It rained all weekend. We didn’t do anything we should have done.
Instead, in an utterly irrational move, I spent a half an hour cleaning out the basement storage closet in order to get to my giant bin of old Baby-Sitters Club books. Cohen read one a while back and was interested in finding more. So I vacuumed up old easter egg candy wrappers and little styrofoam berries that had fallen off the Christmas wreaths and burrowed my way like some crazed mole back into the boxes of junk. Behind the old wedding centerpieces and high school memorabilia box, I found the two treasures I was aiming for: a collection of the shiny, pastel-covered paper-backs by Ann M. Martin, and a couple of my own baby-sitters club stories (fan-fiction, baby!): first, Aloha Baby-Sitters. I ran my hand over the plain aqua cardstock and I imagined my dad binding the pages together with his “binding machine.” I still had the rejection letter I received from Scholastic Books after pitching the idea to them (though Ann would write her own Aloha Baby-Sitters a year later.) The second: A Baby-Sitters Club Reunion, True Friends Are Forever. This one was co-authored with my best friend, Marie (the ‘copyright’ notes a “Schmutteneimers” publication). We had imagined what the BSC members would be doing ten years after high school graduation. The plot included a major hurricane, a birth of a baby, and the return of drunken step-father. We had predicted Internet chats in 1996. Also holophones.
As I tenderly unpacked each of the books from the bin, stacking more junk (heirlooms!) upon the piles of junk in our family room, I recalled some of my favorite titles. “Snowbound!” I squealed. “I re-wrote this entire thing into a screenplay!” The kids were all ears. “We wrote the credits on a giant whiteboard,” I gushed. “And there was this scene, where someone gets stranded in a car, and Kristy goes on a date with Bart and…”
“You’re like a trauma victim who’s suddenly remembering every detail from the scene of a crime,” Jacob said.
Cohen requested my story when he went to bed. I read the entire thing.
The 33 year old me didn’t organize her closet, mow the lawn, buy her sister’s shower invites, or check off anything else on her growing to-do list. But the 12 year old me found a rapt audience 20 years after her first “publication.” I’d count that as win.