Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And I still don't know how to pick locks

Mug of the Day:




(Plus cookies.) My Cats mug is one of my oldest; I've had it probably since middle school. And while Cats is not my favorite show (it's kind of boring, isn't it?) it does exemplify the embarassing-yet-intense obsession I used to have with Broadway musicals. I knew every word to nearly every remotely-famous show by the time I was 13. Phantom was my favorite. Nowadays I still like musical theater in a general sense, though a lot of what I used to think was grand and passionate just seems overwrought now.

At any rate, that mental trip back to the awkward middle school years reminded me of another obssession I had that I've never fully gotten over:

Spies.

It all started with Harriet the Spy in third grade. Then came Nancy Drew. And I vividly remember trying to research locks at my elementary school library, reasoning if I knew how locks operated, it would be easier for me to pick them. The library was sadly understocked on lock-mechanism books.

When I was about 10, I tried writing a story about Cold War spies. I got about three notebook pages into it before realizing I knew exactly two things about the Cold War: 1.) we fought the Soviet Union and 2.) spies were involved. Not promising.

Then there was the WWII French Resistance. That was much more promising, because by age 12 I at least had a working knowledge of WWII. Plus I'd read a Sweet Valley High super-special-legacy book in which, I think, one of Jessica and Elizabeth's ancestors was in the French Resistance. Fighting the Nazis while hiding innocent Jews in French grain silos and communicating in code? Heck yes. Time to look up some French names.

So I went back to the library for more research. I remember checking out a biography of Albert Camus with no idea who he was, other than the book came up when I searched the card catalog for "French Resistance." It was dry, dull stuff. Where were the grain silos? Instructions on how to cut telegraph wires?

I (thought I) grew out of spies by high school. But the title of my college undergrad thesis was "Girls Who Spy: Prefeminism in Mid-20th Century Children's Literature" so um...I guess not.

What were your weird childhood obsessions? Do you mind sharing them here? And are you still just a teensy bit obsessed?

8 comments:

Dominique said...

I was heavy into Greek Mythology in elementary school. To this day, I've got all sorts of Greek gods and goddesses racketing around in my brain.

jmberrygirl said...

Totally obsessed with "who-done-its" from The Bobsey Twins to Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys to Mary Higgins Clark thrillers and Sandra Brown, graduated to John Grisham, James Patterson, David Baldacci, and many, many more. Now my father-in-law and I exchange them. We're both a little obsessed. I'm totally jealous that he's retired and can spend an entire day between the pages, while I'm restricted to evenings and weekends.

Crimey said...

I was obsessed with thriller novels and mostly, I still am. Although now I try to mix it up a bit.

Liana Brooks said...

LOTR - My favorite movie was the cartoon version of LOTR, I took a copy of The Hobbit in for Kindergarten show and tell. I actually had my first fight with my parents when my father bought me a book that wasn't by Tolkein, didn't have Gimli or Legolas (my favorite characters), and not word one about elves. I think I was seven at the time.

At some point between Tolkein and today a sci-fi book caught my attention at the library and I've been reading those ever since. :o)

TERI REES WANG said...

Oh, I am still that stupid little cheeky bugger asking...
"Why?..but why?...How?"
As in 'Why is the sky blue'?..

And still I am obsessed with color and healing and science and psyche...and why and how the female mind-heart connection works.

Judy Blume!..are you there God it's me Margaret. I made lasting friends ships with those few who happened to spy me reading this book.

Anna Claire said...

Liana, that's so funny you mention the LOTR cartoon because JB LOVED it when he was younger. He even has a couple of the songs from it on his mp3 player now and sometimes plays them just for kicks. Very 70s-tastic. Like Peter, Paul & Mary with wizard-like synthesizer sound effects.

Kate said...

Oh I loved Nancy Drew! And Sweet Valley High embarassingly!

Kate x

lunardancer said...

When it comes to spies, no other spy story has entranced me more than the hilarious "spy vs.spy" in Mad magazine. Even in the absence of lines, the humor is evident(though not necessarily funny all the time). And yes with Nancy Drew comes the Hardy Boys too. As a young girls, I thought that they may have been related with each other in a way even if they had their separate adventures tee hee.