Channelling my inner Nancy Drew

I grew up on good, old-and-yet-perpetually-young Nancy Drew. I just couldn’t get enough of those hard-bound editions – you know, the ones with the illustrated front covers and yellow backs, and spine-tingling titles like The Secret of the Old Clock and The Hidden Staircase.

Screen shot of Google search of images of Nancy Drew books

I guess what I liked most about Nancy was her tenacity – once she set out to find out something, she never stopped until she solved the mystery.

A recurring mystery in my life was whatever happened to my childhood friend Candice, whose family relocated to the States when we were in elementary school. We wrote back and forth for a while, but (as is often the case) we eventually lost touch.

I always wondered what happened to her, so recently I decided to put my inner Nancy Drew to work, along with something Nancy never had: Google. One little byte of information led to another, and to make a long story short, a few weeks ago Candice and I had our first conversation in twenty five years.

My dad says that I’m in the wrong profession, that I should be a detective – which is very gratifying. Nancy would be proud.

But even more rewarding is the feeling that I’ve recovered another missing piece of my childhood, a touchstone to a time when making friends was as easy as knocking on someone’s door and asking her to come out and play.

Finding a message from Candice in my inbox is a lot like opening my door and finding her there again. A short and sweet “Hello, how is your week going?” goes a long way towards bridging twenty five years and a few thousand miles. I’m so touched that she takes the time to do this, in the midst of her work and wedding plans.

In our busy and complicated adult world, it’s a real blessing to be reminded of the things that we knew when we were children: that friends always have time for friends, that many of life’s mysteries actually have simple answers, and that we can build – and rebuild – beautiful things, one building block at a time. Saying “Hi, how are you?” can make someone’s day; it can bring someone far away a little closer; it can even make a whole new friend. Try it and see.


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