We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments for a series we’re calling “Nancy Drew Around the World.” Author Marilyn Zelke-Windau provided this photo taken at Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. Marilyn contributed the poem “Long Overdue,” featured below, to the collection.
I’m reading Frank Dixon now.
It’s a Hardy Boys Mystery.
I found it amongst your death’s leavings.
The first page is mildewed.
It says, “After 30 days, return to Dave.”
At bedtime, when I was eight,
I read Nancy’s stories
of the moss-covered mansion
and the broken locket
and the old clock, attic, stagecoach.
I was in love with Ned Nickerson.
You were curled up in your own room,
on the daybed, with your heroes.
Night pulled shades down at 9 o’clock
but parental rules mustered youthful ploys.
A flashlight beamed bright my sheet shelter.
In your room a nightlight was the factor at play.
Batteried lights didn’t burn holes in blankets.
They only woke us kids at 3.
Then, after droop-eyed bathroom calls,
our legs shifted mystery dog-eared pages
to bed bottom,
where reading would be resumed,
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Nancy Drew books were a mainstay of comfort for me as a young girl. I learned from her that it was okay to be a smart girl, to like puzzles, to try to figure out solutions—sometimes creative solutions—and to stick to a problem until an answer could be found. I cherished that alone time with Nancy, reading in bed, under the dining room table, or in the waterless bathtub with blankets and a pillow, door locked so that no one would interrupt me. Most of the books I checked out from the library. They had old bindings. I didn’t know then that there were several people who wrote under the pen name Carolyn Keene. Soon, Nancy’s mysteries were coming out more and more quickly. My allowance money was always gone at the bookstore. My birthday and Christmas lists became full of titles. I still have most of these books here at home. They stare at me and implore me to remember and reread them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marilyn Zelke-Windau is a Wisconsin poet and a former elementary school art teacher. She enjoys painting with words. Her poems have appeared in many printed and online venues including Verse Wisconsin, Stoneboat, Your Daily Poem, Midwest Prairie Review, and several anthologies. Her chapbook Adventures in Paradise (Finishing Line Press) and a full-length manuscript, Momentary Ordinary (Pebblebrook Press), were both published in 2014. She adds her maiden name when she writes to honor her father, who was also a writer.
Find the Nancy Drew Anthology at Amazon.com.