SPIES and angels

Once I read a book about a girl who wants to know everything about everybody. See Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy (New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1964) . And she finds out by spying. Each day Harriet goes through her neighborhood, peeking in windows and around corners; then she writes down what she sees in a secret notebook. Harriet starts spying when she's eight years old, and by the time she's eleven, she has filled nearly fifteen notebooks.

When Harriet doesn't know for sure what somebody's like, she guesses. Lots of times she guesses wrong. And she writes some pretty awful things about people too.

Every now and then I've done Harriet's kind of spying. In the lunchroom or on the bus I watch people and make up stories about them. It can be fun to guess what people do, where they come from, what their families and friends are like.

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December 10, 1984

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