The Ultimate Youthful Accessory
When I was a little girl, my parents had good friends who had a very pretty daughter.
Carolyn was about nine years older than me, and so very mysterious. My sisters were a little older than me, but there was no mystery there – they were just slightly more obnoxious versions of me. And they did disgusting things, like blow their nose, and poop. I was sure Carolyn did not.
She was stylish and quiet, and for the most part, she completely ignored me. And so I adored her (from afar).
But I remember one summer day. I must have been about nine, and so Carolyn was probably eighteen. Our families were at a local lake having a picnic, and we needed something – ketchup or relish or something – and Carolyn volunteered to make a run to the grocery store. And she took some of us kids with her.
IN HER CONVERTIBLE!
Holy cow. That was so cool. Carolyn wore sunglasses and she had a little headscarf to keep her hair in place, with her curly ponytail sticking out the back of the kerchief, blowing in the breeze. She was the most beautiful girl in the world.
And not only that: In her convertible, she was just like my idol – Nancy Drew.
The Nancy Drew books were my first ‘adult’ books. That is, books without pictures on every page. (In truth, I also inherited the Bobbsey Twin books from my sisters, but even without pictures, I considered those ‘baby books’.)
I had a dozen Nancy Drew books which my sisters had outgrown. “The Hidden Staircase” was my favorite.
Nancy was smart and independent, and pretty. Her father let her go all over the world – by herself. She had adventures. She had a boyfriend. And she had a little blue convertible.
That’s who I wanted to be.
My name was Nancy too. The Bobbsey Twins had a Nan, but she was such a wuss. I wanted to be Nancy Drew in my little blue roadster.
But somewhere in high school or college or graduate school or working for the last forty years, I forgot.
And here I am. Sixty-one and getting ready to retire while at the same time trying desperately and pathetically to look as young as possible.
For the last nine months we have needed to replace my husband’s beat-up SUV. We looked at a lot of semi-beat-up SUVs. Nothing excited us. But we continued to look.
And last month on the way to the grocery store, I saw a car, and a memory jolted me. I had a revelation. A youthful revelation.
“Let’s not get a practical car,” I said to my husband. “Let’s get a little convertible.”
And after nine months of searching unenthusiastically a dull car, it took us two weeks to find a bright blue convertible.
I feel just like Carolyn/Nancy Drew. I’m eighteen again, and I’m driving my little roadster.
The breeze is whipping my sixty-one-year-old hair.