It was the summer of 1966. All of seven years old, I plowed through Nancy Drew book after Nancy Drew book, hardly letting one volume get cold before another warmed in my embrace. I read them after finishing my homework while taking a bath while eating dinner....
As Nancy and her chums followed the members of the Nature cult, it occurred to them that they might be walking into a trap. Once inside, there could be no retreat.
I clutched my copy of The Secret of Red Gate Farm even tighter, still not certain that all of the stories had happy endings. “Don’t do it, Nancy!” I exclaimed to no one in particular.
Just then, “DAVID! DAAAVVVID!” mom called from the bottom of the stairs. “It’s time to eat. And how many times have I told you not to shut your bedroom door! You could die up there and no one would hear you.” (Apparently, it was okay if I died ‘up there’ as long as somebody heard my last gasp.) “But mom, I can’t eat now, Nancy’s going into the cave!” “I don’t care if President Johnson’s going to Timbuktu. Your dinner’s getting cold!”
Her heart nearly failed her as she realized that each person, in filing past, was uttering some password. “We’re finished now,” she thought. “I wonder what will happen to us.” Slowly, I made my way downstairs, one hand holding the book and the other hand groping for the railing. Without looking up, I took my place across from my father Roy at the dinner table, put the book in front of my plate, and continued to read. “Some meatloaf, Dear?” mom inquired. “ Uuuummmmm…”
They descended into a cold, damp tunnel. Someone was carrying a torch at the head of the procession, but Nancy and her friends, who were near the end of the line, were in semi-darkness. “What do you suppose we’re getting into?” George muttered. I reached out to turn the page. “DAVID, WATCH OUT! AAAHHHHHHH!” Mom screamed. Down went the water glass, its contents soaking the tablecloth and creeping towards the edge of the dining table. “ROY, QUICK!” Mom yelled, throwing all of the paper napkins into the approaching flood.
This was a universal fear of every baby-boom mother with carpeting in the kitchen. It may be easier to vacuum than to wax, but God help us all if somebody spilled something! Thus was Nancy banished from the dinner table and relegated to the bedroom and bathroom (and the basement and the patio and the backseat of the car). Finally, I came to the last chapter of the very last book on my shelf. I had read all of them. My affair with Nancy had been passionate but brief, and now it was over. Or so I thought.
MEET THE AUTHOR: DAVID FARAH
Born in 1958 at the height of the baby-boom, I did not take up reading early or with gusto when forced to consume Fun with Dick and Jane (the children’s series, not the porn). Nancy introduced me to the love of reading, a habit I still carry today. I wrote my first book at the age of ten, Treasure Mountain, a harrowing tale about, you guessed it, a treasure on a mountain, a blatant copy of The Hardy Boys which I had moved onto after Nancy. Illustrated and bound in cardboard, one copy still exists in the hall closet as a reminder not to become an author but to settle into a productive life of optometry, medicine, and the law.
Now that my productive life has ended, hopefully, I can devote my time to my real passions of writing ribald humor and biting satire to be read by few and understood by less. At any rate, I expect to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize the day after I croak and it gives me great satisfaction to know that ahead of time...
David Farah, OD, MD, JD and a little BS