Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Boxcars FTW


The Boxcar Children were my childhood companions and as long as the mysteries weren't too scary (book 7 or 8 with the creepy basement under the cave or whatever, I'm looking at you) I tried to read them in one sitting. Unfortunately, because I am made of lose I can't remember much about the books.

Here are things I can remember without using the internet:

benny, violet, henry, and.. and... I can't remember the other girl's name
grandfather alden
henry mows lawns
blue cup
solve mysteries
how do they find all these mysteries?
there is a housekeeper
the ages are fucked up

I don't have any of the books here at my current residence and I didn't plan this very well enough to get to the library and check any out so instead, you get to take the memory journey with me through the internet. Ready?

"The Boxcar Children is a children's literary franchise originally created and written by American writer and first-grade school teacher Gertrude Chandler Warner and which today includes well over 100 titles. The series is aimed at middle readers in Grades 2-4."

A hundred titles?! That's crazy! When I was wee there were only 30.

Detour: Gertrude Chandler Warner
"She was criticized for displaying children with little parental supervision; her critics thought that that would encourage child rebellion. Her response was, however, that the children liked it for that very reason."

Oh, G-C-Dub, LOVE. Also, you guys, she only wrote 19. Kinda like BSC.

"The first book tells the story of four children: Henry Alden, 14; Jessie Alden, 12; Violet Alden, 10; Benny Alden, 6; and their dog Watch. Upon the death of their mother and father, their grandfather assumes custody of the children, but they run away because they believe him to be cruel. Finding an abandoned boxcar, they start a new life of independence. A man named Dr. Moore, who lives in a nearby city, hires Henry to do jobs around his home, such as mowing the lawn and organizing his garage. With the help of Henry's income and living off the land, the children are able to take care of themselves until Violet becomes ill and they must go to Dr. Moore for assistance."

Jessie! That was her name. Besides that I have to say my memory wasn't too bad. Does Dr. Moore know that they are living out of a boxcar? I used to wonder this to myself often. How it was so shady. Probably I was wondering this because I was obsessed with the books longer after Grades 2-4.

"When Violet is taken ill, Dr. Moore finally contacts James Alden, who arrives just after the children bring in Violet for treatment. Not wanting to frighten the children into running away again, their grandfather referred to himself as Mr. Henry (Henry being his middle name). Not knowing that the man was their "cruel" grandfather, the children warm to his kindness and are surprised but delighted when Dr. Moore reveals to them that he is their grandfather. After moving in with their grandfather, Mr. Alden moves the boxcar to his backyard for their enjoyment."

and... the fuck? I mean, really, what?

"The Gertrude Warner Museum opened in a red boxcar in Putnam, Connecticut in 2004.[4]In July 2004, a museum in Putnam, Connecticut was opened to honor Gertrude Warner and the Boxcar Children series.

She is buried in Grove Street Cemetery, Putnam, Connecticut."

UM I MUST GO THERE! Road trip? Very yes.

In the list of books I've found "7 The Woodshed Mystery." This is the one that scared the shit out of me. I think I might have finally read it when I was in high school. There was a trap door and when the children opened it for the first time, I closed the book shut and moved on to #8 (Lighthouse Mystery, also scary btw). Amazon says that the phrase "potato pit" appears often in the book so perhaps that is where the trap door leads, but creepy people hang out there, I promise. (Amazon also says the phrase "old candlestick" appears often. I did some boxcar-style sleuthing and discovered that perhaps an old candlestick was found in the shady potato pit. It must be a clue.)

Also from Wackopedia, a list of strange circumstances they constantly stumble across:

The Aldens try to figure out why Bill disappeared.

Eccentric Aunt Jane needs help on her ranch. The Aldens overturn a plot against her.

Marooned on a mountain, the Aldens survive a landslide and find a Native American secret.

Benny's curiosity, while staying in a fishing village, leads to capturing a swindler. [Note: If Amazon could do that phrase thing for the whole series, "Benny's curiosity" would appear at least one billion times.]

Floating down a lazy river, Benny finds a blackmail scheme in progress.

The children try to clean up and old library so it can receive landmark status, but someone else tries to stop them.

The Boxcar Children try to find out who's responsible for causing some trouble at Edward Marlow's zoo.

Someone is trying to keep Max Greene from inheriting his great aunt's estate.

Man! Don't you want to read them all now?! I sure do. Too bad my mom told me that my collection (#1-31) got destroyed when the basement flooded.

I think I might check them out from the library though. That is, if someone else doesn't try to stop me!

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