A Blast from the Past

June 27, 2016

Back in 2002, the hero of my childhood died. I didn't know it. I was actually right in the middle of my obsession period, never thinking about the name assigned to the books I was reading or that the author was a real person - with a life and family and, tragically, a date and time of death. All I knew was that I wanted to be Nancy Drew, and together with George and Bess I would solve crimes and be adorable with perfect hair and an awesome convertible.

I now own a car the same color as Nancy's, actually. But that's beside the point.

My mother passed the love of Nancy Drew down. I will hopefully pass it down to my daughter(s) someday. The series let me escape the often boring day-to-day grind of school and school and school. I remember reading one of the books by candlelight while I was sick, hacking up a storm and nearly blowing the candle out (You may wonder why I had a candle, we didn't have electricity at the time). Nancy got me through colds and the flu. Her clever sleuthing stories were the only books, to date, that actually got me up out of my chair. You could find me pacing in an agitated manner before falling back down to read more.

Oh, and Nancy Drew inspired me to be a writer.

It was really this lady who did it all, because she created Nancy. Any Drew buff knows that the series had many authors, but this is the lady that started Nancy as we all know and love her, Mildred Wirt Benson:

Mildred created Nancy, and Nancy was my life.

I've been thinking about Nancy Drew a lot lately. Also about Mildred, who quite literally passed away in her work boots. Mildred was a feminist before feminism was cool, inspiring girls like me to be all that we could be. Characters these days have nothing on Nancy Drew. They are all "flawed" and "relateable." Nancy was perfect and that was okay. We didn't want to identify with her, we wanted to be her. The industry changed a lot since Mildred's day, but thankfully her character still holds a huge spot in our hearts.

It is my goal in life to own the original 30 Nancy Drew books (and the others, too!). Possibly the versions with the pink binding. Possibly not. But they are definitely in my imaginary library, right next to the Chronicles of Narnia as a hugely influential series from my childhood.

Here's a hug for all of you who loved Nancy. It is a clear testament to the power of the writing craft when a character stays with you for so many years, and she'll continue to be a major influence for years to come!