Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 11/5/2021

by Juan Thomas
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While on another of my routine walkthroughs as Facility Manager, I stopped through some of the old and vacated offices in the Embassy. For no reason other than to check if hazardous or otherwise unauthorized chemicals or materials were being staged in these spaces, I looked in the filing cabinets. To my surprise, in one of the filing cabinets, I found an old, beat-up copy of A Shocker on Shock Street from the Goosebumps series. It’s been many, many, many years since I’ve read any of the R.L. Stine books. I was reminded of how I was introduced to them back in the mid-90s…and that brought out a chuckle. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Scholastic Book Club.

How I first came across this moment? It was back in Miss Williams’ 3rd grade class at Elyton Elementary when I first discovered the Scholastic Book Club…or Scholastic Books for that matter. It was in the Fall of 1993. I remember Miss Williams passing out the forms and being intrigued by some of the book selections like Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School and Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins. There was also R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series as Welcome to Camp Nightmare was featured.

What it meant to me then? At the time, I was in awe of the book selections. I begged my mother to order Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Henry Huggins, and another Beverly Clearly book, Beezus and Ramona. This was actually the start of my collection of books in the Scholastic Book Club program. I think I ordered at least 4 books a year up until I left Elyton for Wilkerson Middle after the 1995-96 school year. Whenever my parents wouldn’t give me money to buy the books, I sought them out in the Birmingham Public Library.

What it means to me now? I just checked online and the Scholastic Book Club program still exists. And believe it or not, Goosebumps is still a featured book. Of course, all of the books are far beyond my time but the preschool selection looks perfect for Ashton…and maybe even my nieces. I think I may print out the form, fill it out, and mail a check for old times’ sake. Gosh…I can’t believe this piece of my childhood from nearly 30 years ago still exists.

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