Wednesday, May 29, 2002

It probably sounds very silly, but Carolyn Keene/Mildred Wirt Benson completely encouraged me to be an independent thinker when I was a kid. I totally idolized Nancy Drew (but maybe I had a crush on George? That would be so baby dyke of me) and even when I was too little to really understand such things, I was absolutely taken with the way she did everything she wanted to do even when people (read: men, Carson Drew and Ned Nickerson) told her to do otherwise. I don't know if my mom realized she was creating a feminist monster by giving me those books, but I'm glad she did it. I can give incredibly detailed plot descriptions of #1-#38 of the original series (well, a few of those I read when they were re-released in the second #1-#34 series w/yellow hardcovers). Actually, I think it's possible I have The Secret of the Old Clock, The Secret of Shadow Ranch, and The Secret of Red Gate Farm memorized (and damn the new publishers for completely re-writing the plots of these books when they moved to paperback). A lot of my original books have big, orange, splotchy stains on the pages because on Saturday evenings we were allowed to read at the dinner table, and invariably, the book I had propped around the edges of my plate would flop over on top of my pizza.

The Secret of Red Gate Farm is the first book I really remember taking place during the Depression, and it's (unfortunately) the first place I really remember running across the "Asian spy" stereotype. I spent a lot of time thinking about the "bad guy" characters in those days, and how the author made someone bad with just a few descriptive words (cousin Edgar in Nancy's Mysterious Letter is a good example of how a bad guy can be created with just a mention of his eyes and his raincoat).

The Sky Phantom was the last Nancy Drew book I bought, l was in the fourth grade, and my mom let me buy it for our trip out to the ocean. So, that would have been... spring of 1977. When my mom was still working in antiques, she kept collecting the original series for me, and is still holding on to them for me.

I so want a roadster.

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