Wishing everyone a very Happy Mother's Day!
Remembering my mom:
My dad was the one who had the patience to teach me how to read and instilled me with a real love of poetry, but it was my mom who taught me to really love reading. Being dyslexic, reading was a nightmare and school was the last place I wanted to be. After my dad taught me to read, my mother introduced me to three series books that she had loved as a girl - The Bobbsey Twins, Anne of Green Gables and Nancy Drew. And I fell in love…with reading.
As a girl, my mother loved to read, but as the daughter of a minister and one of seven children and with war on the horizon, there wasn't much money to go around and she had to rely heavily on borrowing books from friends or using the library. Back then, however, the library didn't carry many series books and friends weren't willing to lend their own new Nancy Drews. Knowing how much her girls wanted to read them, my grandmother somehow managed get her three daughters a few copies of some Nancy Drew books, most likely donated by a kind parishioner. My mom held on to those books, and they were read by my cousins and my older sister before they made their way to me.
|Three of my mom's 9 original Nancy Drews|
My mom and I had a ritual about the three series books I read. Every Friday night after dinner, we would walk to Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, where there was a small bookstore right next to the Dutch Reformed Church and I could pick out one book for the week. If I finished that book, I could get a new one the following Friday. I started with The Bobbsey Twins, worked my way to Nancy Drew and then Anne of Green Gables. By the time I finished, I was a pretty good reader and entering 7th grade didn't feel as terrifying as grades 1-6 did.
I loved our Friday night walks because not only did I get a new book, but I got to spend time alone with my mother. My sister and brother weren't allowed to tag along. Those Friday nights are some of my best memories of my mom.
My mother passed away in 1998, but right up until the end, reading was a shared adventure for the two of us and I can't thank her (and my dad) enough for helping me to discover the joy of reading.
My mom's Nancy Drew books are old, the pages are burnt and they are worth anything, but they were certainly well loved by three generations of Baugh girls. including my kiddo . This year Nancy Drew turned 85 years old and kids are still reading her. Nancy has changed with the times, but to me she will always be the girl who wore frocks and drove a blue roadster, had two best friends and taught me to be an independent woman. And I am in pretty good company on that score: my mother, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sandra Day O'Connor, Laura Bush, Hilary Clinton, Oprah Wimfrey, Sara Paretsky and Barbara Streisand, among others.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and Thank You
And here are some interesting articles about Nancy Drew's continuing impact:
Celebrating 85 years of Nancy Drew, The Girl Who Started It All from The Mary Sue
Nancy Drew's Granddaughters from the New York Times
Nancy Drew's Father from The New Yorker