Thursday, August 24, 2006

Do They Or Don't They?

For a while when I was a kid, I thought about everything in terms of mysteries. This was due to reading too much Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon—and I’m sure that Harriet the Spy and the Bloodhound Gang had a hand in it. One adventure that my friend K. and I spent hours playing was our own Nancy Drew creation: “The Mystery at the Roller Skating Rink.” This allowed us to combine two primary interests (Solving crimes! Wearing Strawberry Shortcake skates!) into one fun game. Since she was older, K. got to be Nancy; I got to be Bess, George, and any hapless rink employees that we needed for the narrative. Most of the time was spent looking for clues. Since the rink was actually my basement, the clues were pretty obscure: “Look Nancy, next to the water heater! It’s a granola bar wrapper!” Still, such a wrapper could point to all sorts of exciting things: kidnappings, cries for help, a Trap. It was a tiring game, since it meant never taking off skates, even when “running’ up and down the stairs or crouching behind the woodpile outside the basement door, but it kept us enthralled for hours. I don’t think anything ever got solved on those days (just what was at stake was always a little fuzzy), but it allowed us to see the basement in a whole new way—as a shadowy den, with many obscure nooks and crannies where crooks could plot despicable deeds.

The thing that bothered me about Nancy then and still does (in addition to her endless bank account and her ability to jet off to Greece at the drop of a hat), was that none of the books could seem to settle on what color her hair was. Was it blond or was it strawberry blond or was it Titian? (Of course, we said tit-ee-an). Titian (a “golden-auburn”) is just not the same as “blond” or “strawberry blond,” but the author(s) didn’t seem to care. They used all of these descriptions interchangeably.

This hair confusion applies to Trixie too. Did she have blond hair or did she not--every cover told a different story. It would have made a big difference to me because, as I was blonder than K., it was natural that I play the shy sidekick, Honey (blond) Wheeler. If it turns out that Trixie really did have blond hair, I would have had more leverage.

Is there any way to find out? I probably won’t be up for playing detective games any time soon, but it would be nice to solve these mysteries, once and for all.

P.S. I just read a biography of the Nancy Drew creators, Girl Sleuth. I was hoping it could clear up the hair issue for me. It didn’t.


Blogger tapa girl said...

Omigosh- how excellent. To be fair Meg, my appropriation of the lead characters had more to do with my bossiness, I believe. Though, in the case of Trixie, I remember wanting very much to qualify for the role of Honey because I did not care at all for Trixie's coif. The demure and graceful Honey was additionally appealing because she had all of the qualities I did not. On the other hand, Trixie called the shots and you clearly fit Honey’s profile, so…

I had forgotten about running up and down the stairs with skates on- can’t believe your Mom put up with that. Your basement always seemed quite cozy to me, though- except for THE DARK CORNER. THE DARK CORNER was where your Dad “worked” and we were not allowed to enter that space. It was very dark and mysterious to me. I remember trying to get you to let us explore it countless times, but you almost always stuck to your guns.

Obviously I was also mystified by the exotic term “Titian hair.” Now that I’m a bit better educated in the world of art- I suppose the author was trying to call to the reader’s mind the voluptuous tresses of female nudes painted by Titian? How so very un-Nancy Drew.

1:44 PM  
Blogger betsytacy said...

It’s true: there was something alluring about Honey, even if she didn’t get to call the shots. There were two things in particular:
1. She had much better hair
2. She was loaded, which meant she had all sorts of lovely nightgowns and her own horse, Lady. (Not to mention Regan, the stern but kindly stable guy who knew which kinds of bits were best for horses’ sensitive mouths. Curbs? Or snaffles? I think snaffles).

5:46 PM  

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