Murder, She Wrote

I grew up about five miles from my Grandpa and Grandma Bridges. My parents sometimes let me spend the night at their house, even an occasional Sunday night. It didn’t matter that it was a school night, for my usual, country school bus route passed right by their farm. I could just as easily be picked up there the next morning.

I have fond memories of Sunday nights at my grandparents’ house, sitting on their orange, floral couch in my mother-made flannel nightgown with rags tied in my straight hair to make it look curly the next morning like my sisters’. I happily ate popcorn from a green tupperware bowl while my grandparents and I watched television. I couldn’t wait for the second hand on 60 Minutes‘s endlessly ticking stopwatch to reach the number 12 so that I could finally live another vicarious hour of adventure through Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote.

Oh, how I loved to watch Mrs. Fletcher solve mysteries! Imagine being a professional writer, taking train rides to New York to meet with a publisher, drinking coffee and tea in fancy hotels, and interacting with such glamorous, interesting people, all the while figuring out it was the son of the Broadway star “who done it.”

Thanks to Netflix, I’ve reunited with Mrs. Fletcher once again. As we’ve been visiting, I’ve discovered that my youthful vision missed a few key facts about my favorite, classy sleuth. For one, in the memorable opening credits sequence in which she is typing away at another mystery, Mrs. Fletcher is wearing a wedding ring. I hadn’t remembered that she was a widow.

The biggest surprise for me, though, came in Episode 4 of Season 1. One afternoon, a mysterious stranger sits at Mrs. Fletcher’s table in Cabot Cove, Maine and asks her a simple question: “You have children?”

Mrs. Fletcher answers, “Oh, no, no. Frank and I were never blessed that way.”

I definitely hadn’t remembered that Jessica Fletcher was barren and a gift-language-wielding barren woman at that!

Thank you, Mrs. Fletcher. You get even better with age.