A Nancy Drew Mystery

26 Jan

by Andrea Kelton

When I was a first grader, I lived on Staten Island where my books came from the bookmobile.  I stood at the curb, eagerly awaiting the enormous lumbering library on wheels.  Inside, I seriously deliberated over oh so many choices. Finally, I would decide which books would be mine for the week.  My three picture book limit in hand, I would devour them by days end.  Fortunately, I had a monthly subscription to Highlights magazine.  The puzzles, short stories and crafts held me over until the next bookmobile visit.

When I was a sixth grader, I lived in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.  I had a huge crush on Norm Cash, the Detroit Tigers first baseman.  Daily, I waited for the Detroit News.  I’d clip out every article chronicling his homerun streak, glue it into my Norm Cash scrapbook and read them over and over.

When I was an eighth grader, the nuns at St. Gertrude’s told us that Nancy Drew books were not to be read.  I had never    heard of censorship, but I was used to the Catholics always telling me there was something I couldn’t say, see or think.  But what could be wrong with these books?  When I asked “why?” no answer was ever given.  I asked, “What should we read?”   And I was told Little Women and The Bobbsey Twins.

I’d already read those books.  How many times was I supposed to read them?  Now these banned books intrigued me.  I really wanted to read Nancy Drew.  Lucky for me, Patti Rex lived down the street and owned the entire series.  So I promptly devoured each and everyone.  They were fun to read.  But that was all.  Nothing nasty or immoral.  I sure didn’t get it.

Still to this day, the only unsolved Nancy Drew mystery is why the nuns objected to these books.  I wonder what they would think of Father Andrew Greeley’s mysteries.

Andrea Kelton was diagnosed with uveitis in 1974.  Today she lives in Chicago and teaches Adult Basic Education at Literacy Chicago.  She attends a weekly memoir writing class, “Me, Myself and I” taught by author Beth Finke.

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