Thursday, March 26, 2009
souvenirs from a childhood of reading
Last weekend we entertained some friends, and after a dinner that included killing two bottles of port—each was less than a quarter full—the junior set inquired about my legendary* Nancy Drew collection. Darling M (nearly 11) and Z (8) wanted to know how many ND books I had (I overestimated and said 20 or so, but actually it's 12**), and which I had read (why, all of them, thirty years ago). Seeing, then, that an expedition through our very scary, very full garage was in order, we suited up in coats and shoes, equipped ourselves with stick and brooms (I think something mammalian and larger than a mouse currently makes its home there), and trekked upstairs.
Standing amid a wasteland of bicycles, M wondered, "Where do you think It is?" Z applied her keen sleuthing skills and, pointing across the width of the stall, said "Would It say 'Nancy Drew' on It?" Sure enough, there It was, screamingly obvious. The Box, labeled "Nancy Drew mysteries," sat on a coated-wire shelf, minding its own business. Our angle for obtaining The Box was awkward, but we tugged and pulled and knocked over a few bikes (sorry, John, I may have nicked the Holdsworth...you can take the repair out of my next paycheck). Finally, The Box landed with a thud on the garage floor.
Behold...my Nancy Drews and a handful of Trixie Beldens, nestled amid the most motley assortment of teenage romances, Judy Blume's Forever, The Summer of My German Soldier, Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, and Plato's Republic. The nostalgic was palpable: I was looking at the sum total of books I owned through 1986.
The Box, which is huge in size, felt insubstantial, damp from living in inhospitable environments for the past twenty years. I know my books deserve better, and I vow to remedy the situation as best I can. Bless John, who cracked a copy of Isaac Asimov's Foundation, sniffed, and declared, "Smells like a book.***"
*Legendary in so much that I have a few ND's from my childhood in the 70s.
**Now 13, as M came into #8, Nancy's Mysterious Letter, and having no interesting in reading it, gave me her copy.
***i.e., not like mold or mildew