2018 A to Z: S… All About Nancy Drew

2018 A to Z: S… All About Nancy Drew

S glassIn 2016 I learned of the first annual April A to Z… it immediately intrigued me and I began racking my brain for a theme. After much reading, and thinking… I finally came up with the theme of Southern Foods and Memories… it said to write what you know! When April of 2017 rolled around, I decided to share Conversations with Mama to the world… the best of my on-going blog post that has generated from nightly talks to my mother. It’s now 2018 and as Nancy Drew has been on my mind… since I began re-building my collection back… well, I hope you will join me in celebrating All about Nancy Drew during the April A to Z Blog Hop!


S is for Signatures, Spines, Sleuthing Party, Storylines, and Superstitions


As I began finding Nancy Drew books, I also found many with signed signatures on the inside front pages. They were the names of the first owners from many years ago; their name tells much more. You get a feel for the year by just the signature itself, as you often can tell it’s a young girls script of her name… and if she wrote her address and telephone number…. even more, clues! If their phone no. was written with no area code, it was a good reference that it was maybe mid-60’s; different parts of the country used area codes before others so you might have to research that.

Were you one of those girls who wrote your name in your Nancy Drew books? I sure wish I could remember, but in as much as I try… I still have no clue! I wrote my name on many things and other books, so I’m assuming I did…. and what I wouldn’t give to have just one book with my name written inside. None of my books were saved… and not sure why, but I hope they found a good home! I’ve often tried and tried to think about reading my books… picturing my name on the page… as I kept a diary and wrote my name in them, but having none of my original Nancy Drew books… I have no specific proof, just a guess! I’ve asked my mom, but unfortunately, she doesn’t remember either… darn it! I really need to be able to go back in time, just for one quick moment to take a peak… and if I go back, I’m not coming back without one of my books!

I’ve found that there will be a Friends of the Library book sales this April (26) in Perry…. my hometown and guess what? I’m hoping to attend that “book sale” Wouldn’t that be a miracle if I discovered one of my old books there… if I opened a book and saw my name, I think I’d feel I was in a dream. I know it’s a long shot, but a girls gotta dream!


yellow spines

When your hunting Nancy Drew books… what catches your eye? Those famous yellow spines are what stops my eye on a shelf of books! They are the ones I grew up with, unlike my mother who grew up with the blue tweeds covered by the famous artsy dust jackets! Since I’ve become “hooked” again on Nancy Drew, I’ve discovered that there are many more different “spines” to look for… more than I ever knew!

Even hubby has gotten quite good at spotting them… often calling me over to show what he’s found. I need to show him all the other book styles… he may be missing many of the good ones!

What I do remember about my Nancy Drew books… is those yellow spines sitting on my bookshelf… if I could only close my eyes and read the titles!

Sleuthing Party:

If I planned a sleuthing party… and I’m hoping my granddaughters will want one… one day… well, I’m already planning!

Sleuthing 101 Party Goodies:

  • Flashlights: every “Nancy” needs a handy flashlight in looking for clues… and never forget to have extra batteries on hand. Teach the girls how to use the flashlight to send out an SOS signal and what it means. If our Nancy had an I-Phone, she’d have a flashlight built in! SOS signal: 3 short, 3 long, 3 short.
  • Magnifying Glass: a must in a sleuthing purse or tucked inside a pocket for a closer look in trying to identify a fingerprint.
  • Compass: you never know… when you might need to know in which direction your suspect went… after all, there was no GPS in her old roadster!
  • Red Lipstick: a girl should never leave home without this in her purse… how would you write your SOS help message on a window! (The mothers might not like this one)
  • Notepad and Pen: A must in your sleuthing purse… to write down your clues or phone numbers. Today I use “notes” in my I-Phone but Nancy was in 1930!
  • Overnight Bag: It never hurts to have a bag packed in the trunk of your car, and a swimsuit is a must; going for an impromptu swim always seems to come Nancy’s way. Doesn’t she always end up at a lake somewhere? (I could pack all their goodies inside the overnight bag)
  • Snacks: Every sleuth knows she should have snacks packed at all times. Who knows when your car might break down or become stranded in a snowstorm! Has Nancy ever been snowed in?
  • Bobby Pins: Another must to have… a bobby pin in your hair or a couple tucked somewhere as they just might help you get inside that locked door… or even out of that locked closet!
  • Puzzle Pieces: The clues could be written on them, and after gathering all the pieces… they are put together to spell out where the missing suitcase is!
  • Nancy Drew books: what the girls will find after following their clues… a suitcase full of Nancy Drew books. Who wouldn’t like to pick out a new book to take home! One way to create new Nancy Drew readers!

Nancy must have been a Girl Scout in growing up, as they are taught to always “be prepared”! I’ll have to check the newer Clue Crews and Notebooks and see if the younger Nancy at age 8 ever joined the Girl Scouts.

Can you picture the birthday girls bringing home the “goodie bag” and trying to explain what they’re going to do with that red lipstick… the mothers will wonder what kind of party was planned! (you might better clue the moms in ahead of time about that lipstick!)

Now let’s plan desserts…

As to the cake, what would we make other than a Nancy Drew book cake! I’m not sure if I’m talented enough to design that myself… but taking a book to the bakery should solve that problem unless you’re a talented cake decorator. I know I’d have a hard time in deciding which book cover though!

Last Halloween I saw a sleuthing party having cookies in the shape of a magnifying glass… how cool is that! I’m not a fan of making roll-out cookies, but I bet that same bakery who makes the cake could make those also… unless you happen to enjoy rolling out cookie dough. The last time I rolled out cookie dough was when I made sugar cookies to look like french fries for a father’s day picnic… I had also made muffins that looked like hamburgers. After all that bending over the table, I had a stiff back for several days!

In as Nancy served lemonade so often, I’d be sure to serve a big pitcher of freshly squeezed in her honor! (see Letter P for magnifying cookies and recipe)

Every sleuthing party needs a good mystery… but I’m leaving that up to you. I can’t divulge my mystery here as prying eyes might see! Now go plan your sleuthing party!


It is Edward Stratemeyer who we credit for the idea and beginning storylines for Nancy Drew… breathing life into our Nancy. Way before he dreamed up Nancy Drew, he was already writing children books like the Hardy Boys… and even though he didn’t finalize the complete first three books, he wrote the outlines… it was Mildred W. Benson who first began molding her into the girl we love… pulling all his ideas together.

Stratemeyer died a few weeks after the first Nancy Drew was published, but his storylines continued through his daughter Harriet, as she took over running the company while Benson continued with the writings. Between the two of them, they continued to breathe life into Nancy Drew… and she’s still going strong. Just walk into any bookstore and ask for Nancy Drew… everyone knows who she is! Whether you’ll find the coveted yellow spines on the shelf is another problem though, as I’m usually told… “they go out as fast as they come in.” That’s the one line I don’t like to hear when I’m on the hunt!


I don’t think I’ve read that Nancy was superstitious, but she once was accused of being a witch in The Witch Tree Symbol by the Amish people… who were being very superstitious. Nancy, George, and Bess were led to the Pennsylvania Dutch country in pursuit of a thief after they found a witch tree symbol.

In The Ghost of Blackwood Hall, Nancy searched for the jewels of the very superstitious Mrs. Putney.

My Superstitions… As a young girl, I remember plucking Daisy petals off to the tune of “Love Me”… “Love Me Not.” Did I believe… No… but it was fun in trying to guess. And who doesn’t look for a Four Leaf Clover in the grass… I don’t remember if I ever found one!

  • Reading my daily horoscope was very popular with me and I bought many horoscope books as a teenager… reading them every single day! I think I was a daydreamer!
  • Ouija boards… my girlfriend and I often played around with one… hoping and probably making that pointer move to where we wanted.
  • Walking under ladders – I always think about how it’s bad luck to walk under and I always walk around… never under!
  • Step on the crack – remember the old kid saying… “don’t step on the crack, you’ll break your mama’s back.” It sounds so silly and I have no clue where it originated from but even today walking on a sidewalk, I watch my steps! I often find myself saying it to the granddaughters today.. and laugh as they start stepping over the cracks!
  • Palm reading – my girlfriend and I stopped once to have our palms read. I think she told me I’d marry a dark-haired man… that wasn’t too hard… and I did!
  • Rabbit’s foot – who had one? I had a few in growing up and never gave a thought to it, but I bet my granddaughters would go “ewe” thinking about someone cutting off a rabbit’s feet… did they really do that?
  • Horseshoes – if you hang one, you must hang it with the open ends up… hang them down… all your good luck will drain out.
  • Chain letters – haven’t we all received those… telling us to send to 13 friends or bad luck will follow.  Now they come to us on Facebook… as who writes letters anymore!
  • Witches – I once wrote an essay report in high school on white witches and insisted to the teacher that I was a white witch… which is a good witch! I’m sure she raised her eyebrows at me! Sure wish I kept that report!
  • I have had instances where I believe “someone” was trying to contact me. While in Georgia reading the book, Dahlonega Haunts… reading specifically a story about a cousin, Lizzie Gooch. That same night, my daughter was spending the night in Lizzie Borden’s house in Massachusetts. Every time I started to read the story, the lights on my cell phone lit up… but no one was calling… or were they?
  • There are times when a butterfly crosses my path in an unusual way and makes me feel that someone is saying hello. Once, a butterfly landed on my camera bag and he was very insistent as not wanting to leave! It made me feel like my father was trying to say hello.
  • Who doesn’t think of someone trying to say hello when they see a red cardinal fly into view… I’ve often had one hang around on the tree in the front yard as if he’s watching me!
  • Dreams – are your dreams a little superstitious in making you feel as if someone came to you in your dreams? I often dream of my father, but in my dreams, I can never find him. That specific dreams puzzle me!

Nancy was more true-footed in following her intuition to solve her mysteries, but often the many she helped… were just a little superstitious!

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Want to read more, click below…. 

2018: A to Z – All About Nancy Drew 

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2018: A to Z - All About Nancy Drew, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 2018 A to Z: S… All About Nancy Drew

  1. Anne Young says:

    Planning the sleuthing party seems to be progressing well. Your grand daughters and their friends should enjoy it.
    Visiting from A to Z

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    Some bakeries will photograph an image onto edible paper for the top of a cake; however, they are careful about copyright issues so the book cover could be a problem. I would opt for an image that suggests a Nancy Drew mystery like a clock or hidden staircase or something else.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. kristin says:

    When I was in college, a woman hollared at me from the porch, offering to read my palm. Actually there were several about my age. I didn’t her up on it and always wondered what it would have been.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim says:

    I know I wrote my name in a few of my books… but I have no idea what became of those. I used to enjoy opening secondhand books and seeing others’ names scrawled in. Felt like we were sharing a secret. Lol.
    I love your sleuthing party plan!

    Liked by 1 person

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