Before Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda there were Kristy, Claudia, Dawn and Stacey.
It’s been 30 years (yes, 30 years) since the legendary Ann M. Martin first released ‘Kristy’s Great Idea’, the first book in the series that spawned a generation of responsible teenage book-keepers.
Thanks to The Baby-Sitters Club, we laughed, we cried, and we all thought babysitting was a totally normal thing to do at 13.
1. Be like Claudia.
Claudia taught us that being different is a virtue, not a vice.
She had a wacky and sophisticated sense of style, wore her ponytail sideways and was really close to her grandma. Somehow this was not only socially acceptable, it was aspirational.
“Claudia was the ultimate cool girl. Mainly because she ate heaps of junk food and had a phone in her room,” one staffer says.
— Jen Day-ngerous (@jjday10) July 20, 2016
2. You can totally run a business at age 13.
Move over, Zuckerberg — Kristy was punching the numbers and coming up with ideas long before “start-up” was a thing.
“I feel like The Baby-Sitters Club is the full extent of my knowledge about running a business,” one Mamamia staffer admits.
Watch: The one book charity stores about being inundated with. (Post continues after video.)
3. Book-keeping is a skill for life.
Reading the books, we all wanted to conduct meetings out of our bedrooms and had dreams of becoming millionaires.
“[BSC] was my first lesson in governance and meeting procedure. Something I now pride myself at being an expert on,” one writer says.
4. Being divisive is OK (hello, Mary-Anne).
If the people love and loathe you, it must mean you’re doing something right, because you’re getting their attention. (Am I right, Hillary?)
“Mary-Anne is probably my spirit animal… except when she got the page-boy haircut,” one staffer admitted.
“I always felt the author hated Mary-Anne. The others were sunning in hot bikinis on the beach while Mary-Anne was covered head to toe in sunscreen, a large hat and a kaftan. Poor Mary-Anne,” another added.
Fact: Mary-Anne was actually based on the author, Ann Martin.
5. The power of long, blonde hair.
Sure, Dawn was kind of one-dimensional — but we aspired to look like her. The enduring image of an attractive blonde will never die. “I liked Dawn because I always wanted long blonde hair. I remember nothing else about her,” one MM writer says.
Dawn was played by Larisa Oleynik, i.e. Alex Mack, in the BSC movie. Image: Columbia Pictures.
6. Suburbia is only what you make of it.
BSC really put Stonybrook, Connecticut on the map, portraying it as some sort of utopian Pleasantville.
"I moved to Connecticut when I was nine and was so excited because it's where BSC was, I legit thought I was going to meet them and be a part of their crew," one writer says.
Here's the truth about suburbia: one day you will graduate college and move to the big smoke, where you will pay tens of thousands of dollars to live in a studio apartment above a kebab shop. Instead of sunlight, truck fumes will seep through your windows, and your only companion for the first year will be the cat you adopted off the street.
The white picket fence doesn't seem so bad after all.
Listen: Mamamia's Book Club discusses Big Little Lies. (Post continues after.)
7. Before binge-watching, there was the BSC.
And before the omnipresent glow of the iPad, there was the incessant flicking of pages — something we try to pass onto our children, to no avail.
"I remember the excitement of graduating from the 'Little Sister' books to the real thing," one MM staffer says.
"I was sooooo desperate to read Baby-Sitters Club when I was a kid my mum made a rule that I had to read two 'real' books for every BSC book I wanted to read," another recalls.
8. No one forgets an unusual name.
And they often go on to become famous, so take heart Apple Martin — there are big things in store for you.
"Mallory is an odd name that I've never come across since, except in the West Wing."
9. Don't ever give up on what you believe in.
Kristy Thomas was basically Hillary Clinton, and taught us to never give up.