way down memory lane… {part 1}

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, so I thought I’d write a post about the different things I read and watched  when I was just a wee girl (along with maybe talking about a few fictional character crushes I had in my Younger Days).  I searched back through the misty memories of when I was nine and ten – or even younger – and came up with a surprisingly long list of titles (although I’m certain I’ve forgotten some).  Unfortunately, I can’t really assign dates to when I discovered certain things, though I wish I could. (This is why I should really start keeping a journal.)

The Elsie Dinsmore Series - I had forgotten about this series I read in my preteens till just recently. Loved them! Definitely a series I want my daughter to read. Such faith and goodness portrayed in them.

So, to begin with, the Books Of My Childhood (because books are infinitely superior to movies, in many ways): One of my strongest memories of childhood books was Mom reading Elsie Dinsmore to me.  Every afternoon, just before she took a nap, I’d go into Mom and Dad’s room, sit on the bed, and listen while Mom narrated the Trials & Tribulations of Elsie Dinsmore.  I was only eight or nine, and I found the story completely enthralling.  So much so, in fact, that over the next couple of years, I managed to get my hands on nearly the entire series (which is, I believe, twenty-eight books long).  The Dinsmores were like a second family to me: I cried buckets when Mr Travilla died, followed the threads of each character’s life with interest, had a great liking for Walter (I still do, actually), and, overall, had a highly enjoyable time reading through all the Dinsmore family drama.

Cooper Kids Adventure Series (4 Volume Set) by Frank Peretti http://www.amazon.com/dp/0891075968/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_juFSub0KX67ED

Over time, my taste did improve (although I still do think of the Elsie Dinsmore books with fondness), and I became obsessed with the Cooper Kids series. (After I stopped staring at the covers with fascination and actually cracked them open, that is.)  I must’ve read The Deadly Curse Of Toco-Rey about six times in quick succession – each time it alternately chilled and thrilled me to the very tips of my fingers.  Frank Peretti’s books aren’t my favorites (the ones for adults, that is), but I still enjoy reading about the adventures of the Cooper Kids – there’s always a strong Christian message in each book, but it isn’t preachy, and the stories are pretty much non-stop excitement and suspense. (I don’t know how I got to sleep the night after reading The Tombs Of Anak.)  Jay and Lila are still awesome (not to mention Dr. Cooper himself).

Set Among Princes was another favorite of mine.  A family friend read and liked it, gave it my mom, who read it and liked it, who gave it to me…and I loved it. (I’ve since passed it on to my sister, and once she reads it, I’m sure she’ll fall for it too.)  It was one of the first (if not the first) historical fiction book I’d ever read, and I found it endlessly fascinating.  Now, whenever I read II Timothy 4, it makes me smile, because I feel like I know the people mentioned in there, and the same with the last chapter of Romans.  On that same note, I also enjoyed Twice Freed, which is another story that has a direct connection to a book of the Bible – Philemon.  This take on the story of Onesimus always makes me just a little emotional.  It’s a beautiful book, beautifully written.

The Shunning - Beverly Lewis  Good book, looking for the sequel

More books I read and loved (later, when I was twelve or thirteen):  The Shunning.  No, don’t laugh.  I know it’s Amish fiction, and that’s dreadfully overdone these days, but I believe this book was one of the first of the genre – and it was my first foray into modern Christian fiction, which makes it special to me.  For the longest time, I read it, hating the cliffhanger at the end, but not even guessing that there was a sequel or two.  And then one day when I was at the library, I discovered that it was a trilogy and, well, I was beyond excited.  And it’s still the only Amish fiction series that I really enjoy.  Then there was Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  For the longest time, it was my favorite classic novel, and I still really do love it, even if my favorite story line has little to do with the titular character.  George and Eliza’s fight for freedom is the best part of the novel, in my opinion.  Powerful, moving, and interesting.

Nancy Drew-my Dad took me to the library every Sat. Afternoon since I was old enough to hold a book, special times!  I remember the smell of old books and checking out every Nancy Drew book they had.

And then, lastly, the Nancy Drew series and Hardy Boys series.  Aren’t these practically a staple for every child’s literary experience?  I poke fun at Nancy Drew now, but back then I thought she was one of the coolest fictional characters ever.  And I liked the Hardy Boys’ adventures even more.  There was such a great variety of stories and plots and characters in both series that I could never really be bored with either.  And even these days, if I’m bored (which I hardly ever am), I’ll pick up a Nancy Drew book and all the memories flood in and sweep me away.  Good times, those.

And you know what?  This post has become wayyyyy too long to include movies and TV shows and character crushes, so I’m going to split this post into two parts.

Until next time!



7 thoughts on “way down memory lane… {part 1}

  1. I read the Elsie Dinsmore and Nancy Drew series too! I’d probably have some bones to pick with Elsie now, but I did enjoy following that enormous and intricately-related family through several generations and all sorts of trials. I’ve always envied authors who can construct a family saga. And Nancy Drew, of course, was one of the stepping-stones along the way for a mystery lover. (My first mysteries were the Boxcar Children, though—did you ever read them?) I think you’re right about those series being a staple, too: my mom read every Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery she could find when she was little.


    • Yes, some of the stuff in the ED books is pretty racist by today’s standards, but I adored the family dynamics and sprawling narrative. I still enjoy family sagas – my favorite is definitely the American Family Portrait series by Jack Cavanaugh.

      I’ve read several Boxcar Children books (my favorite is the first one – I actually was taught it in First Grade for literature) and Trixie Belden too. I prefer the Trixie books to Nancy Drew, mainly since the characters seem more realistic and not completely perfect all the time.


  2. I like the Hardy Boys better than Nancy Drew too! And better than Trixie Belden, though I liked Trixie better than Nancy.

    I should do a post like this some time, of what my favorite junior fiction and YA books were when I was a kid, and what my favorite books were as a teen, etc. Fun idea!


  3. Pingback: way down memory lane… {part 2} | coffee, classics, & craziness

  4. Have you ever seen the old 70’s TV show of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys? My friend and I were trading pins back and forth about Frank’s hair (which is Quite Amazing) – maybe you saw them? Anyway, I think you’d enjoy it. I actually liked reading THB more than ND because I thought they had more action/adventure, but to each their own. (Do you play any of the ND computer games, by the way? MG is addicted to them… as are the rest of my siblings. Including me. HA.)


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