"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Sunday, February 26, 2012


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 my dad spent most of his extracurricular time down at the local tap after my mom died...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 imagine my delight this past Christmas when my darling big Sis gave me a Nancy Drew Secret Of The Old Clock writing journal!  The Secret Of The Old Clock was the very first Nancy Drew mystery published, and the journal includes a handful of pages from the book interspersed between the blank pages offering ample space for writing.

I started carrying the journal in my purse about a month ago, just in case, I suppose, I was suddenly struck with a great idea on which to pontificate during the day. 

The last Nancy Drew book I carried with me was called "Nancy Drew's Guide to Life", by Jennifer Worick, one of those tiny gift books one finds at my preferred home away from home, Barnes and Noble.  The guide is a loving -- and hilarious -- tribute to the young sleuth. 

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."


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 many years' experience as a newspaper reporter mirrors the career of a sleuth in many ways. Suffice to say that both Ms. Drew and I encountered our fair share of cranky crooks along our career paths.

So, for all you lifelong Nancy Drew fans out there, I leave you this Sunday night with a fun sampling of the teenage sleuth's stylish pearls of gumpump (as opposed to gumshoe) wisdom.

Survival Strategies:
Moxie and a good sense of balance are essential when crawling on a roof ~ from The Hidden Staircase

When bound and gagged, you can still tap out HELP in Morse code to attract attention ~ from The Clue of the Tapping Heels

If you hear the telltale sounds of a helicopter, step away from a blaze in the fireplace. The copter might send a downdraft into the chimney and shower sparks all over your sleek coif. ~ from The Mystery of the 99 Steps

Dating: A Primer
Make your date work for you-- send him on B-level errands you can't seem to fit into your busy schedule. The Clue in the Diary

A forceful and skilled dance partner will make you forget everything on your mind. ~ The Clue of the Velvet Mask

Ned Nickerson and Nancy Drew
If a guy's hunch results in a dead-end, don't flaunt your better judgement and intuition in front of him. Smirk secretly to yourself. ~ The Phantom of Pine Hill

After receiving an electrical shock to the system, find as many men as possible to vigorously massage you. ~ Mystery of the Glowing Eye

Hmmm...I wonder how Nancy's beau, Ned Nickerson, feels about that last pearl?

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