June Highlights, Part Two

July 3,2011

I know it’s July, but I wanted to add one more highlight from last month.

June 24: It seems that I’ve been strolling down Memory Lane a lot lately, first touching base with friends from Princeton and now seeing former colleagues from Scholastic. On Friday, June 24, a bunch of folks who spanned different eras at Scholastic got together to drink a toast to a friend who’s going through some health challenges. It was great to see everybody, but it was also a bit surreal to hang out with two colleagues with whom I last worked in 1980. Here we are last week:

That’s me on the left, Elaine Israel in the middle, and Carol Drisko on the right. In 1980, Carol was the editor of Scholastic Newstime, a weekly newsmagazine for kids in sixth grade that I had joined two years before. Elaine was managing editor, and the talented Cindy Thames was associate editor. Here we are in 1980. Cindy, second from right, was pregnant with her soon-to-be-born son, Aaron. She actually ended up working right up to and including the day he was born.

Newstime was my first experience on Scholastic’s classroom magazines, and Carol was a terrific teacher. (Another Scholastic colleague, Karen Romano Young, wrote a lovely tribute to Carol on I.N.K. a while ago. Check it out here.) Back then, each of the company’s elementary magazines was run independently, though we all reported to the same editorial director. While we covered issues in the news, our articles often had a feature story slant because it would take at least six weeks from the time we wrote an article to the time the magazine was edited, designed, printed, and mailed to the schools. It didn’t happen often, but sometimes the time lag caused us problems. The most memorable example of this was after Pope Paul VI died. At the end of August 1978, we wrote a piece announcing the ascendance of the new Pope, John Paul I. Unfortunately, the new Pope died suddenly on September 28, before the magazines arrived in the schools. So our “news” was hopelessly out of date. We got a number of complaints from people who saw this as an unforgivable gaffe.

It was fun to catch up with my colleagues from those days of manual typewriters and Pony Express magazine delivery. (Only kidding , slightly, on that last point.) Despite the 30-plus intervening years, Carol is still a quirky, compassionate, politically active, opera-loving nonconformist and Elaine is still bubbly and optimistic, working for a non-profit organization that provides microfinancing to individuals trying to start small businesses. So much has gone on in each of our lives since the Newstime days, but putting out a magazine together on a weekly basis helped us establish a bond that survives to this day. It sure was good to see them again.

2011 Photo by Jim Kelly