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Nancy Drew-role model

December 3, 2009

It is hard to believe that I haven’t written since Halloween. I’ve been so busy with work not to mention the usual holiday madness but I wanted to take a moment and write on a subject that is close to my heart. I went to my Sister’s for Thanksgiving weekend and found that my Brother-in-law had unearthed a box containing my old Nancy Drew books. Lifting the flaps of this old cardboard box felt like opening a cask of golden treasure. I immediately pulled them out and spread them on the bed to admire them. Such memories came flooding back to me. All the mystery and excitement that would fill me each time my Mother came home with a new story. My cousin Cindy and I were so obsessed that we spent many summers completely role playing and seeking out mysteries in our stubbornly uneventful town. I put my books in numerical order to find that many were missing, either lost or never even read so I began a quest on ebay to fill in the missing gaps. Naturally I had to have the ones with the covers from my era: not the original ones from the 1930’s nor the mod ones from the 1970’s but the ones in between from the late 1950’s. Those are the covers that filled me with anticipation and even inspired me artistically. I’ve also gone on to research the history of Nancy Drew and Carolyn Keene the nom de plume of several authors. I am also eager to read the book Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the women who created her, Melanie Rehak which I just purchased. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by all the criticism out there about the character being so perfect in every way etc. Having re-read a few of them recently though I feel obliged to defend her reputation. Yes, she was always mature, considerate, calm, compassionate. She was always striving to help others who were less fortunate than herself and never accepted money for her efforts. In other words she was perfect. But aren’t they qualities we would want to take on ourselves? Isn’t the character of Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote  (another of my idols) a mature version of the same person? How many times have I faced a problem and asked myself “What would Jessica Fletcher do in this situation?” the same way  as a young person I would  put myself in Nancy Drew’s mind. Of course I recognize that the stories are dated and often reflect some of the racist, sexist and classist beliefs of the day. Over all I admit that I still admire her and recognize what a positive influence she was on me and how she made me believe that as a woman I could be educated and independent; thoughts that were just taking hold in my generation growing up in the 1960’s.     

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary Billman permalink
    May 8, 2013 4:34 am

    Dear Lisa, This is the first time I am reading your blog. You are SO talented & beautiful. I really enjoy your Christmas cards and love your dog book. Wish I had the one on cats. Is it on Etsy? I don’t put anything on facebook-Nada! I do enjoy reading, looking. I noticed in your cabinet, you have 2 pysanky eggs. I took a course on making them when I was in PA. It is so darn difficult. My mother’s went to Linda, as did everything else. I may get up the nerve to ask Joe if Aunt Mary had any and if he has them. Did you know Marlene died? She had a “private, family only service” – even Joe wasn’t included. He was hurt. I think his brother wouuld have bee upset. I too loved Nancy Drew. I went to the Library as much as I could. When I was young, there were only about 8. Meredith has a set, probably in my attic.The pictures Karen post of Gianna are beautiful. Such a proud mother. If you decide to do human portraits, I’d love my Grands. Hayden will be 13 this month, Owen 11. Cynthia’s boys are 81/2, almost 5 and 3. I was up there March and 4 days in April. I think we should all get together. Bud has Hodgkins, Bob Zador is div/remarried and living in MT. Meredith is doing well. Very busy with her job at Samaratan’s Purse and also active in her church. Write to me on email or call. I talk better than I write. Love you my little cousin.
    Mary

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