I accepted the following writing challenge from our ChicagoNow editor: What fictional character (or characters) would you most like to spend time with and what would you do together?
Well, Nancy Drew immediately popped into my head. I'm sure my classmates from Sutherland School will nod their heads in agreement, as I always dragged around a Nancy Drew book for several years. Never mind my homework -- all I needed was a good mystery with Nancy at the helm.
Sure, Nancy was awfully clever (especially at only 18 years old), educated, practical minded and always got her man. It helped that her father - Carson Drew - was a famous criminal lawyer. He molded Nancy from the beginning, using his own law cases to stimulate Nancy's curiosity in felonious activity. Of course, he also provided his daughter with an upper middle-class home in the swanky River Heights neighborhood of New York State. And having a live-in housekeeper on hand didn't hurt either.
And, so there you have it. Most of my reasons for wanting to pal around with Nancy are superficial. I'd love to be her best friend, Bess, slightly plump yet always attractive and a hopeless romantic. If I were Nancy's good friend, I'd show up in the morning to have one of Hannah's famous breakfasts of pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs. Except unlike Nancy, with her athletic figure, I'd pile on the weight.
I'd make a striking effort at working off the heavy meal, though, accompanying Nancy on her rounds of mysterious diaries, whispering statues, and creaky hidden staircases. I'd get more exercise in if I was as limber as the great girl detective. Why, she could ride a circus horse while standing on its bare back, looking stunning in a rhinestone and sequined bodysuit.
I'd be selling tickets at the gate, gushing about my friend the sleuth. At least I could flirt with all the fellas in line while Nancy was sweating it out in the ring with the clowns. At least my makeup wouldn't run and I wouldn't sprain an ankle the way Nancy always seemed to do.
And while we pal around, I'd be the one to wriggle out of the abrasive rope tied around my wrists. I could run for help and actually save the day for once. Why does that Nancy always get the glory?
Yet I still profess my heartfelt love for my dear friend. Nancy always solves her mystery. And her titian-colored hair is always perfect, along with her sun-colored frock. I'll be standing there with her, in my midnight blue sleeveless dress, lips in red, and hair in a neat chignon.
We'll dance with all the good-looking fraternity boys and be cheered for our courage in wiping out crime in River Heights. We may even get a medal from the local police, which we'll show off at the end of the evening to Mr. Drew (I can't call him Carson yet). We'll sit with him in his library, fire crackling, and Hannah will serve us hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Ahhh, that actually sounds so nice. Now if only I could get the keys to Nancy's snappy little roadster, I'd be all set.
Bess Marvin a/k/a Heidi Van Howe