Aside from lunch time and recess, where much skipping, sticker trading, and pog playing took place, the best part of grade school in the 90s were the Scholastic order forms (and book fairs). Of course, riding to the local bookstore on my bike, weekly allowance in hand, was still fun, but the novelty of ordering from those colourful, paper pamphlets was always a special treat. Before paper, and therefore books, escalated in price, Scholastic order forms were a great and affordable way to buy novels, bookmarks, and special edition craft products. I would spend hours – and I do mean hours – perusing the titles, checking out the price tags, and devising a way of asking my mother for a new volume of Fear Street or The Baby Sitter’s Club. How could I possibly justify the $20 purchase? A strategy had to be developed, surely.
The day orders arrived, however, were always a test of my patience. I remember getting to school in the morning, and spotting the box from Scholastic sitting open on or near the teacher’s desk. Instantly, my eyes would zero in on my order, the glossy, new covers just begging to be cracked open and read.
Then, the waiting game began. First, I’d have to get through attendance, hoping our orders would be dispersed before the lesson started. Unfortunately, our teacher would launch into some boring math equation, which quickly dashed my hopes. I’d wait, on pins and needles, until we were dismissed for lunch and recess, frustrated that the teacher wasn’t picking up on my telepathic vibes and eye gestures. How could she make us wait for so long? Ugh, totally unfair.
When we returned from recess, I was certain, utterly hopeful, that our orders would finally be given out. I looked around at my classmates, mystified by their lack of concern. Didn’t they know their Scholastic order had arrived? Couldn’t they see the box by the teacher’s desk?! Weren’t they as excited as I was?
Well, obviously not, because the orders remained in that darn box. No one asked about their order. (It never occurred to me that I could do the asking.) Soon, it was time for reading and spelling, so I was forced to tear my wistful gaze from those lovely, new books, to the chalkboard. Miraculously, my attention was swept up in the lesson, and somehow I got lost in the quiet time afterward, when it was time to work on some writing.
About thirty minutes later, there was a tap on my shoulder. The day was almost over, and my teacher was standing near my desk, holding my Scholastic order in her hands. “Your books came in today. Here you go.”
“Oh, great, thanks!” I said, pretending to be surprised and mildly enthusiastic. (Oh, these old things?) “That was fast,” I added for good measure.
“Yes, it was, wasn’t it?” She agreed.
If only she knew.