About The Goodbye Project:
There are so many of us who can’t part with objects because of the sentimental attachment we have to them. You know—the graduation tassels, the barfed-on stuffed animal with the missing eye, the coat your late father bought for you because you begged. So what do you do when it’s time to let go of these beloved items because it’s absolutely necessary?
I’d read someplace that one of the best ways to let go of an object is to know that you have a photo. Sure, you can photograph it before you get rid of it. The Goodbye Project takes the idea a step further: go back and find photos of yourself actually with, using, or wearing that object, and blurb a bit about the memories it invokes.
Why? Everything has a story.
And because of that, the object deserves more than just a hasty trip to the Goodwill or the trash without a second thought.
EPISODE 4: NANCY DREW
As a kid, I was a great escapist. I had two favorite methods: reading, and role-playing as my favorite television heroine or hero.
Nancy Drew was an exception: she was the only heroine of mine from books that I imitated (apparently frequently; Bill Buckbee recalls our entire third grade year recesses with me as Nancy Drew and he and Kevin Fuller as Frank and Joe Hardy). I’d get a new book and rip through it in less than a day or so most of the time.
One birthday, in fact—1981, the most magical birthday I ever had, because I got the Battlestar Galactica game and not one, but TWO Nancy Drew books—my parents were angry because two days later I asked them if we could buy another Nancy Drew book.
“Your father and I just bought you two,” my mother said.
“I finished them.”
She turned and looked at me. “Kristin Mary, you did not. You just opened those.”
“I did too, I’m a fast reader,” I repeated.
“Well.” She shrugged. “Read them again.”
Ah! A woman who didn’t understand anything about flaming passion. “Mom, you can’t read them again right away. There’s no surprise.”
“Too bad,” she said. “They’re expensive.”
Expensive. Bradlees and Caldor had them for $1.99.
But you didn’t argue with Mom. And that’s how, at 10 years old, I discovered the shelves in my father’s den.
I read things entirely inappropriate for my age: Irving Wallace’s The Word, in which I learned that if you failed at your career you became an alcoholic and slept with lots of people in far away cities; Jaws, in which I got a clue about what goes into grass and gazpacho soup, how married people have affairs (it’s usually with someone from your past and you have to do it in shitty motels and shower after so you don’t smell like sex, whatever THAT meant), and erections. I remember wondering if my parents had ever smoked grass, or if they’d ever had affairs. I remember feeling really uncomfortable and kind of dirty after I’d read it. I was haunted by the sentence: “Ellen started to giggle again, imagining the sight of Hooper lying by the side of the road, stiff as a flagpole, and herself lying next to him, her dress bunched up around her waist and her vagina yawing open, glistening wet, for the world to see.” (That’s on page 170 of my Dad’s copy, which was from Bantam Books’ 18th printing, June, 1975).
I finally was able to get another Nancy Drew book a few weeks later, but found I couldn’t respect her. I was suddenly aware that she and Ned should be having a full-on sexual relationship instead of this namby-pamby flirting thing, that at their ages they should at least smoke a cigarette or two and drink beer, and that she should get pissed off at someone at least once in awhile and preferably use a curse word.
And so, for lack of $1.99 two days after my birthday in 1981, Nancy Drew was buried under a pile of adult books: Catch 22, Ghost Boat, The Bermuda Triangle, The Ghost of Flight 401, All the President’s Men, The Anthrax Mutation, The Amityville Horror—whatever crappy paperbacks my Dad had laying around. I read them so fast he never even knew they were missing before they were back on the shelf.
But I kept my original Drew collection, took them wherever I went. Over the years, I’d let go of one or two that didn’t have any specific memory attached to them. Eventually, I got down to my last seven, because they were the ones that invoke a special time or place.
Today, I let six of them go.
The only one I kept was my first, The Secret of the Old Clock. And that’s just because my parents wrote “To Kristi, Love Mom & Dad, 12/25/79” in the front cover.
They had no idea what they were getting me into, I’m sure.
The books will be donated to a library sale.
If you’re a Nancy Drew fan, there is a LIVELY Facebook fan page called Nancy Drew!! here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Drew/363747038826?sk=wall
…oh, and if you want to know who my other childhood heroines/heroes were, here’s the list:
1. Princess (from Battle of the Planets)
2. H.M. Murdock (from The A-Team)
3. Kaye Morgan (senior biologist, Jaws 3)
4. Ellen Brody (Jaws)
5. Maid Marian (Robin Hood — the Disney cartoon version first; later, the Costner flick)
6. Lady J (from G.I. Joe)
7. Amy Allen (“AAA” from The A-team)
8. DeeDee McCall (from Hunter)
9. Penelope Pitstop
10. Nancy Drew
11. Daphne (from the original Scooby Doo cartoon series)
12. Lisa (from the original Robotech, Series 1)
13. Jennette (from Treme)
14. Dana Scully (from The X-Files)
15. April (from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)