April 18, 2017
Memories of a Special Bookshelf
In my childhood home, my two sisters and I shared a bedroom, a large room that took up most of the top floor of our one and a half story family home. The room, unfinished when the house was constructed, had been built by my dad with thick knotty pine walls and a tile floor. It was a wonderfully cozy room, with sloping ceilings, two windows, several storage closets, two built-into-the-wall chests of drawers, and a built in bookshelf.
That bookshelf was the place where my sisters and I displayed figurines, stuffed animals, assorted treasures...and of course, books. There was quite a variety of mostly old books on the shelf. The ones I remember ranged from children's books, such as Little Golden Books, to young adult books. I loved to read when I was young, and I read many of the books from that bookshelf. Some of the books I read over and over again because 1) I liked them so much, and/or 2) I was in the mood to read but had nothing new to read, so re-reading old books was my only choice. (The nearest branch of our public library was pretty small and was over a mile to walk to, so I didn't get there very often. And my grade school had no library at all!)
There was a book on that bookshelf that I remember reading numerous times, but I can't recall the title. I know that the book was quite old, and its main characters were two next-door-neighbor girls named Dolly and Dottie. I don't remember much of the plot of the book, except for one chapter when the girls were roller skating and collided with each other, with some not-very-good results. I'll have to do some research to see if I can come up with the title and author, just to satisfy my curiosity. If I do, and if I can find a copy of the book, it might be fun to read that book again.
My favorites of all the books from that bookshelf were Trixie Belden mystery books. We had the first four or five books of the Trixie Belden series, and I read each of them multiple times. Trixie was a 13-year-old girl who solved mysteries, and I absolutely loved her character. She, along with her brothers and friends, had all kinds of adventures. They solved various mysteries, often getting into trouble along the way. The books were always suspenseful -- even when I was reading them for the umpteenth time -- and fun to read.
And then there was Nancy. Nancy Drew, that is. We had one Nancy Drew mystery book on that bookshelf, and I read that book as well. But I didn't like it very much, and I only read it once, so I don't even remember which book of the Nancy Drew series it was. I'm sure that the book was well-written, but I just couldn't identify with the character of Nancy. She was an older teenager, already graduated from high school, and she was perfect. She was rich and beautiful and had a boyfriend and played golf and drove a convertible. I couldn't relate to any of those things.
Some girls loved to read about Nancy Drew. They admired her and aspired to be like her. But not me. Nancy was too perfect, too far removed from the real life which I lived. Give me Trixie Belden -- who made mistakes and got teased by her brothers and had to do household chores and save her money to buy things -- to read about, over Nancy Drew. ANY day.
Ahhhh, the books from my childhood. They were my friends. (Well, except for Nancy.) They kept me company on a rainy day, they added liveliness to boring summer days, they sparked my imagination and let me get glimpses into other teenagers' lives. Even if they were fictional lives....
Trixie and Dolly and Dottie made reading fun, and I am thankful that they were a part of my childhood.
JudyK. April 18, 2017