A bookish inheritance. . .Posted: February 23, 2012
When I was in Elementary School, I was fortunate enough to receive a box of books from my Great-Aunt who had saved them from her childhood and, having had 2 boys, never gave them away. I say fortunate because those 10-20 books were “out of circulation” for the normal reading lists, etc. and several of them made enough of an impression on me that I still remember them. Here are the ones I really remember:
- Cherry Ames, Visiting Nurse. I just recently found out that this was part of a Nancy Drew-esque series. I remember loving the spunk and sense of adventure Cherry had as she found a new home in GrenwichVillage, started working as a Nurse, and enjoyed her independence.
- I can’t remember the title of these next three, but as I move this weekend I hope to find this box. (Sneaking suspicion it’s in storage).
- Mystery book # 1- A girl began working as an accountant for a greeting card company, and as she rotated around from payroll to comptroller she discovered and foiled an embezzlement attempt, falling in love with one of the artists along the way.
- Mystery book #2- A group of 4 girls (Wilderness guides, something or another) set out on an annual camping trip, find a mystery and solve it, smartly rapping the villains over the head with their flashlights.
- Mystery book #3- 2 friends join the WAVES during WWII and ship out for Britain. For a LONG time I didn’t realize this one was based on a real organization b/c school never talked about the WAC, WAVES, or WASPs.
- Several of the original non-updated Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys books (I remember asking what a coupe was and why they didn’t just say car, lol).
- Becky Bryan’s Secret– The daughter of a rich businessman tries to go incognito and gets a position on the HS newspaper. Local girl is jealous, drama ensues. Somehow, there’s a tight-rope walk event, a scathing review of the modern press, and in the end it all works out. 🙂
Anyway, I grouped those together b/c it strikes me that for books written in the 1930’s & ‘40’s, these female protagonists all had careers/aspirations, personality, and gumption. They were NOT Donna Reed-type “I just want to be a good wife/mother” characters. Yes, they wanted to fall in love eventually, but they wanted adventure and independence first. Seeds of the women’s lib movement? Not sure. But it was definitely a switch from Louisa May Alcott and the extolling of the woman’s role in the home.
- Several of the Bobbsey Twin mysteries. Bert,Nan, Flossie and Bobby solved mysteries and saved the day. With a minimum of bickering. (For a while, I really wanted siblings…then through observation, I changed my mind).
- Snow Treasure– this one at least has been re-released. It’s a reality-based tale about children in Norway helping to smuggle gold out during the Nazi occupation. Good stuff.
- Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm. Classic orphan tale.
- Nan of the Gypsies, Another orphan story. (Theme much? Were there a lot of these out there?)
- The Mystery of Myrtle Grove. Another family solving mysteries…
- Quiz Kids and the Crazy Question Mystery – a group of kids from a RADIO quiz show solve a mystery…there’s a castle involved. crazy stuff.
Anyway- I’m sure you do this anyway, but if you see a box of yellowed, dusty books, take a second to browse. You never know; and secondly, never hesitate to pass a book along. I’ll always be glad I got these. 🙂