One of the things that I love about being a writer and a reader is how scenes from a book will just stick with you.
The scene I'm writing about
today has stayed in my imagination for over 50 years. I'm sure I’ve
talked about this before - either here or on Seekerville - about how I used to get The Happy Hollister books in the
mail every month when I was a child.
I seriously wanted to be part of their
family, because they always did such cool things and had such fun
For the uninitiated, The Happy Hollisters are a
family of five children - Pete, Pam, Ricky, Holly and Sue - who lived with
their mother and father in a rambling house on a lake in the fictional town of Shoreham. (I don’t think I
ever really knew where Shoreham was, but it still exists in my imagination as sort of a utopia - except for the resident bully, Joey Brill.)
Mr. Hollister owned The Trading Post and Mrs. Hollister stayed home to take care of the children, their donkey Domingo and
their dog and cat, but they weren't often home they were always off on fun trips
solving interesting mysteries. As an adult I look back at the idea that
these children, the oldest of whom was 12, were off solving mysteries that the
adults couldn’t solve as kind of humorous, but as a child I loved it and I
looked forward to getting the two books in the mail each month. That was far and away the
happiest day of the month.
From the website: Over
one million children joined The Happy Hollisters Book Club between 1962
and 1971—were you one of them? Joining was easy: you (or your parents)
simply sent a dime (yes, one thin dime!) to become a member. In
exchange, you received a copy of The Happy Hollisters and the Haunted House Mystery,
sold in bookstores for a whopping $1.95. The initial volume was yours
to keep, even if you canceled your membership immediately. If you didn’t
cancel, you continued to experience the joy of reading The Happy
Hollisters, receiving one new volume each month for the low cost of
$1.00 (plus shipping and handling)—what a swell deal that was!
I don't remember this part, but I sure do remember getting the books every month!
I also found this on their website:
"Andrew Svenson’s goal in writing the youth mystery novels series was to
encourage a love of reading in children; each book was planned so that
the first page would draw the reader in with a dangerous or mysterious
situation, and each chapter would end with a cliffhanger or exciting
twist that encouraged the child to turn the page and keep reading."
As an author, I love the connection so many *cough 50 cough* years later.
So why am I blogging about The Happy Hollisters, you may be asking.
Well, I've been craving cheese and potatoes lately, and that brought to mind a scene from one of the books. I'm pretty sure it was from The Happy Hollisters and the Swiss Echo Mystery. In the scene, the Hollister children are visiting in a mountain village and one of the locals is a cheese maker. He shows them how they can take hot potatoes and hold them against the spinning wheel of cheese to make a tasty treat.
Honestly, on a night when
I don’t kick feel like cooking, a big wheel of cheddar cheese and hot
potatoes sounds like a fabulous combination. Alas, I had to settle for cheesy
fries to satisfy the craving, but the memory of reading that scene made them taste spectacular!
So my question for you today is are
there any scenes from books that particularly stand out for you because of
And what is your best recipe involving cheese and potatoes?