Why don’t you turn on the dawnzer?

12 Apr


Beverly Cleary turns 100 today.

It is hard to believe that this woman wrote books that I liked as a kid, and my students still enjoy.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I like to quote Ramona. So, for this Slice of Life post, I will share my favorite Ramona quotes, in no particular order

  1. “Why don’t you turn on the dawnzer?” – Ramona, thinking she was quite smart, thigh that dawnzer was a synonym for lamp. She learned it in the national anthem: “Oh say, can you see, by the dawnzer lee light.” Brilliant!
  2. “Sit here for the present.” Ramona’s teacher says this to her on the first day of school. Ramona follows her directions perfectly, expecting a present for doing so. I like to say this to kids and I snicker when I do. I think they think I am crazy.
  3. “Pieface!” Mrs Swink, an elderly neighbor, and Ramona call each other this in a good-natured way.
  4. “I am too  a Merry Sunshine.” Ramon says this when she is accused of not being one. You can imagine the tone f voice she used when saying this.

I am lucky to live in Portland, where the Ramona series is set. My local public library is right in Ramona’s neighborhood, and has a huge map on the wall of all the places Cleary mentions in her book. You can get a walking tour map from the librarians and take yourself on a tour of the neighborhood.


There really is a Klickitat street.


Grant Park, has a statue garden with Clearly characters.




So, on this auspicious day, I hope you turn on a dawnzer, do something for the present, and shout “Pieface!” at someone you love.

16 Responses to “Why don’t you turn on the dawnzer?”

  1. romeolitcoach April 12, 2016 at 5:38 am #

    What a fun slice of life! I too love Beverly Cleary and faithfully read Beezus and Ramona as well as Mouse and the Motorcycle to my students each year. I would love to come to take the walking tour- if I ever make it to that part of the country I will check it out. Enjoy Beverly’s birthday Pieface!

  2. franmcveigh April 12, 2016 at 5:39 am #

    Thanks so much for the scenes from Portland and for your favorite quotes! More ways to honor our favorite authors! ❤

  3. jarhartz April 12, 2016 at 6:42 am #

    I think of Cleary whenever I have students misinterpret lines of songs! The dawnser is a lovely light. Thank you for these quotes to start my day.

  4. blkdrama April 12, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    Happy Birthday Bev, from Nyack!!!!! Screaming it out my window!!!

  5. arjeha April 12, 2016 at 7:53 am #

    What a fun post and great pictures. Happy Birthday Beverly.

  6. Kim Yaris April 12, 2016 at 8:06 am #

    This was like a trip down memory lane, but better because I didn’t realize that the setting for the Ramona books was real. I LOVE Ramona and wish Beverly Cleary a very happy hundredth and thank her for the hours and hours of enjoyment she brought me (and many of my former students)!

  7. Ramona April 12, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    Love seeing the fun pics and favorite quotes from the Ramona books! I’m definitely taking the walking tour the next time I visit Portland. So fun that we both celebrated BC’s birthday today.

  8. Christine Baldiga April 12, 2016 at 8:23 am #

    Thank you for letting us know about the birthday today! And thanks for the local connection. I would love to visit that park and do the walking tour one day!

  9. 3011mileswestofvt April 12, 2016 at 8:26 am #

    Love love this. It makes me so homesick for the streets of my childhood, mere blocks from Klickitat street. One of the best firld trips of my first grade teaching years was taking a group of rural kids to the big city, where the children’s library nestled among skyscrapers had the name of the author who’s books we loved so well. We had lunch among the statues of our favorite characters. Beverly Cleary captured the essence of the childhood in us all.

  10. terierrol April 12, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    I loved reading about BC and your connections to it. She is an inspiration to us all!

  11. Cheriee Weichel April 12, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    I love Portland anyway, but you have given me another reason to visit!

  12. Lisa Orchard April 12, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    I loved Beverly Cleary’s books! I hope I find as much success as she did! 🙂

  13. Joanne Toft April 12, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

    What fun! I love the pictures from the park! I also loved teaching from Cleary’s books! They are just fun to read!

  14. joann hulquist April 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    So my good friend and former teaching partner, Anna, lives in the old Barnes Mansion which Beverly Cleary used as the model in one of her books (details escape me right now). When I taught 3rd grade, we did that walking field trip and we stopped at Anna’s where she would have Popsicles waiting for us to eat on her front lawn.

    Love the memories!

    Joann Hulquist Principal, William Walker Elem. School 503-356-2520 (W) 503-803-3621 (C)


    • Adrienne April 12, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

      I took my niece many years ago. It is such a fun neighborhood!

  15. Brian Rozinsky April 12, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

    Excellent remembered words and shared pictures, celebrating an ageless author. Thanks for pulling these pieces together on this day.

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