Do You Remember the Bobbsey Twins Books?

Recently I read Jennifer Weiner’s novel, Mrs. Everything, which alluded to iconic books and products of the 1950s, like the Bobbsey Twins, Almay soap, Prell shampoo and Ship ‘n Shore blouses.

Overall, her book is not a nostalgic look at the previous century, dealing as it does with race, class, and sexuality. Still, her mention of the Bobbsey Twins’ series triggered thoughts about series books I read as a girl.

Cherry Ames

  • Cherry is a can-do character created during World War II, solving mysteries and capturing criminals that elude men.
  • Nurse Cherry’s real name is Charity, symbolizing her care for patients.
  • She could be described as an alternate version of Rosie-the-Riveter also of this era, unafraid of challenge.

 

Nancy Drew

Cover photo of the first book in the series, courtesy Wikipedia

 

  • Nancy Drew mystery stories were first published in 1930, in the Depression era.
  • The series has observed its 90-year anniversary this year. To date, there are 175 (!) novels, including some spinoffs.
  • Nancy Drew books have been attributed to Carolyn Keene, the collective name of writers that contributed to the series.
  • Like Cherry Ames, the Nancy Drew character is known for her resourcefulness, sharp eye for detail, and upbeat personality.

* * *

I did not read Curious George as a girl, but our children devoured these books, and my grandchildren have chuckled as they turned the pages, relating to the monkey’s antics.

 

During the Memorial Day weekend, a friend posted the blurb above on Facebook, which prompted me to think about the impact of this book and its origins.

And then, I remembered reading the curious story about the authors of these books, H. A. and Margret Rey, in a history written for a young audience, The Journey that Saved Curious George, a young readers’ edition.

 

Lately, I’ve thought about the connection between these three sets of books and pondered what they have in common; Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew and Curious George all originated during hard times: The Depression, the Holocaust, or World War II.

 

And now, I’m thinking that extreme social and political change often ignite creativity that otherwise may lie dormant.

 

* * *

During the pandemic of 2020, I’ve noticed clever cartoons, composite videos of singers, and poetry emerging as people on the planet share a common plight.

We have suffered. We are learning. And now we are designing new ways to operate in an altered society. Here in the USA, historians, state and city leaders, and advertisers have commented, “We are in this together.”

 

In May 2020, Facebook released an emoji for readers to convey caring hugs.

 

Note concerning the upheaval in late May 2020:

This past week, our mayor was called to testify before Congress because of his exemplary handling of the Covid-19 Virus in Jacksonville, moving forward into cautious re-opening. Then Saturday evening a peaceful protest, an expression of Black Lives Matter, became an excuse for rioters from an outside group to spray-paint profanities on public buildings and smash windows, destroying property. I woke up Monday morning, feeling despair.

The social justice part of me wants to do DO something. But first, I have to get myself under control. As I prepared breakfast, I listened to uplifting music, and then I continued my reading of Psalm 51:  ” . . . renew a right spirit within me.”

Right now, I will reckon with the biblical truth that racism is sinful: I John 4:20. And, in a chaotic world, I am an ambassador of love, now more than ever, taking action in my city!

Your Turn:

Favorite books of your childhood?

Noteworthy books you’ve read, especially since March 2020?

Creativity you’ve noticed (your own or others) possibly inspired by the pandemic?

 

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