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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Confession: I wanted to be Harriet the Spy

When Harriet the Spy was released, I was obsessed. I loved everything about it. I loved the bright orange NICKELODEON VHS it played on. I loved the opening Nickelodeon sequence that had a running rhino. I loved every character, every line, every prop...everything. I loved it so much that I became a little obsessive.

So obsessive, in fact, that I tried to be Harriet. I thought Harriet was the coolest name, way cooler than Jessi. I would wear my red raincoat around the house whenever I wasn't watching the movie: the small pockets filled with little things I considered gadgets. Maybe a mirror, pens, a watch, anything a spy would use, just like Harriet. But most importantly, I carried a notebook.
I became obsessed with the black and white composition notebooks, and I'd specifically ask for those from my parents. I must have had and filled dozens of them with observations, notes, ramblings. I guess I have Harriet to thank for inspiring some of my earlier writing. 

I tried reading the book (once I discovered it existed) years later, but it wasn't the same. Harriet the Spy was the perfect movie in my eyes, and I idolized her. Her notebook would later be discovered by classmates and read, something that would happen to me as well a few years later. Thank goodness they didn't start some sort of "Spy Catchers Club" and turn on me like they did poor Harriet.


I hate to print a spoiler alert for those who haven't seen this classic, but Harriet turns things around in the end when she is chosen to be editor of the class newspaper and prints a compelling retraction. I had completely forgotten until now that she was the editor of the paper; isn't it funny how things turn out? I've been in two editor positions now and can't wait to be an actual spy, err- journalist. Maybe Harriet inspired me more than I'll ever know.


photo via (we heart it)

6 comments:

Rodney said...

I had a very similar experience with Encyclopedia Brown! It pushed me to study more than the rest of my class and earned me the name of "Walking Dictionary".

It was meant to be an insult, but I loved it. Encyclopedia was taken, so I was happy with Dictionary!

Grace said...

Harriet the spy was my hero. :)

Stephanie said...

I man, I loved kid spies! There was Nancy Drew, and Harriet, and I had another set up books, I can't remember them now, where the girl was a high school spy and her Grandma was an ex-detective. SO GOOD!

Grace Denny said...

That's awesome - I loved Harriet the Spy too, but I didn't become this obsessive...but kudos to you!

Deanna Wagner said...

dude I did the same thing! i would carry the notebook around and spy on people in my neighborhood. hehe i felt important at the time.

M├Ągi said...

DUDE! Me too!

I ran around in a huge adult trench coat and hid behind chairs writing down everything in a notebook.

Wish we had been friends.

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