Category Archives: 1960s

372F: Growing up in a convent

I’m trying to remember the name of a sweetly simple novel, not very long and probably published in the 1960s, about a young motherless girl whose father brings her to a convent so the nuns can raise her while he–works? Travels? I can’t recall. I believe it was written in first person, and the girl lives a fairly idyllic existence with the nuns, who treat her with every kindness until her father returns. She doesn’t always understand their little jokes, such as one involving “elbow grease” that I never forgot. The title and author, however, are another story.

371Q: Book about psychic Welsh boy and a mad bomber (Solved!)

The book was about a teenager in Wales who how can see visuals of other peoples thoughts.  He can’t hear anything so doesn’t know for sure what they are thinking, he can only see what they are visualizing.  His older brother is involved with a militant Welsh Nationalist group, but he can’t read his brother’s mind since the brother doesn’t “think in pictures”.
He keeps seeing thoughts of grey squiggles on a mustard yellow background but doesn’t know who they are coming from (it’s the bomber).
He eventually realizes his grandmother had an affair with his grandfather’s friend Hugh.  The grandfather and Hugh were killed in a mining accident.  The grandfather was also psychic so probably knew about the affair.
I read this book in the mid 1970’s but it might have been from the 1960’s.

371N: Vintage teen romance – California in the 1950s or early 1960s, boy next door, high school (Solved!)

Hoping for some more of that Bookstumper magic to strike again!
I loved this book in the mid-1970’s! It was old-fashioned even then, so I think it was written in the late 1950s or early 1960s, probably pre-Beatles.  I guess it’s what they used to call a “junior romance” and what we would describe as Young Adult today. I read it many times as a pre-teen, mooning over the sweet “boy next door” romance, and waiting for my own love life to begin. By the time I was actually dating in the late 1970’s I was too old for this book, so I’m sure I was reading it around 1975 or 1976, before I had moved on to Barbara Cartland’s historical romances.

It’s the story of a pretty and popular high school girl in a typical white, middle-class California family and her male buddy, as they begin to date. He woos her with many fun outings, fancy restaurants (I remember she saves her cocktail umbrellas and swizzle sticks) and a boat trip to Catalina Island.  Her name might be Lori?? I definitely remember she has an older sister named Andrea, because I fell in love with that name for a while. 
Our romantic heroine finally declares she’s won over by her suitor, just in time, as he empties out his pockets and reveals that he’s down to his last pennies. He spent all his savings in his pursuit of her heart.
In the meantime, she has given a starring performance in her high school play, with all her family attending to see her.  This is quite a success for her, because although she is bright and talented, she’s lackadaisical and  usually doesn’t stick with anything. There was some sort of trickery involved with her date and the whole family being in on some conspiracy to encourage her to stay with the play all the way to its performance time.  I believe they try to make her jealous by raving about another girl who is a wonderful actress, and arouse her spirit of competition.
I particularly remember the trip to Catalina and the trickery about the school play, and all the dating souvenirs. 
This is not a Beverly Cleary book, although it’s in the same family. I’m sure hoping someone else remembers this!  Thank you.

371K: Young woman who falls into drug use in the 60’s or 70’s (Solved!)

I am looking for a book I read as a teen circa 1999-2001. From what I remember, it was an autobiography written by a woman who fell into drug use and ended up in a cycle of addiction and prostitution. The book seemed dated even when I read it. The author mentions breaking open Benzedrine Inhalers and chewing on the cardboard on the inside. She also discusses how her boyfriend had to hide his drugs in a shampoo bottle so she would not find them. I am pretty sure she wound up in prison at some point because she discusses sending secret letters to the men’s side of the prison during movies. I do not remember where the book takes place, making things a bit hazy. I think it may be Christiane F, but decent copies of that book are pretty pricey, and I’d love to know if that is the one I need before I buy.

My mother does not remember what the book could have been, but I remember seeing it whenever we moved because I always helped her restock our bookshelves in the living room. It was pretty beaten up, which points me right back to Christiane F because many of the copies I see online have not aged well.

It is not Go ask Alice.

Thanks for any help, I know this is very vague, but after 24+ years, things are hazy for me.

370Z: Boy solves small-town summer mystery

In 1975 I read a young adult novel about a city boy sent to stay the summer at his grandmother’s house in a small town. He doesn’t want to be there and expects to have a boring time, but stumbles across a mystery that he decides to solve. None of the adults in town believe him, but he eventually solves the mystery with the help of an older, wisecracking boy from the town. I don’t remember any details other than that the town was very small and along a small river or large creek and his grandmother’s house was at the edge of town near the river. I think the story was set in the generic “midwest” or “northeast”. The book was probably written in the mid- to late 1960s or early 1970s. I don’t think it was part of a series.

370J: Man Cleans House To Win Contest

I had this paperback children’s book in 1970. It is probably from the 60s. It is an American book with words. The illustrations were line drawings.  
All I remember is that an old man lived possibly on a hill.  The town was having a cleaning contest, and he cleaned every bit of his house, and I distinctly remember he even cleaned the cobwebs out of the corners. The people came to judge his house and he won.  This may not be right, but my memory comes with the color yellow. Maybe the cover- or maybe the man wore yellow.  I’ve tried and tried to find this book. 

370F: Kids exploring cave during the depression era (Solved!)

I’ve been searching for this book for years.  I cannot remember all the details but the basics:
Farm kids during the great depression, I think a boy and a girl.  They go exploring a cave nearby and pretend its their mansion.  So they don’t get lost they use breadcrumbs but birds eat it.  They decide to use string instead.  A mystery of some sort is solved.  I seem to recall mention of the Hobos that would come around looking for work, and their family took one in and fed him a meal.  At the end of the book he left markings on their fence that was code for “friendly family” or something like that.  Other details: I THINK they took a canary into the cave, there was something to do with the underground railroad, and ration books were mentioned.  

I read this book when I was in 6th grade, possibly 1977/78.  It was an old book at the time, hardbound with the old fabric book covering. I think it had illustrations but can’t quite remember–I read a LOT in those days.  This book belonged to my mom who was born in 38–sadly its been long lost.