I came by my love of reading honestly. My mother loves to read, as did my grandfather. When I was young, there were no such things as kindergarten or pre-schools. When I started first grade, I was closer to seven(an accident of my date of birth; a week earlier and I would have started the year before) and had no knowledge of reading. I ended up winning a prize for reading the most books that first year.

I couldn’t think of any particular forgotten book from when I was a child and had to think a while on my favorite childhood book. I’m not sure the one I selected IS exactly the right one. There have been so many books since then and the time kind of blurs. I narrowed it down to two candidates, both rather obvious choices for pre-teenage boys of my generation. Or rather two series. Tom Swift and The Hardy Boys(I think I even read a Nancy Drew or two. But, after all, how much fun could she have had? She was just a girl(hah)! These two series accelerated my love like no other. I devoured every book in both that I could get my hands on, whether it was the school library or the public one.

This was before I discovered “real” science fiction(Heinlein’s Tunnel In The Sky; a previously told story). Tom Swift had a few of the SF tropes, but it was more of an adventure series to me. But the Hardy Boys was probably my love back then in my pre-puberty years(I’m sure I was in a cult of millions here).

Now which book? The Hardy Boys were on The Mickey Mouse Club way back then and was likely where I first developed an interest(in more things than The Hardy Boys. Puberty was close and Annette was cute; Hah!). The Tower Treasure was the one adapted for the show.

The books I read weren’t the originals, of course. those started appearing in 1927, created by Edward Stratemeyer and supplied by a group of ghost writers as by Franklin W. Dixon. In 1959, extensively revised editions that eliminated racial stereotypes and were updated were released(example: running boards on cars disappeared), written in a simpler style to coincide with the TV serial.

There has been some dust-up lately about Harlequin reprinting some of their fifties hardboiled novels and editing them to make them more PC in relation to the attitudes and mores of an earlier generation. People were rightfully disgusted that they seemed to think that modern audiences would be offended, not able to understand they reflected a different time.

Rightfully so.

Mention was made in a comment about the editing of The Hardy Boys. These, in my opinion, were a different case. These books were intended for young children who actually might be too young to know what they were reading was a different time and place and were not proper any longer.

Now on to the books.

The boys’ father, Fenton Hardy, is a detective and they fancy themselves detectives as well. And of course, they do well, involving themselves sometimes in their father’s cases and sometimes finding their own.

Lara is their mother, Aunt Gertrude is their aunt, and Chet Morton and Biff Hooper were among their friends that aided them in their cases. They all lived in Bayport.

The plot: Hurd Applegate has been robbed. Forty thousand dollars in jewelry and securities have disappeared
. He blames his caretaker Henry. The Hardy brothers get involved because their friend, Perry, is Henry’s son and they believe him innocent.

They investigate behind their father and succeed in finding the real thief. When he dies in police custody, they then have to figure out where the missing loot is hidden.

That’s the basic plot for both versions.

I went through all the books I could find, though not sure whether I ever read them all. And since they still are adding new titles(as well as re-revising older ones), I have thought of trying one just to see how they are. It likely wouldn’t work though. Older and more sophisticated(I hope), the magic of those younger years can’t be recreated.

Ah well.