They were characters in Beverly Cleary's children's books. Set in northeast Portland, Oregon, they and their fictional friends, especially Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, lived in a neighborhood not too different than ours, and had experiences much like our own. We loved those books.
We loved how Henry Huggins rode the bus to town and found this hungry, pitiful dog and tried to take the dog home in a box. We loved the story about the guppies and the lesson about how rapidly they multiply. We loved that they looked out for Ramona even though she was a pest, and how they expressed their feelings. We loved it all because we identified. It was like watching ourselves grow up.
When we were on vacation in Portland last summer we went to Grant Park to see the sculptures of Ramona, Henry and Ribsy. It was a warm day and kids were playing in the fountains that are a part of the sculptures. Next door to the park is the Beverly Cleary School, Hollyrood Campus. We also spent a bit of time in the Beverly Cleary children's library in Portland's magnificent Central Library, enjoying a chat with the librarian.
If you've never met Beezus and Ramona, now's your chance. You can see them on the big screen or, better yet, pick up one of Beverly Cleary's delightful stories from your local library.