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  • Jennifer

...Rebellious "An Independence Day Mystery"

In lead up to my birthday (less than a month away!), I am breaking tradition by posting a non "travel, food, and film" piece. The below post is about the beauty of "literature." I unveil a little nostalgia by way of Nancy Drew. I hope you enjoy. Feliz Cumpleaños (almost) to the young girl I once was, and who we all were at one time (well, except for the males reading this post, of course).

Being born on the 4th of July was great as a kid. Not only did I think all the fireworks were for me (because my family and friends told me they were, which I excitedly believed until about age seven), but I always got the day off from school.

My favorite birthday gift as a girl was the old Nancy Drew book series. Their hardcover editions were popular in the ‘80s. Those mustard-yellow bindings lined my bookshelves for years. I relished being poolside at 10 or 11am (school hours), sporting my new birthday bathing suit, and tearing through wrapping paper to behold these literary gems. To me, Nancy Drew was the epitome of the “cool” older sister.

The first story I read was “#3 The Bungalow Mystery.” I recall Nancy’s independence, self-confidence, creativity, and loyalty to her two best friends. This girl had spunk! She had adventures and solved mysteries involving ivory charms and whispering statues. Her mysteries all took place in awesome settings like forgotten cities and moss-covered mansions. I was riveted. I even loved the artwork on the cover of each book. The colorful depictions of Nancy Drew in “mid-mystery” always drew me in and captured my imagination.

As I got older, I moved on to reading other types of books. My July 4th celebrations were still always poolside, and I almost always had a new bathing suit on. But, I instead tore through wrapping paper to reveal a trendy new pair of shoes, or a few “alternative” music CDs.

One year, when I was around sixteen, my Mom informed me that she was planning a "Post-4th of July" rummage sale. She suggested that I check up in the attic for anything I’d like to contribute. I said in my customary blasé teenage way – “Sure, you can get rid of those old Nancy Drew books. I don’t read them anymore.” My Mom responded – “I’m not getting rid of those! You loved them! You can give them to your own kids someday. Those are classic books.” I don’t remember exactly how she convinced me to keep them, but she did.

Now, a full twenty years later, I’m so glad that she did. My Nancy Drew books still line my bookshelves, but now in my own home. I don’t have any kids yet, but I’m sure if I do, I will pass along these childhood treasures. The Nancy Drew books even inspired me to enter publishing. At eighteen, I moved to Manhattan to study English in college. I’ve since become a published writer. I’ve also traveled the world with a magazine that I worked for in my twenties.

It’s been amazing to have and write my own adventures, to inhabit that same independent spirit of Nancy Drew. Turns out little books from childhood can actually mean a lot. Thank you, Ms. Nancy Drew. You inspired this Independence Day baby.

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