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Digital dating the maltshop of

And even the jukeboxes, if you can find one, are different, too.

Now they're connected to the Net and you download your play with the whole history of pop music at your disposal, with the eras, decades, fads, phases, and styles all merging into one huge musical buffet in which the existential "now" can be any time at all.

It’s seeing how a teenage girl would speak to her mother or her teacher.

These books are a glimpse into a world that isn’t there anymore.”Rosemary Parker, 66, discovered malt shop novels in the fifth grade.

But the books, long out of print, were going for 0 or more.

I recently found a kindred spirit in Joy Canfield, a psychologist and academic publisher.

Cavanna, du Jardin, Emery — she read them all, but she had a particular affinity for the Beany Malone books.

Years later, feeling slightly wistful, I began to regret my decision.You could be self-doubting like Jane Purdy, the protagonist of “Fifteen,” and, nevertheless, end up wearing the ID bracelet of cute green-eyed Stan.My recall of plot details (Stan worked for a dog food delivery service; on an early date with Jane they went to a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco) is encyclopedic. (And if part of a series, second love.)The authors had their specialties. Written from the 1940s to the mid-1960s, they tracked a teenage protagonist as she navigated the obstacle course of first love.“There were anxieties about dating and how to treat friends and tucking in a shirt so a stain didn’t show.“It all rang so true to me and still does.”A glass-fronted bookcase at the top of Parker’s stairway holds a complete set of Beany Malone books in hardcover, the fruits of a long search. Some were library discards, some were found on the internet. The book and its sequels, “Diane’s New Love” and “Toujours Diane,” were known, I would later learn, as malt shop novels.Lenora Mattingly Weber was known for a 14-book cycle about a close-knit Irish Catholic family, the Malones, with a focus on its youngest member, Beany.“They projected an optimistic view of life, of how you fit in, how you got along with your peers and related to boys.”Siblings may have hogged the bathroom or the telephone, parents may have refused to negotiate when it came to allowances, dates on school nights and a new dress for the prom, but families in these books were enviably high-functioning. Hudson, a Detroit department store, I skittered over to a rack of paperbacks, most with a pastel image of a girl in a skirt on the cover and a square of plaid on the spine. There was “Fifteen,” by the inimitable Beverly Cleary; “Going on Sixteen,” by Cavanna; “Sweet Sixteen,” by Emery; and “Practically Seventeen,” by Rosamond du Jardin.I became an 11-year-old whiz on the topic of chiffon scarves, peplums, pancake makeup and the dating rituals of bobby-sox wearers (granted, a strange preoccupation in the late 1960s). It is also true that the plots were formulaic, and that the authors, while concerned with their characters’ moral development, weren’t much for psychological complexity.

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