It's Nancy Drew's 80th Birthday

Jeanne Sager
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Photo from Grosset and Dunlap
Nancy Drew will celebrate her 80th birthday this week, and might we say this super sleuth (or is that snoop?) doesn't look a day over 18?

Hypers! (Remember that?)

First published on April 28, 1930 (that's tomorrow), I paged through Grosset and Dunlap's special anniversary edition of The Secret of the Old Clock last week.

Geek flag alert -- I could remember exactly how it ended. That's how often I read the original as a kid, along with The Hidden Staircase and The Bungalow Mystery, the second and third novels that completed the triumvirate first published 80 years ago.

They'd be followed by dozens more, which, like the Baby-Sitters Club, took up most of my bookshelves and much of my parents' money over the years.

It's where I learned words like "titian-haired" and "chum," discovered the concept of the chunky sidekick and the tomboy best friend, and learned girls could do anything -- but they did it best in a convertible with an emergency overnight bag in the trunk.

Nancy Drew was better than the Girl Scouts at teaching girls to be prepared, better than a kickboxing class at teaching us to be street savvy, better often than our own mothers at letting us know we could be anything.

Because she was just like us -- only with a super-hunky boyfriend (oh Ned Nickerson, you're still the man I measure against) and a housekeeper who cooks late-night treats so you don't have to go running for the Chunky Monkey.

Apparently they're still sending Nancy  Drew mysteries out the door -- written by various ghostwriters under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene and tracing the likes of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Barbra Streisand, and Oprah as fans.

But I can't help feeling a tug for the originals -- 80 years old or not.

What were your favorite Nancy Drew adventures?

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