Love, Nancy

On Nancy Drew, nostalgia, and togetherness.

I still unearth the notes, hidden in desks and end tables. An archeologist of notebooks buried, their cardboard covers blunted and soft at the edges. Inside: numbers, phrases, symbols, crudely copied. Absolute gibberish that belies the hours and hours my mom, brother and I spent crammed in front of the computer desk—when such a thing existed—playing Nancy Drew games. 

There are no more hazy, stretched-out summer afternoons. That was then; now, with the technomancy of laptops, HDMI cords, and Bluetooth accessories, we sprawl comfortably across the living room to play on the television. 

My brother and I have moved away, spreading us across three states. But when we’re home, we give in to nostalgia, stealing evenings in the liminal post-holiday period. We play detective by firelight, under the orange-blue-red-green glow of the Christmas tree. 

These days I’m happy enough to cede control and act the armchair detective, at least until we get stuck. Then we rotate: couch, floor, chair, couch, floor, chair, until someone can solve the puzzle. We’re racing the clock—the puzzles have to be solved before we go our separate ways.

It’s a new tradition. We’ve forged a lot of those as my family has changed over the years.

Still, some things remain the same. The notebooks, and their nonsense notes and diagrams. The walkthroughs we’re not too proud to use. The familiar sign-off of each game: “Love, Nancy.” The three of us, together.

By Madison Butler

Madison Butler is a writer and editor at Sidequest and co-founder of the blog Critsumption. She also once got really into powerlifting via Fitness Boxing for the Nintendo Switch. You can find her on Twitter at @madisonrbutler.

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