At the end of ninth grade, Mrs. Austin went to collect our literature readers. If yours was lost, you had to pay a fee, but it was a pittance—nowhere near the replacement cost. Like $7 or something, OK?
So she asked for mine, and I gave her $7 instead and said mine was lost. She said no, I see it right there on your desk, Bo. I said no, it’s, uh, lost. Here’s my fee for being so irresponsible with it. She smiled and took my money, allowing her admiration of my desire to keep the book to very slightly defeat the cloudy ethics of the transaction.
So then several months ago I got to wondering about some of my other reading and literature texts, but from earlier in my childhood. I headed back to the Episcopal Day School in my head—to the Camelot days. I remembered that they were all of a series year to year. I remembered that they were published by Houghton Mifflin. And, I remembered a couple of titles.
And it turned out that was enough for me to locate and purchase a couple of them from independent sellers on Amazon.com. Behold my copies of Panorama and Images!
Oh, these are such great fun to look through. They’re in fine condition, Images in particular. It’s worn from handling (being moved around in stacks and so forth) on the outside, but I don’t think the pages have ever been turned in it. (The virginal issuance panel on the inside cover lends credence to this supposition.)
I think Images is intended for fifth grade, and Panorama third. Seems like Fiesta was between them. Here’s a page showing them all.
There is a lot of great literature here, as well as wonderful artwork. And there is the occasional little flash when I’ll turn a page or read a sentence, and really remember, viscerally, what it was like to be nine years old.
I’m not sure how many of those moments await me here. That’s why I haven’t just sat down and read them straight through, and have no plans to. I want the buried treasure to last as long as possible.