Maybe it was because she was blue-eyed, bold, and adventuresome, while I, though blue-eyed, was shy and a 'fraidy cat.
Or maybe it was because she had strawberry-blonde hair and my hair, though blonde, was more the color of dishwater.
And she was just so darn smart!
Whatever the reason, the moment I discovered my big sister's old Nancy Drew books when I was a gradeschooler, I was hooked.
I wanted to BE Nancy Drew.
And so I became her.
I spied on my neighbors. I looked for mysterious clues EVERYWHERE. I forced my friends to play Nancy Drew and make up mysteries (I, of course, always got to be Nancy). If I could have morphed my father, an average-looking, financially challenged office manager, into a devilishly handsome, successful lawyer like Nancy's dad, Carson Drew, believe me, I would have.
Sadly, both Nancy Drew and I lost our mothers at an early age: Nancy was but 3; I was almost but not quite 13.
(Nancy, of course, had that motherly housekeeper Hannah Gruen, to bake her cookies and make sure she didn't go too dangerously far in her sleuthing since Daddy Drew was so busy with his successful law practice. I, thankfully, had my big sister, Mary Susan, who never baked me cookies (that I recall) but she did keep me in line since Daddy Dearest spent most of his extracurricular time down at the local tap...but I digress.)
Anyway...my Nancy Drew fantasy kept my tender heart above water during some pretty troubled times back in my early youth. Plus she was just so much fun! I'd spend hours, I'd spend DAYS, lost in the pages of riveting tales like "The Ghost of Blackwood Hall" and "The Clue Of The Velvet Mask."
So you'll never guess what I bought last week at my most favorite hangout -- no, not Walgreens (that's my second favorite hangout) -- Barnes and Noble!
Why, "Nancy Drew's Guide to Life", by Jennifer Worick, of course. It's a loving -- and hilarious, really -- tribute to the young sleuth and her many stylish gumpump pearls of wisdom.
One peek at the inside cover sold me on it:
"Role model? Definitely. Genius? Oh, yeah. Goddess? Probably.
You couldn't have known it then, but all those hours spent reading about Nancy's adventures served you well...For every woman who remembers wishing she could tail a suspicious truck in Nancy smart blue roadster with the rest of the gang, this book is for you."
I just never realized the practical tips and sound advice that hard-working girl detective imparted in every book! And the nifty thing about "Nancy Drew's Guide To Life"?
"Her sage counsel is accompanied by the classic covers and artwork from her yellow-spined books."
Some of my favorite Nancy Drew artwork, however, appeared in the older, blue-covered editions from the 1950s. But that's a moot point, really, in the whole scheme of things.
All in all, I'd have to say that it was Nancy Drew who nudged me to follow my nose for news and become a journalist. And my 25-plus years' experience as a newspaper reporter mirrors the career of a sleuth in many ways. Suffice to say that both Ms. Drew and I have encountered our fair share of cranky crooks...
I also always admired Nancy's relationship skills regarding beaus. She never let her feelings for that handsome college man Ned Nickerson consume her or distract her from sleuthing. Hell, I'm not sure she ever even let him kiss her...yet faithful to Nancy he remained, always showing up in time to escort her to a dance...what a great guy!
Hence, one of my favorite chapters: Dating: A Primer