I read a dozen or more of the Hardy Boys mysteries, which means I barely scratched the surface. I don't know how many were written but the author's name, Franklin W. Dixon, was a pseudonym for several people who wrote Hardy Boy books from the 1920s to the 1970s or 1980s. I was reading these mostly in the 1950s so I missed a lot of the more famous children’s adventure stories that come to mind these days. I must say, the Hardy Boys had a much more exciting life than I did. I don't recall much of any one story since they all morphed into one nebulous blur. Our school burned down when I was in second grade so we all had to rely on whatever the library bookmobile brought to the neighborhood and the supply was limited.
I grew up on the far reaches of suburbia with a wild and wooly forest and vacant farm land just beyond my backyard so the Hardy Boys' adventures were reasonably plausible to me at that age. Who knew what spies lurked beyond my back fence? Maybe there were foreign refugees being held against their will just beyond the old cornfield. My friends and I patrolled the area but never found any spies or evil-doers.
I recall that a short-wave radio figured in one of the mysteries and I just happened to have access to an old Crosley radio with a short-wave receiver. I couldn't send anything but I could monitor transmissions and the Hardy Boys inspired me to spend more quality time with the short-wave radio. I spent a good amount of time trying to listen for Sputnik and then branched out to listen to foreign broadcasts...like Radio Moscow or the English language broadcasts from Paris. I even wrote to the Paris radio station and they sent me a bunch of material and put me on their mailing list. This was technical stuff and I was in fifth grade and didn't understand any of it but I enjoyed getting mail from France for a while.
We weren't the Hardy Boys but living close to the wild woods meant we had any number of lessor adventures of our own. I also remember reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in school and, being from Missouri, the books were widely read by my friends. We would camp out and have our own Huckleberry Finn experiences. Some of those adventures included copperhead and water moccasin snakes but no one ever got bit. I remember finding an old car left over from the 1930s that was half buried out in a local creek bed. We were sure that Al Capone, or some local version of that famous gangster, had a hand in burying that old car. Finally our parents made us join the local Boy Scout troop as a means of adding a little structure to our adventures. That worked pretty well and our adventuring spirit conformed to more civilized local norms after that. We were all tamed a little in the Boy Scouts but I still watched for my mail from Paris and listened to Radio Moscow on the sly.
Causes Ken Hartke Supports
Save the Children, The Girl Effect, Banning and removal of Landmines, National Trust for Historic Preservation. public broadcasting