We’ve built lots of bookshelves in this house; it came with but two---the one below and a mirror-image of it behind in the room next door. We’ve scattered paperbacks and magazines and all manner of splashy gardening and decorating and travel books randomly over the house, wherever they landed and wherever there was room. But our best and most precious, our treasured-from-the-past, the first-read and most fondly remembered books of our youth are placed in the varnished wooden bookcases, as befit the best of things.
This shelf has a row of my young-days’ favorites spanning about halfway from the left, his take up at Little Ships and go about ten to the right; the shelf above is filled with collections of stories which amazed and entertained us both as children, though we may have picked up these copies from Goodwill or Flea Markets along the way.
My own prizes are the Nancy Drew few, loved and lost and found again, as related in an earlier post:
Keetha, at http://writekudzu.blogspot.com/2009/10/that-could-have-been-me.html who is much younger than I, posted this week about the quickening of her heart as she saw a familiar yellow book jacket pass in a crowd; her Nancy Drews are the modern ones to me, though they’re the classics to her, a child of the Eighties. My own heartbeat leaps at the sight of those pale blue fabric books with the unmistakable bright orange silhouette on the front. Those are from the Thirties and Forties, passed to me by an older cousin; though the picture and Nancy herself change a bit as the decades change, from a characteristically Thirties profile of skirt, hat, flowing scarf and smart pumps, in an almost-pinup pose with the Magnifying Glass,
to a bit more of the toned-down black silhouette of a young woman of the Forties with a lot on her mind, more subdued clothes and sensible shoes for chasing after villains.
Somewhere in between there, in only the sixth volume, there was perhaps another edition published, as the series gained momentum, for the books were a bit plainer, in a dull blue, printed in a much more subdued orange hue.
And so generations of us girls have traveled with Nancy, speeding along in that snappy roadster, chasing clues, decoding ciphers, righting wrongs, solving mysteries.
I've gone back and back, these last few days, just in getting these out, feeling the fragile old fabric, the delicate, crumble-at-a-touch pages, inhaling the scent of old books and old times and hot Summer afternoons up a tree with Nancy, Bess and George for companions.
Everybody needs a Hero, and I’m glad these kind, smart, pleasant people were some of mine.