The amazing thing for many of us Baby Boomer females was that the 56 original Nancy Drew mysteries didn't wake us up to feminist values.
There I was in 1955, at Sacred Heart Grade School in Jersey City, New Jersey. I would trade with classmate Janet Spillane Nancy Drew mysteries. When it came time to report in front of the class on books we girls crowed over this or that of Nancy's relentless investigations. To pursue a clue, that 18-year-old would interrupt a date and energetically push forward, even to the end of a cliff.
However, not one of us questioned Eisenhower-era values about family and the female's role in it. We were happily headed to be good Catholic wives and mothers. Until that blessing, our parking space was going to be teaching English or history at a Catholic school, just like the one we were attending.
In 1970, on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan I began to hear that I had a self. No, I was not just someone's wife or mother. And, I could do anything with that self. Maybe I took in that information because I was still reeling from an engagement I had just broken.
Why hadn't the independent ethos of Nancy Drew penetrated our generation of women sooner? Maybe because The Pill hadn't been invented yet. We were all too scared about becoming pregnant so none of us dared deviate from being the good girl.