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We went on our annual family vacation to Hilton Head Island, S.C. at the end of July, and I like to do a day trip to nearby Savannah, Ga. whenever we are there. While we were in the visitors’ center a brochure for a used bookstore caught my eye, so we checked it out. As you can imagine, I was entranced the second I walked in, especially when I walked into the back of the shop. One entire wall contained used copies of the Trixie Belden mystery series. My jaw dropped and then my heart sank.
I had a history with the series that came rushing back to me in that instant. When I was 12, I was sent to stay with my grandmother in Louisiana for a few weeks. I was lonely and missed my friends and I’m sure my grandmother sensed it. One night she handed me a large bag full of paperback books (to this day I’m not sure where they came from. Her attic, I guess.) with the words “Trixie Belden” across the covers. Because I loved to read and had already exhausted my reading material, I gratefully dove into the first one, a mystery. I lost myself in the world of Trixie, who lived with her family on the fictional Crabapple Farm, located near the Hudson River Family. She formed a sort of club christened "The Bob-Whites" with her best friend Honey Wheeler, and their brothers and cousins. They basically gallivanted all over upstate New York solving a new mystery in each book. Trixie was everything I wasn’t—bold, adventurous, headstrong, and curious. I read the books over and over, and when my visit with my grandmother ended, she happily packed the books with my things.
When I walked into the used bookstore in Georgia, and saw all the Trixie Belden editions lined up lovingly on the shelves, a wave of sadness hit me. During one of my many moves as a teenager, I lost track of my collection of Trixie Belden books. And my collection of Lois Duncan and Christopher Pike books. The owner walked over to me and said, “Are you a Trixie girl?” and then showed me a framed first edition cover she had hanging on her wall. I told her how I was sad because I used to have at least 30 of the books (there were two different authors and many different book cover reproductions over the years--I had versions published in the late 1970s) and they are actually now worth quite a bit of money. She suggested I check into some of the fan groups on Facebook to learn more about the editions and see if I can track down any of my old copies. I probably wrote my name in them and didn’t even think about it at the time.
After visiting that bookstore, I had so many questions about this book collection that remains tied to my past. Why did my grandmother have all of them? Did they originally belong to one of my aunt or cousins and she was holding on to them for safekeeping? Did I ever thank her for giving me such a gift? She passed away several years ago so it’s too late for that now. I wonder if my grandmother knew I would grow up to be a writer and wanted to encourage me. I also wonder how many authors have similar collections of books that they hold near and dear to their hearts. Maybe one day I’ll see if I can track down some of my old copies, if they are out there somewhere.
Do you have any collections of books or a series of books by one author? Why are they special to you? What was your favorite series that you read growing up?
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