Claudia Experiences Racism

Here be the recap for BSC #56- Keep Out, Claudia. Or as I would have titled it, ” Claudia and the Kids of the Aryan Nation.” The picture of these kids freaked me out when I was 13 never mind now. What blonde, scary Children of the Corn Kids. Claudia looks fairly fierce, but not as fierce as I would like her to. I do love her side ponytail- I used to rock that a lot when I was about 9- but I have EXTREMELY curly hair- not the best look ever. I used to do a side braid as well.

Chapter 1: Claudia is sitting for the Rodowsky kids. Shea is practicing the piano and keeps saying ” Bullfrogs!” when he hits a wrong note.  Archie, age 4, says he would love to be an entertainer and sing and dance in front of an audience. Jackie says he wishes he could learn to play a musical instrument.  Claudia figures it’s time for the Baby Sitters Club to cook up a musical project for the kids to work on.

Claudia sees Janine when she comes home outside because Janine the genius forgot her house key and is locked out. Claudia and Janine hang out for a few minutes in Claud’s room before the Baby Sitters Club meeting.

Chapter 2:  Blah blah blah BSC character descriptions. Poor Mal isn’t allowed to wear contacts.  Claudia tells the others her idea for a musical project for the kids they sit for. Mal says maybe they can get a big group of kids to perform some type of musical show. We also hear about how Marilyn Arnold plays the piano and other kids take lessons as well, and the girls also say they can make drums out of oatmeal cans.  Stacey gets a call from a new client- Mrs. Lowell. Her children are 8, 6 and 3 years old and Mrs. Lowell got info about the BSC from a flyer.  Mary Anne is the only one who is free to take the initial job at the Lowell residence.

Chapter 3: Mary Anne’s job at the Lowells goes swimmingly. Mary Anne finds the three children so cute and put together. Caitlin, the eight year old, and Mackenzie ( Mackie) the six year old go to private school and have adorable private school uniforms, and Caitlin had on a white dress with a pink pinafore ( not sure what a pinafore is- looks like a smock from the cover).  When Mary Anne gets there, Mrs. Lowell gives her quite the look over, and then smiles.  When Mrs. Lowell leaves Mary Anne alone with the kids, Caitlin asks Mary Anne about her family. Mary Anne mentions having a stepsister and Mackie has no idea what that is. Wow, Mackie is darn sheltered huh? Then Mary Anne talks about her friends and mentions that Mallory has SEVEN brothers and sisters ( book emphasis) and Caitlin says ” they must be Catholic.” At age EIGHT! And Mary Anne thinks nothing of that comment. Then Mackie, a SIX year old, asks Mary Anne what religion she is. If you care, Mary Anne is Presbyterian.  Mary Anne has never encountered kids who ask so many questions. After Mary Anne takes the kids outside for a few games, the kids want to watch some TV and Caitlin says Mom lets them watch ” Leave it to Beaver.” Well, they do have those nice Caucasian values on that show.  Caitlin and Mackie can’t find Leave it to Beaver, but then Mary Anne hears the kids laughing and figures they found the show- no they did not. They are laughing at two Asian kids riding bikes on TV, and Mackie yells ” Look at their eyes” and laughs harder. And Mary Anne thinks nothing of this and doesn’t scold the kids or anything! Even at 13, I didn’t get how Mary Anne didn’t find that one bit weird.  When Mary Anne is done with her job, she rushes to a BSC meeting. Claud announces her GREAT IDEA for the kids- they can all be in a band!!

Chapter 4: Claudia is sitting for Jamie and Lucy Newton.  Claudia asks if Jamie wants to invite the Perkins girls over and Claudia calls the Perkins home and Dawn is sitting, and brings the Perkins girls right over- Jamie is apparently good friends with Myriah and Gabbie.  Stacey then calls Claudia and Stacey says Charlotte wants to go outside, so Claud suggests that Stacey bring over Charlotte and they can all discuss their idea for a band.  Then Mary Anne calls and she is sitting for Mathew and James Hobart ( GOD is ANY Stoneybrook parent home???) and she is going to bring them to the Newton home.  Claudia, Stacey, Dawn and Mary Anne tell the kids about their idea for the band, and all of the kids are very enthusiastic about the idea!  We learn that Mathew plays the violin and Charlotte just started guitar lessons.  Myriah suggests that the band have singers, and she and Gabbie are very good singers. We know, Myriah.  The kids then suggest more band members and before we know it MORE kids are over- Jessi brings Becca over, and Mal brings over Nicky, Margo, Claire and Vanessa.  Mary Anne writes down that they have to call Kristy and the Rodowskys to inform them of their band idea.

Chapter 5:  Claudia is sitting for the Lowells.  When Mrs. Lowell looks Claudia over she looks a little tight lipped and formal and makes Claudia a little uncomfy. Mrs. Lowell isn’t even looking at Claud when she talks to her, and when Mrs. Lowell says to call the next door neighbor in an emergency and says he’s always home Claudia asks if he works from home in the hopes that the neighbor is an artist, and Mrs. Lowell is all snotty and goes ” what does it matter?” God I wanna slap this bitch.  Claudia then decides that Mrs. Lowell doesn’t like her because Claudia is wearing an odd outfit of a long denim vest, purple button down shirt, and leggings. That’s not even a weird Claud outfit!  Claudia thinks maybe Mrs.Lowell only likes preps.  When Caitlin and Mackie get home from school, Caitlin asks ” who is THAT” and Mrs. Lowell says that Claudia is the sitter and to please be nice to her. Yeah Mrs. L teach your kids to be members of the Hitler youth movement, then be all ” oh be nice to the Asian.” I wanna smack Mrs. Lowell again.  Well, Caitlin and Mackie aren’t the angels Mary Anne encountered.  Caitlin and Mackie eat four Oreos each, and when Claudia says that’s enough they say that they will tell their mom Claudia was mean.  Then Caitlin and Mackie run around screaming and they wake Celeste up from her nap.  Mackie and Caitlin say they have to tell Celeste about their new sitter and Claudia thinks that’s fine as it may make Celeste more comfortable when she sees that Mommy is not home.  Claud asks Celeste if she wants a snack and then Caitlin says she wants one too. Claudia tries the reverse psychology Stacey used on the Delaneys in Kristy and the Snobs ( which I have not ever recapped, sorry) and says that if Caitlin and Mackie are that hungry they can eat the whole box of Oreos but that doesn’t work.  Then Claud is saved by the phone ringing and Mary Anne calls and asks if Claudia wants to come over to discuss the band some more especially as Mary Anne thinks the Lowells would want to join.  The Lowells agree to go to the Hobart home.  Of course tons of kids are there for the band practice. When the Lowells get to the Hobart house, Celeste runs to Mary Anne as if Claudia is not even there.  When Claudia later says it’s time to leave Mackie is all whiny but they agree to leave. Caitlin says she wants more Oreos and Claud says no but then Mackie and Celeste sneak grapes. Claudia is glad that job is over.  By the way, Claudia thinks the kids are pills, but still doesn’t see any hints of racism.

Chapter 6:  At a BSC meeting, Mrs. Lowell calls and asks to speak with Kristy. The BSC’ers find this sort of odd, but Kristy takes the phone. It turns out Mrs. Lowell says that she wants ANY sitter but Claudia for the next job.  Kristy asks Claudia if anything odd happened while Claudia was sitting and Claudia says it wasn’t her best job ever, but nothing bad happened- it’s not as if there were any accidents like when they sit at Jackie’s house.  Claudia does says the kids weren’t as sweet to Claud as they were to Mary Anne and she describes what happened.  Claud says maybe Mrs. Lowell didn’t want Claudia taking them out of the house even though Mrs. Lowell never said not to leave the house. Or perhaps the Lowells don’t like the Hobarts. But Mary Anne says the Lowells never met the Hobarts before that day. So Claudia continues to be clueless as to what she could have done to upset Mrs. Lowell.  Well, Jessi is the only one free to sit for the Lowells, and Jessi says maybe she will find out what was wrong with Claud at the job.

Chapter 7: Ya gotta feel bad for Jessi. When she writes her notebook entry, she writes that she had no job at all at the Lowells and is everyone satisfied? Then Jessi says she’s sorry for her tone and she was just upset at what happened when she got to the Lowell home. Jessi tries to do everything right- she put tons of cool toys in her Kid Kit before leaving, she tries to dress ” normally” so to speak and gets there five minutes early so not TOO early. When Jessi gets to the Lowell house, Mrs. Lowell answers the door, takes one look at Jessi, and says ” we don’t need a sitter” bye and FUCKING SLAMS THE DOOR RIGHT IN JESSI’S FACE!!!! Jessi is heartbroken and has no idea what the hell happened. Seriously what the fuck kind of person does this crap to a CHILD? OK let me slap Mrs. Denise Lowell ONCE MORE!  Jessi does have a weird feeling all of a sudden.  Jessi then says at the BSC meeting that maybe Mrs. Lowell really didn’t need a sitter, but Kristy is not really buying this.  Mary Anne is going to sit for the Lowells next week, so she will try to see what is going on. Yep, the girls still really aren’t getting it ( though I sort of think Kristy and Jessi have an idea).

Chapter 8:  Claud is sitting for the Rodowsky boys, and Jackie says the band needs a name as all good bands have names.  Jackie decides on All the Children as in ” All the Children of the World” because the kids are different ages and different colors. Claudia says the rest of the band can vote on the name to see if they like it.  Claud and the boys head for the Newton residence where the band is going to rehearse as those nice Newtons allowed this.  The kids all love the name All the Children for the band.  The kids also decide they want to put on a real show for an audience at some point, and they can sing all the songs from the musical ” Annie” for the show!!

Chapter 9-oh!! Kristy goes to sit for the Lowells to replace Mary Anne, as Kristy wants to get to the bottom of what is up with the Lowell house. Kristy calls Mrs. Lowell ahead of time, and Mrs. Lowell is OK with Kristy coming to the house.  Kristy even puts on a skirt and white button down blouse to sit at the Lowells so that Mrs. Lowell can’t criticize her outfit. Kristy asks Mrs. Lowell if she’s been satisfied with the BSC. Mrs Lowell says the kids love Mary Anne, and that is why she didn’t want Claud to sit again.  As Kristy is going to ask about Jessi, Mrs. Lowell calls out to the kids who have just arrived home.  Kristy asks Caitlin, Mackie and Celeste why the kids haven’t been to any band rehearsals. Caitlin says her mom wants to know all of the kids who will be there and Kristy feels that sounds reasonable as her mom likes to know all the kids her younger sibs play with ( so at 13, Mrs. Brewer doesn’t care who Kristy hangs out with????)  Kristy asks how the kids like the other sitters and Caitlin says she loved Mary Anne. Then Kristy asks about Claud, and Max calls her ” funny looking” and Kristy thinks maybe Claud did look too wild for her kids. Then Kristy mentions that another girl came over to sit one time but Mrs. Lowell didn’t let her in.  Caitlin asks what Jessi looked like and Kristy says Jessi has pulled back hair, long legs and is black- and then Caitlin starts coughing real loud and then what Kristy swears Caitlin said is ” I guess that’s why Mommy didn’t like her.”  And Caitlin says this scornfully.  Kristy can’t stop thinking about the Lowells, so she asks her mom if she can talk privately to Watson, her mom and Nannie after dinner. Kristy talks to the adults of the house and tell her about the Lowells, and Kristy’s mom does say it seems clear that the Lowells are prejudiced, sad as it may be. Nannie says that she thought that with each generation racism would decrease, and things don’t even seem any better. I liked Nannie’s point here this is a good scene in the book as Kristy finally realizes the Lowells are prejudiced.

Chapter 10: Another BSC meeting.  Kristy says that after talking to her mom, stepdad and Nannie the night before, Kristy has realized the Lowells are racist. Claudia is shocked and says ” why me why does she hate me because I am Asian?” Claudia then becomes sort of a bitch because she asks Jessi why she isn’t more outraged,  and Jessi says it’s happened to her before, and  Claudia says ” well not to ME!!!” Well, excuse me Claud like you shouldn’t be judged but oh Jessi was before la di dah. Or maybe I am reading too much into it. Claudia says she doesn’t understand this  prejudiced, and that she is just like anyone else, and Mary Anne says prejudice is not rational or logical. Kristy says that Nannie says things aren’t even getting better,and Mal says things used to be worse- African Americans used to be slaves, and during the Holocaust Jews and Catholics were killed. And Dawn mentions how skinheads and Klansmen are still around, and friggin Claud had NEVER heard of the Klan- I know Claud is a bad student but she NEVER heard of the KKK??  Claudia is feeling shame, anger and guilt at this point.  Then Mrs. Lowell calls- and asks for the blonde haired, blue eyed sitter she heard about!! So shit not even Kristy and Mary Anne are good enough!!!  Kristy didn’t even know what to say but then she calls Mrs Lowell back and I love this- Kristy says they are out of blonde haired, blue eyed sitters but they have a great boy baby sitter who can sit- and Mrs. Lowell was apparently all ” boys don’t baby sit”- the fuck?? Then Kristy says that she MAY be free, but then she may have to baby sit her 2 year old Vietnamese sister- and then Mrs. Lowell all of a sudden doesn’t need a sitter any more!!! OMFG!!!  Later on, Claudia tells Mr. Kishi that the Lowells don’t want her sitting for them just because she’s Asian. Claudia asks her dad what is wrong with being Asian and Mr. Kishi says nothing and he is sorry someone made her feel that way.  Janine then talks about how during WW II the Americans put Japanese people in internment camps, and Claudia can’t believe it. I do have to thank Ann M for having me learn about that awful chapter in our history by the way.  Claudia wonders why it’s so important what people look like on the outside, and Mr. Kishi says that what matters is that Claudia can look underneath.

Chapter 11:  The chapter where all of a sudden tons of little kids have heard of “Fiddler on the Roof ” ( I had NEVER heard of it until this book and I was in eighth grade when I read this) and Jackie suggests that the kids do Fiddler on the Roof instead of Annie for the music for the show. All of the kids think it’s a  great idea. I just don’t see where Fiddler on the Roof has any appeal for kids, but as we see it’s to make a point. Mrs. Lowell brings her spawn to rehearse with the band but first ignores every BSC member but Dawn and asks her what is going on. Dawn says that Claudia is the one running this and not her, and Mrs. Lowell has to speak to Claud. HAH HAH MRS BITCH!  Mrs. Lowell asks what songs the kids are learning and when Claudia says ” Fiddler on the Roof” and Mrs. Lowell gets all pissy and tells the kids they have to go home now as poor Celeste cries that she wants to be in the band. God to me teaching kids to be this prejudiced is CHILD ABUSE I am sorry!  Claudia wants to cry and is then concerned other parents may be against the music they will perform, and Mary Anne then says that other parents took their kids to see this and she doubts any of their regular clients will have issues with the music at all.

Chapter 12:  Claudia is sitting at the Brewer/ Thomas house and thanks to fuckin KAREN BREWER Claudia realizes that the band will be fun and the kids love it. UGH why should Karen have to make Claudia see all this??  Karen, of course, wants to run the show after she gets the idea to have some kids over to rehearse. David Michael asks why Karen always has to be the boss and she brattily replies ” because it was my idea.” Now I want to smack Karen but that is nothing new.  Karen says the kids in the band need uniforms, perhaps t-shirt that says All the Children. Nancy Dawes suggests that the kids all wear red shirts and blue jeans as she bets everyone owns those. Linny says that maybe the kids could get t-shirts that say All the Children, and Karen suggests that they ask for donations for the t-shirts for the first band concert so every kid could get an All the Children t-shirt.

Chapter 13:  The BSC is having a pizza supper and luckily Kristy takes over writing the invites when she sees Claud is spelling everything totally wrong. Claud gets to decorate all of the invites for parents to go to the band concert.  Six days later, the first dress rehearsal of All the Children is under way.  Jackie gets way too long winded as the emcee for the concert and Claire Pike has a tantrum but overall the rehearsal goes OK.  Claudia talks to Jackie after rehearsal to tell him to make his opening speech shorter, and not to beg for donations and to tell people they didn’t pay for the show, so donate the money as that is not a great idea. Claud tells Jackie to use his common sense and flatter the audience, and Jackie says ” I think I was born without common sense” which is pretty funny.

Chapter 14:  The Lowells are unfinished business and the girls all wonder what to do about the Lowells during this club meeting.  Claud says that next time Mrs. Lowell calls to simply say the BSC doesn’t sit for bigots and Kristy says “oh we can’t say THAT!” and I say ( and I believe BSC snarker may have also said this) why not? Simply say every girl gets a chance at the job, and the BSC will not work with people who have racist ideas and treat certain club members worse than others. I don’t see what is wrong in saying that. I guess Kristy feels it would make the BSC look bad. And I was liking Kristy until now.  Jessi then suggest that when Mrs. Lowell calls, to say that no one can take the job and if they do that a few times Mrs. L may finally get the hint.  Claud says that no one will learn anything that way and Jessi says that’s true but what they can do is be good role models for all the kids they sit for by treating all people  the same no matter what.  Mal has also said that the BSC should teach the Lowells not to be prejudiced or whatever or else it will be the BSC’s fault the Lowell kids are racist. Claudia smartly says that if the Lowells grow up that way, it will be Mrs and Mr. Lowell’s fault NOT the BSC’s. Also, Mary Anne says maybe one day the Lowell kids will see their parents are wrong. I can only hope. I do feel this chapter was written well- it does teach kids who are like 8, 9 , 10 years old that prejudice is wrong, and the book in a whole does teach kids about how racism still exists, but in a manner they will get.

Chapter 15:  BAND CONCERT DAY! And the band is great and the kids get plenty of money for matching t-shirts. Of course, we never hear that the band does another concert after this. And every parent loved the show despite Claud’s fears.  Claudia spots Caitlin and Mackie watching the band and you could see they wish they were in it.  Claud says maybe the Lowell kids don’t really have those beliefs and just repeat what their parents say, and Jessi says that could be true. I am glad that the book didn’t have Caitlin and Mackie run over there and say they were wrong, or that Mrs.  Lowell suddenly apologizes to Claud and Jessi because much as I wanted that ending at age 13, it wouldn’t have been realistic.  Jackie then runs to Claud and asks how he did, and Claudia says Jackie and the band were fantastic, and Claudia hugs Jackie as Jackie says ” Thank you.” THE END And I must say I love Jackie Rodowsky. And Jamie Newton. I am a big Hannie Papadakis fan too. Just so you know.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to recap SVH  #74 The Perfect Girl which I read BUTTLOADS of times when I was 16- yes I read SVH and loved it at age 16- well at least I loved this book. It’s the last installment in the Very Special, and it’s about Robin Wilson having an eating disorder. So stay tuned. Thursday if I don’t recap the SVH book tomorrow I will do it Thursday, but I am hoping to recap a BSC Little Sister book instead.  After that, look for upcoming recaps of Freshman Dorm 32 Freshman Suspect, ” Little Miss Stoneybrook… and Dawn”  ” Kristy’s Great Idea” and more Fabulous Five and Taffy Sinclair fun!

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3 Responses to “Claudia Experiences Racism”

  1. hatcitynikki Says:

    I also learned about the WWII Japanese internment camps from this book. I wonder how many other people did, too!

  2. Yeah, I thought the Fiddler on the Roof thing was weird. It comes up a lot in BSC books, and kids seem to like it even though I only watched it this year. Annie, yeah…but Fiddler?

    Also I loved the “blonde haired, blue eyed” line. Who talks like that? I love how all the racists walk around with the equivalent of “I’m a BIGOT!” t shirts on.

  3. girltalkread Says:

    Sadako- yeah it’s not as if racists are usually that blunt about it. I found that odd even when I was a kid that Ann M would have to make it sooo obvious- but in Hello Mallory those girls were also obvious racists. I guess Ann M likes her racism to be VERY in your face.
    And yeah I never heard of Fiddler on the Roof until I read this book- and I was in 7th grade by then!

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