corrie says she doesn’t love piano lessons, ballet or baseball lessons.  Corrie then says Sean is at a tuba lesson, but she has no idea where her parents are, and she can’t wait to show Mommy her picture. My gosh, my heart bleeds for this kid. Between Corrie and Mr and Mrs Neglectful, and Mimi, I am surprised Ididn’t cry all over this book.  Mrs. Addison arrives to pick up Corrie half an hour late. UGH

Chapter 5:  Next art class- the kids are going to learn to make puppets, and they are all super excited! Gabbie decides she will make a Cabbage Patch doll puppet.  Marilyn Arnold wants to make a witch puppet, and Myriah says she will make a rabbit.  Matt wants to make a baseball player puppet. Jamie wants to make a space monster.  Corrie looks thoughtful and finally says she wants to make a Nancy Drew puppet and Claudia is all happy that Corrie also likes Nancy Drew.   Claudia is already sensing a bond between her and Corrie.  Claudia hears Mimi calling for her, and Claud tells Mimi not to go down the stairs. Claudia tries to tell Mimi again not to go down the stairs, but Mimi starts to and is all wobbly.  Mary Anne leads Mimi the rest of the way down and has her observe the art class.  Claud decides Mimi can stay for the class, and as Claudia turns to get a chair, she hears Mary Anne scream. Mimi has fainted again.  Jamie screams Mimi and goes to run to her, but Mary Anne holds him in a bear hug. Poor Jamie.  Mary Anne is with Mimi and takes control of the kids as Claudia runs to get her dad.  Claudia’s dad is working on his car and he had no idea Mimi was out of bed.  Mr. Kishi tells Claud to call the paramedic and tells Mary Anne to take the kids home.  Janine and Claudia stay with Mimi as Mr. Kishi tells the paramedics where to go.  Mary Anne takes home the kids who live close by and then leads the remaining kids back to Claud’s so they can wait for their parents to pick them up and Corrie starts to cry, saying Claudia must be so sad about Mimi. 😦  Mary Anne thinks that Claudia and Corrie are getting close already.

Chapter 6:  Claudia rides the ambulance with Mimi as Janine stays behind to tell Claudia’s mom what happened and Claud’s dad rides behind the ambulance.  Mimi is awake and confused, but Mimi says she is glad Claudia is there.  Mimi gets more blood and she jokes that she’s a vampire. Claudia thinks that if Mimi is joking, she must be OK. Mimi is in bad pain and Mr. Kishi keeps trying to call for the nurse to give her painkillers. After a day or two, Mimi keeps talking about wanting to give things away at home.  Then on a day Claud goes to see Mimi after school, Mimi actually throws pudding at the wall which is not like her at all.  The doctors then do more tests, and Mimi tells Claudia she loves her.  Then, they say Mimi can go home the next day! Mimi calls that night and tells Claudia she doesn’t want to confuse the Muses, ( Claud has no clue what that means) and tells Claudia she loves her, and Claudia says she loves Mimi too.

Chapter 7:  It’s 4:52 am. Claudia hears her parents talking in low voices,and her mom crying and saying ” we have to tell the girls.” Claudia sees her parents hurriedly getting dressed, and asks them what is going on. Claudia’s mom keeps crying and tells Claud to sit in her lap, which she does even though she hasn’t in years. That’s when Claudia’s mom says that Mimi is dead.  Claudia says she doesn’t believe it, and Mimi was fine. Claud’s dad starts to cry and says Mimi wasn’t fine- she was old and sick and probably just ” wore out.” This is seriously too sad.  Claudia and Janine sit with regular cups of tea and Claudia tells Janine about what Mimi said about the Muses. Janine says the muses are creative powers or spirits that are supposed to inspire artists, musicians and other creative folk.  Claud thinks of how only Mimi understood how important her art was, and now Mimi is gone.  Claudia and Janine then go to call various people- Janine the relatives to tell them about the funeral that will be in 3 days, Claud to call her friends. Claudia calls Mary Anne first, because she was closest to Mimi as Mary Anne grew up without her mom and all. Mary Anne cries and cries upon hearing the news. Then Claudia lets Mary Anne call Jessi, Mal and Dawn and Claudia says she will call Stacey and Kristy herself.  Claudia calls Stace first. Stacey was about to leave for school but stays to talk as soon as she hears Claudia’s voice. Stacey says of course she and her parents will go to the funeral.  When Claud calls Kristy Kristy does not cry, but keeps saying she is sorry and asks if there is anything she can do. Kristy wants to cancel the club meeting but Claud insists on holding as she wants things to be somewhat normal and needs the BSC”s company. Claudia then talks about how all these people came over and brought food and she doesn’t get why as they can all cook.  Claud says each time the doorbell rings, it means that Mimi is really dead. Janine sits with the BSC during the meeting as she doesn’t want to be alone and the girls barely really say anything but Claudia feels better not being alone.  Claud is upset with herself  because of getting upset with Mimi and especially throwing the magazines on Mimi’s bed.

Chapter 8:  On the night before Mimi’s funeral, Mary Anne invites the BSC over for a pizza supper, figuring Claudia may want some time with friends and pizza before the funeral the next day. Dawn was already going to be over while Mary Anne’s pop and Dawn’s ma are out on a date.  Kristy starts wanting to tell Mimi stories and the girls all agree. Kristy tells a story of how Mimi first tasted pizza. It was Claud’s 8th bday and they were going to go to a fancy Japanese restaurant and Mimi even wore her kimono- but the restaurant was closed! Mr. Kishi drives around and around to find a place to eat and Claud says she wants pizza so they pull into some seedy joint where teens hang out. Probably  like the Kelly’s of the BSC world. Mimi walks in there with her kimono, tries the pizza, and says ” Best Japanese food I have ever eaten!”  They then talk about Russ and Peaches- Peaches is Claud’s aunt and Mimi’s daughter, and Russ is her hubby, who is not Japanese by the way. One time in a snow storm, apparently Russ went to check on Mimi by driving over in a golf cart. Claud says another time Mimi decided to be an ambulance chaser, and it turns out the ambulance was going to Peaches’ house because she had fallen down the stairs!! Mimi never chased an ambulance after that!  Then Corrie calls and tells Claudia a smelly old lady is baby sitting for her and Sean and Claudia says to avoid the old lady, Corrie can just tell her she’s going to bed. Claudia always did that when she didn’t like her sitters when she was little.  Claudia doesn’t know how she will get through Mimi’s funeral the next day.

Chapter 9: Stacey and Mrs. McGill drive to Stoneybrook. Mr McGill didn’t come because apparently they were fighting tons the night before.  There’s not much to say about the funeral. Everyone from the BSC, even Logan, attended the funeral- but not Shannon as she didn’t know Mimi.But she knows Claudia I’d think Shannon would at least go to support Claud. All of Claud’s relatives come, of course, as the Newtons and the Perkins family also attend.  Watson and Nannie didn’t attend either ( ????), just Sam, Charlie and Kristy’s mother. Claudia explains Watson barely knew Mimi so he is staying home to help Nannie watch the little ones. Well OK I guess.  Mary Anne crys and crys but Stacey didn’t – she says she felt like a stone. Claudia says she felt the same way. Claudia feels guilty about this because even her dad is crying.  Claudia says she feels she has no tears left. I will say I felt that way when my cat died this February- that I had no tears left.  Stacey stays to hang with Claud even after the others leave, and Mimi tells Stacey she put Mimi’s portrait in the attic- she’s not ready to look at it. Then Claudi and Stacey hug and hug.

Chapter 10:  Claudia is actually glad to go back to school so she can feel normal. Well, that doesn’t exactly happen.  Hardly any of the kids even talk to Claudia.  Claudia is upset and feels the kids are treating her like a leper.  Dawn says maybe the kids just don’t know what to say to Claudia.  Mary Anne says maybe the kids think now something like this will happen to them now, and it’s scary.  Logan says ” Claudia’s not catching” which everyone laughs at even though it’s not that funny.  Saturday finally rolls around, and it’s another art class.  Corrie arrives first and asks how Claudia is feeling and Claud says fine and thinks she doesn’t want to talk about Mimi she just wants to work on the puppets.  Claudia observes that Corrie’s Nancy Drew puppet is far and away the best in the class.  At the end of the class Corrie is smiling and she tells Claud she will give the puppet to her mom, because Corrie knows it will please her.

Chapter 11:  Kristy says at the club meeting that Emily is learning English REALLY fast. Gee, that sure changed a few books later!!!  Dawn and Mary Anne talk about Dawn’s ma and Mary Anne’s dad- and Dawn says her mom doesn’t see ” the Trip Man” AS OFTEN, as Mary Anne says her dad ONLY sees Mrs. Schafer! Wow, Dawn’s mom is a slutbag, huh??? Then Mary Anne and Dawn wonder why Mrs. Schafer and Mr. Spier aren’t married yet- shit, girls, calm down it’s been what- two months? Or maybe 18 in BSC land- I dunno.  Jessi talks about wanting to audition for Swan Lake at the Stoneybrook Civic Center,but she is not sure she would get a part. Claudia says that Mimi always said you have to try things no matter what or else you’ll never know what you are capable of. Then Mal starts to tell a Mimi story, but Claud is not feelin’ it and goes ” mmm” not too happily. Then Mal starts to say she is sorry and Claudia tells Mallory to be quiet and that she doesn’t want to talk about Mimi.  Kristy says she doesn’t really want bring this up but she does anyway- Kristy tells Claud to make sure Corrie isn’t just ” filling a hole” in Claud’s life where Mimi used to be.  Kristy tells Claud NOT TO DROP CORRIE, even when Claudia starts to feel better.  Kristy then says she doesn’t think Claud would do that but she just wants Claudia to be careful.  Kristy says everyone thinks little kids don’t ” break” but they do inside and Kristy remembers how she ” broke” when her dad left.  😦

Chapter 12:  Claudia’s grades drop to a solid D average, and Claud’s parents don’t even say anything.  Claudia is surprised by this. Claudia also feels more tired than usual.  Claudia is finding it hard to concentrate. Claudia is at least glad that kids like Dorrie and Ashley are talking to Claud at school again.  But none of her friends will talk about Mimi, even though Claud wants to now. 

Then comes another art class. Gabbie keeps adding all kinds of glue and sparkles to her puppet.  Corrie is done with her Nancy Drew puppet. After class, Corrie and Claud sit on the stoop and are waiting for a long time- so long that when Mary Anne gets back from dropping off Jamie and the Perkins gals, Corrie and Claudia are still sitting there.  Then Janine says the phone is for Claudia and it’s Mrs. Addison.  Mrs. Addison says she cannot get Corrie for another HOUR as she is running late with her errands!  Claudia barely says fine before Mrs. Addison rushes off the phone.  Claudia tells Corrie the news and says that she can show Corrie her art stuff and they can have some lunch.  Janine says maybe they can even make milkshakes.  Poor Corrie keeps saying things like  ” I wonder where Daddy is ” and ” who’s watching Sean”? And then Corrie gives Nancy Drew to Claudia, saying she doesn’t want to give her puppet to her mom anymore.  Claudia says that while Mimi being gone is awful, at least Claudia had her love.

Chapter 13:  After dinner, Claud sees Janine on Mimi’s bed with her jewelry box open.  Claudia asks what Janine is doing and Janine says it’s about time someone went through Mimi’s things.  Claudia is really upset and tells Janine Mimi’s only been dead a few weeks and she can’t believe Janine is already going through her stuff.  Claudia then starts screaming she doesn’t want Mimi’s dumb old things anyway and she HATES Mimi! Claudia’s parents hear Claudia and run upstairs.  Claudia says she doesn’t hate Mimi but she is upset with Mimi for leaving her and her family. Claud then says maybe Mimi died so she wouldn’t be a nuisance anymore. Janine then says she doesn’t think Mimi WANTED to die but Mimi KNEW her time was over in this world. Janine even found a paper at the bottom of Mimi’s jewelry box where Mimi had written her own obit- and listed the date of death as the year she died. This is soooo sad.  Claudia’s mom says that Mimi just couldn’t hold on any longer and she knew her time had come.  Claud’s dad tells her to try to remember the fun things and times Claud had with Mimi.  The family does agree to go through some of her things and Janine hands Claud a pearl pin. Claudia knows she won’t wear it, but she will always keep it because it reminds her of Mimi.

Chapter 14:  Another Saturday, another art class. The kids are making collages. Collages rule.  The kids decide they want to make a big collage mural for their next project. As Claudia goes to get a big bottle of glue, she sees Mrs. Addison there even though class isn’t over for another 15 minutes. Mrs. Addison explains that she and Mr. A got tickets to an ice skating show- FOR THE KIDS! and a BABYSITTER will meet them at the civic center. Nope, these parents can’t even see one stinkin ice show with their  own kids.  The parents want an afternoon to themselves and Claudia is ready to blow as ALL Mr. and Mrs. Addison HAVE are afternoons to themselves!  So Claudia DOES blow!  Claudia pretty much tells Mrs. A how rotten she is, and I know the BSC meddle a lot but in this case I am seriously all for it.  And it WORKS- Mrs. Addison starts to cry!  Mrs. A then says she and Mr. Addison will go to the show with Corrie and Sean!  And Corrie actually gives her collage to her parents. As Corrie leaves with her parents,  Claudia realizes that Mimi gave her the strength to stand up to the Addisons.

Chapter 15:  Claudia has made a tribute to Mimi- a collage.  It includes pics of tea cups, knitting, a Japanese woman holding a baby, and a bunch of charms.  Claudia even has it framed.  Claudia shows it to the BSC and everyone says it’s so beautiful and touching. It really is.  Dawn says it’s Mimi as everyone wants to remember her.  Claudia then shows it to her parents and Janine, who also love the collage.  Claudia says she wants to hang it in Mimi’s room to remember her, and her parents agree.

Last art class-  the kids and Mary Anne don’t let Claudia come downstairs for quite awhile. And then when they do the kids unveil- a collage mural dedicated to Mimi! And the kids didn’t even know about Claud’s collage for Mimi they thought of this on their own!  Claud decides the collage can also go in Mimi’s room.  Corrie then gives Claud a special present- a sketch of Claudia. After Corrie and the others leave, ( Mrs. Addison is ON TIME!) Claudia finally gets out Mimi’s portrait and hangs it in old spot in Claudia’s room. Claudia looks at Mimi’s smiling face, and Claudia smiles back.

Well, kids, I gotta take a few days off just because that book is so incredibly sad and death is a hard topic. But by Friday, I hope, I will get to recap a book on MORE death- the death of Regina Morrow in SVH #40 ” On the Edge.”  Following that, a break from the ” Very Special” – Sleepover Friends #9 No More Sleepovers, Patti? 

Other books to look forward to- BSC #48 Jessi’s Wish, Sweet Valley Twins #69 Won’t Someone Help Anna?, SVH #74 The Perfect Girl, Sweet Valley Twins #3, The Haunted House, and Sleepover Friends #11 Stephanie’s Family Secret.

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