A Betsy-Tacy Addendum: I Was Wrong about the Hookah!

In my post on Maud Hart Lovelace’s autobiographical Betsy-Tacy books, I made an error about a hookah. During our long-ago trip to Mankato (Lovelace’s hometown), a  Betsty-Tacy fan insisted that a Syrian immigrant smoked hashish in Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill.

I wrote, “May I say that I don’t remember this at all, and cannot imagine Lovelace using the word ‘hookah. He was probably smoking tobacco. Where would an impoverished Syrian immigrant get hashish in Deep Valley, Minnesota?”

This morning I checked the chapter called “Little Syria” in my copy of Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Hill.  And there is a hookah!

2 thoughts on “A Betsy-Tacy Addendum: I Was Wrong about the Hookah!”

  1. When are the Betsy-Tacy books set? Until 1937 hashish was legal in the USA, it seems, so the Syrian could have smoked it. Given the amount of tobacco a hookah takes it’s unlikely an impoverished immigrant could have afforded to use one!

    1. The books are set roughly from the turn of the 20th century to the end of World War I. And so hashish was available in Deep Valley! IN Little Syria, Betsy and Tacy are told that Americans call it a “hubble-bubble pipe.”

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