Icon: Nancy Drew

It’s still on my wish list. That blue convertible, I mean. And to have perfectly coiffed titian hair (though “titian” was a word that confounded my childhood vocabulary for many years) and, of course, the ability to be showered, dressed and ready in “only 20 minutes” as she so often is.

Of course, we speak of Nancy. The only Nancy. Nancy Drew.

Beloved by awesome, fearless, highly achieving females everywhere, from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Oprah, Nancy captivated my childhood with her tales of daring, fortitude, common sense, and kindness. She made us believe that anything was possible – it’s probably not a ghost, but it might be! Eeee! – and that we could tackle most anything on our own if we had to. Especially because, more often than not, she had to. Ned didn’t show, her dad was off trying a case, or her trusty sidekicks Bess and George were lost or were being held hostage. Nancy just hitched up her sundress and went to work, saving the world one bad guy at a time.

Kathleen Parker’s column in the Washington Post explains the psychology of our love affair with Nancy in ways that I cannot. But I can say that, without Nancy, I would not have an overnight kit in the back of my car, I would not sleep with a flashlight under my pillow, and I would not have the ability (one of my finer points, I’d like to say) to be showered, dressed and ready in only 20 minutes.

What did your literary heroine teach you?

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