When I was a kid, I was fascinated with the concept of being a spy. I watched shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, I Spy and The Avengers, and of course James Bond movies. I read detective novels such as the Nancy Drew books. When the book Harriet the Spy came out, I was totally fascinated. I bought lots of notebooks and tried to take tomato sandwiches every day in my lunch but it became difficult when tomatoes weren't in season.
But my ultimate favorite was Honey West, girl spy.
Played by Anne Francis, Honey West was a television show about a girl who inherited her father's detective business. Honey had a pet ocelot and a sidekick named Sam Bolt. Their transportation was a specially-equipped mobile crime lab/spy van with "H.W. Bolt and Co., TV Service" on the side. Honey had all sorts of cool devices like a lipstick microphone. (She didn't have Max Smart's shoe telephone, though.)
Totally enamored with the idea of being a spy, I decided to see if I could discover any neighborhood secrets. Only two things stopped me: 1) I wasn't allowed out of the yard, and 2) our yard was enclosed by a 5 foot high board fence. Not to be foiled, I came up with a brilliant plan. I would climb up on the top of my playhouse (a shed that was shorter than regular buildings) and spy from the rooftop!
My willing partner in this scheme was my little brother. I explained to him that he was Sam Bolt and I was Honey West. His part was to help hoist me up to the edge of the roof and then I would climb up to the rooftop. Never athletic, the struggles of getting up on the roof required much grunting and scrabbling on the shingles. Any criminal within the vicinity would have heard someone coming. To make matters worse, once I was crawling up to the ridge of the roof, Sam began bawling, "Jerr... how am I going to get up there?" "Ssh...I'm not Jerr, call me Honey West. Sam doesn't climb the rooftop, he stays on the ground to catch Honey in case she falls!"
Finally, I made it to the ridge of the roof and peered over to see what I could see. Horrors! There on the other side of the fence was David, the neighborhood menace. He was standing there with his arms crossed, a knowing smirk on his face. "Why hello, Honey West, are you spying on me?"
Cheeks flushed with embarrassment, I beat a quick retreat back to the ground.
Never a quitter, I tried again on other days. I learned to use climbing up on a chair instead of my little brother to reach the edge of the roof. It was quieter, and he didn't much like being Sam anyway. Yet, anytime I surveyed the neighborhood from my rooftop perch I never learned anything new. It was just my luck to live in a place where there were no spies or criminals .... Of course, now I realize that anyone could glance up and see a kid on top of a roof looking at anything they might do!
I never quite lost my fascination with spying .... I discovered the Emily Pollifax novels and Miss Marple mysteries and read them over and over.
I came to realize, though, I could never be a spy. I just wasn't observant enough!
Case in point: I was a young married driving home from work one day. My husband's vehicle had broke down on the side of the road. As I approached, he saw me and thought "Thank God, I can get a ride," and started waving at me. I kept driving, my mind lost in its own dreamworld. He realized I didn't see him and he began yelling and jumping up and down. I blew right past him and went on home never seeing the crazy person on the side of the road.
If he had been a Russian spy, I could be dead right now.
I'm linking this post up over at Mama Kat's.