A Memoir on My Childhood Literary Experiences

Pictures, stories, and family and friends all have a way of reminding me of my childhood, but nothing can resurface the memories of childhood more than the bright yellow cover of a Nancy Drew book. In fact, my love for reading as a child is so closely connected to how I changed through reading all sixty-four Nancy Drew books that the only way to truly tell my memoir is to share with you the magic that is within the pages of those bright yellow books themselves.

 

Chapter 1: The Rescue

Nancy Drew, an attractive girl of eighteen, was driving home along a country road in her new, dark-blue convertible. She had just delivered some legal papers for her father.

“It was sweet of Dad to give me this car for my birthday,” she thought. “And it’s fun to help him in his work.”

Her father, Carson Drew, a well-known lawyer in their hometown of River Heights, frequently discussed puzzling aspects of cases with his blond, blue-eyed daughter.

Smiling, Nancy said to herself, “Dad depends on my intuition.”

An instant later she gasped in horror. From the lawn of a house just ahead of her a little girl about five years of age had darted into the roadway…

“Oh my goodness!” Nancy cried out, slamming on her brakes. She had visions of the child plunging into the water below, perhaps striking her head fatally on a rock…

Gently, Nancy lifted the girl, and holding her firmly in both arms, struggled to the top of the embankment. Then she hurried across the road and up the driveway to the child’s house.

“I’ll call the police,” said Nancy. “Oh dear!” [the child’s aunt] said woefully. “Our phone is out of order.”

“Then I’ll try to catch up to the van!” Nancy declared… With a hasty good-bye Nancy dashed from the house and ran to her car.

Chapter 2: A Missing Will

“I wonder,” Nancy thought, “if a way can’t be found [to solve this case], I’ll ask Dad.”

Five minutes later Nancy pulled into the double garage and hurried across the lawn to the kitchen door of the Drews’ large red-brick house. The building stood well back from the street, and was surrounded by tall, beautiful trees.

“Hello, Nancy,” greeted the pleasant, slightly plump woman who opened the door. She was Hannah Gruen, housekeeper for the Drews, who had helped rear Nancy since the death of the girl’s own mother many years before.

Nancy gave her a hug, then asked, “Dad home? I see his car is in the garage.”

“Your father’s in the living room and dinner will be ready in a few minutes.”

Nancy went to say hello to her tall, handsome father, then hurried to wash her hands and comb her hair before the three who formed the Drew household sat down to dinner. During the meal Nancy related to her adventure of the afternoon.

 

 Chapter 9: Helpful Disclosures

Nancy watched Abby Rowen intently as the mantel clock finished striking. The elderly woman’s lips had begun to move.

“The clock!” she whispered. “That was it! The clock!”

Nancy gripped the arms of her chair in excitement. “Josiah Crowley hid the will in a clock?” she prompted.

“No-no, it wasn’t that,” Abby murmured, sighing again. “I know Josiah said something about a clock, but whatever it was has slipped my mind.”

Silence descended over the room. Nancy was wondering what connection the timepiece could have with the missing will. Mrs. Rowen was staring at the clock, evidently still trying to probe her memory.

Suddenly she gave a low cry. “There! It came to me just like that!”… “A notebook!” Abby exclaimed triumphantly.

Nancy’s heart gave a leap, but she forced herself to say calmly, “Please tell me more about this notebook.”

 

Chapter 20: A Happy Finale

“We think you have earned this heirloom, Nancy, and somehow Grace and I feel Mr. Crowley would want you to have it.”

“Why, thank you,” said Nancy. She was thrilled, and gazed meditatively at the old clock. Though quaint, it was not handsome, she thought. But for her it certainly held a special significance. She was too modest to explain to Allison and Grace why she would prize the heirloom, and besides, her feeling was something she could not put into words. Actually she had become attached to the clock because of its association with her recent adventure.

“This is the first mystery I’ve solved alone,” she thought. “I wonder if I’ll ever have another one half so thrilling.”

As Nancy stood looking wistfully at the old clock she dreamed that in the near future she would be involved in the The Hidden Staircase mystery, a far more baffling case than the one she had just solved. But somehow, as Nancy gazed at the timepiece, she sensed that exciting days were soon to come.

Nancy ceased daydreaming as the clock was handed to her and looked at the Hoover girls. “I’ll always prize this clock as a trophy of my first Venture as a detective,” she said with a broad smile.

The End

Chapter 1: The Collection

Emily Petersen, a cute girl of seven, was riding along a highway road with her Mom in their family minivan. She had just finished shopping with her Mom.

“It is nice of Mom to drive me to the library every week,” she thought. “And it’s fun to go shopping with her before.”

Her mother, Kathy Petersen, a well-known community member and school volunteer in Columbia, frequently walked the aisles of the library searching for books with her blond, blue-eyed daughter.

Smiling, Emily said to herself, “Mom enjoys letting me pick out books with her.”

An instant later she screamed with excitement. From the back office in the library a librarian had just darted into the aisle of her favorite mystery books and began placing new copies on the shelf…

“Oh my goodness!” Emily cried out, quickly walking to the aisle. She had visions of the next several books finally being in stock…

Gently, Emily collected the next several books and hurried to her Mom saying that she was ready to check them out.

“I’ll go check them out,” said Emily. “Oh my!” her Mom said. “You still want just Nancy Drew? Let’s try for some new books too.”

“Not yet! I’m going to check them out now!” Emily declared… With a hasty good-bye Emily dashed from her Mom and straight to the checkout counter.

Chapter 2: Missing Time

“I wonder,” Emily thought, “if a way can’t be found to get more time to read this whole mystery this afternoon, I’ll ask Mom.”

Five minutes later Emily and her Mom pulled into the double garage door and hurried inside. Emily went up to her room, which was tucked away on the second floor with a space to read and look out of the window at all of the tall, beautiful trees.

“Hello, Emily,” greeted her energetic little sister as she opened her bedroom door. She was Amanda Petersen, the little girl who was often running around and playing outside in the Petersens’ yard with their Dad.

Emily gave her a hug, then asked, “Dad home? I see his car is in the garage.”

“Our father’s in the living room and dinner will be ready in a few minutes.”

Emily went to say hello to her kind, hardworking father, then hurried to wash her hands and comb her hair before the four who formed the Petersen household sat down to dinner. During the meal Emily shared her new mystery story of the afternoon.

Chapter 9: Helpful Closure

Emily read the words on the pages intently as the mantel clock finished striking. All of the gears in her mind had begun to move.

“The clock!” she whispered. “That was it! The clock!”

Emily gripped the arms of her chair in excitement. “Josiah Crowley hid the will in a clock?” she said to herself aloud.

She returned to quickly reading through the pages, eagerly waiting to figure out another part of the mystery. Her Mom called for her attention but she couldn’t put the book down.

Silence continued in her room. Emily was wondering what connection could be made between the missing will and a clock. She replayed the last several chapters in her mind, trying to probe her memory.

Suddenly she gave a low cry. “There! It came to me just like that. That’s how Nancy will solve this mystery!”.

Emily’s heart gave a leap, but she forced herself to say calmly, “Mom, only twenty more pages. I’ll be down soon.


Chapter 20: A Happy Finale

“We think you have earned your own copy of the next Nancy Drew book. We know how much you enjoy reading them.”

“Why, thank you,” said Emily. She was thrilled, and gazed meditatively at the bright yellow book. Though new, she felt a strong connection with it already. For her it certainly held a special significance. She was too excited to explain to her Mom and Dad why she would prize the book, and besides, her feeling was something she could not put into words. Actually she had become attached to the book because of its association with her recent adventure.

“This is the first book I’ve discovered and loved all on my own,” she thought. “I wonder if I’ll ever find another one half so thrilling.”

As Emily stood looking wistfully at the bright yellow book she dreamed that in the near future she would be reading every word of the The Hidden Staircase mystery, a far more baffling case than the one she had just read about. But somehow, as Emily gazed at the timepiece, she sensed that more exciting books were soon to come.

Emily ceased daydreaming as the book was handed to her and looked at her parents. “I’ll always prize this book as a token of my favorite story,” she said with a broad smile.

The End

 

My love for the reading of those mysteries, the scanning of the library bookshelves, and the discussions about the adventures I read over and over again in book after book never ceased to grow. It started with those Nancy Drew books, and can be revived with those Nancy Drew books every time. I was Nancy Drew, with books as my mysteries. I could not, and still cannot, stop reading until the case is ‘solved’ and I’ve reached the final two words: The End.

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