Nancy Drew is always on vacation.  I just started reading The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion— the original one from the 1930’s complete with all of the racism that was later taken out in the 1960’s– and, yet again, Nancy, Bess, and George are in Nancy’s roadster on their way to a vacation destination.  I know that Nancy has been in charge of running the household since her mother died (in the early books, housekeeper Hannah Gruen is either less reliable, or just not mentioned), but does she really need to “get away” that often?

Also, in this book, Nancy has had a likeness of herself rendered in oils by a talented local painter.  She mentions how expensive it was, but how excited she is to give it to her father for his birthday.  In my mind, if you haven’t earned the money to pay for a gift, make something or do something where the effort rather than the product is the gift.

My feelings could be a result of my coming from a family that was never very good at the gift-giving (my brother and I would go to Target, each pick out a DVD of equal value, trade them, pay for them, and then trade back), but it seems like if you buy something for someone with money that they, not you, earned, it’s a bit pointless.  It also worries me that someday if I do get married, or share finances with someone, I’ll end up with a birthday present that I feel lukewarm about, and that ambivalence will be made all the worse because I technically paid for it.

Nancy does, kind of, work outside the home solving mysteries, but she is strictly an amateur and never takes money  for her work.  Her father, famous attorney Carson Drew, disapproves of her mystery solving, but indulges her as she is his only child.  Maybe he’d look more favorably upon it if he wasn’t always footing the bill for her adventures.

Perhaps my feelings are just jealousy toward Nancy.  I’ve never solved a mystery, at least, not a major one.  I’ve never tangled with baddies and been knocked unconscious by a swift blow to the head. My hair is a rather normal “brown” rather than “titian”. My high school chums and I spent our time drinking in fields and Canada rather than horseback riding at Red Gate Farm, or having luncheon at Lilac Inn.

The problem could be the difference in the eras that the two of us grew up in.  In Nancy’s time, people had to leave the house to accomplish most tasks, and while that sounds a bit tedious and time-consuming to me, I bet in puts you in the path of a lot of mysteries just waiting to be solved.  Nancy goes to the dressmaker’s and sees a mysterious figure duck around a corner and head for the docks!  I go to Old Navy where the music is too loud and the only mystery is how some of the girls in there really believe they can get away with a size that small.

I’ll continue to look for secret passages and hidden luggage compartments.  I’ll keep my eyes peeled on my daily walk to work, and maybe a case of mistaken identity, or a suspicious package will present itself and throw me into the world of mystery.  Of course, I’ll probably have to pass on it, and continue on to work.

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