I guess this post will mainly be relevant to the females out there, since it concerns Judy Blume, but hey, guys, feel free to chime in as well.
Recently, I got to reminiscing about the old books I used to read when I was a pre-teen ("tween"), like Beverly Cleary and, of course, Judy Blume, so I went online and ordered up a few books to see if the books were still like I remembered them. This past weekend I read a few of them. (They're super short, so can be read in about an hour, even while watching COPS!)
Then Again, Maybe I Won't, the book about adolescent boys that taught me about wet dreams, is still pretty good, though likely tame by today's standards. I don't read a lot of other adolescent literature these days, but it seems that most main characters wouldn't have severe stomach pains because their friend was shoplifting. Whatever.
The most transformative Judy Blume book for me, and for a lot of girls, I think, at least back in the 80s, was Are You There, God, It's Me, Margaret?, despite its annoyingly long title. Cutting to the chase, it walked girls through the "getting a bra" experience and the "getting your first period" experience. One of the most salient and baffling features of the original book, I recall, was that when Margaret bought "practice" supplies so she would be prepared for her first period, she bought pads, of course, but then she had to buy A BELT to put them on.
Now, I was born in 1976, and by the time I read this book I was familiar with what the sanitary supplies under our bathroom sink consisted of: Tampax, pantiliners, some Kotex pads. I had a mom, I had an older sister. I was fairly certain there was no belt involved. No belt, no suspenders, braces, chains, rubber bands. I was baffled. I was also a little jealous because, according to Margaret, you could get them in pink or purple.
Anyway, that was always one of the parts of the book that stuck with me.
So, I was shocked when I got to the part in the book where Margaret gets her stuff from the drugstore and there is NO MENTION of a belt. Just pads. Judy Blume at some point updated the book and replaced the belt part with the typical, modern adhesive pad. I don't know why, but it made me a little sad. AYT,G,IM,M was kind of like a historical document for me. Dated, sure, but still it seemed pretty perfect just the way it was.
Bring back the belt!