Back in 1985 I was surprised, then delighted, then feeling no pain at my first Scholastic dinner. Following a thankless day of teaching my behavioral class in Scarborough, I drove to a mysterious address and found myself in the swank of an upscale Yorkville restaurant. Luckily I brought my tie. I was warmly welcomed by name by Scholastic people I'd never met and ushered into a lounge where tuxedoed waiters brought a constant round of beverages... "Fill your drink sir?" ...pouring tidy shots of fine amber liquids in my glass... "...and would you like another..?"
Over in one corner was Jean Little with her seeing-eye dog, talking to Beatrice Thurman Hunter and nearby stood other people whose faces I had only seen on book covers. After a litany of single malt Scotch shots, the event blurred into a panorama of people and faces and fun. Another first-timer was Barbara Reid, whose book with amazing plasticine illustrations I had first seen a few days before.
Most of the writers and illustrators were like me; looking a bit more threadbare and hungry than the bookstore and industry reps and, also like me, grateful for free exotic treatment. Leaving that night, listing like a stricken battleship, I was joined by John Melady, author of Cross of Valour, who made sure I got out at my proper subway exit. John would become a friend and neighbour a few years later when we moved to Brighton.
|above my head the CN tower|
|Hugh Brewster's new book|
|Eric Zweig's hockey book|
|with Aldo Fierro|
Much of our time was spent picking up other writer's books and getting them autographed for friends and family. I came away with my best haul yet, about 25 signed copies, and friends at Stockdale Public School will be happy with some books
dedicated to them. Jean Little signed a copy of her book with the words; "Keep reading a little"
Maybe in a few year's time I'll be at another Scholastic dinner.
If so, I'd better get to work.
|Barbara Reid's artwork|