Frigid temperatures and strong winds did not deter fans of Thin Mint Memories and Shelley Johnson Carey from gathering in the Jane Fox Reading Room at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda on January 9. The room filled with fans, friends, and family eager to hear more about Shelley’s new book and to celebrate its launch. A few fans came wearing their Girl Scout sashes and pins from their scouting years.
The launch was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout cookie and the start of the cookie-selling season. In keeping with the spirit of the theme, Shelley entertained everyone by reading several passages from the book to give everyone a real sense of the treat in store for readers, drawing names for Girl Scout cookie-related prizes, and answering questions from the audience.
The passages Shelley chose to read included a bit of Girl Scout cookie history, a humorous account of her attempt to find a Girl Scout cookie baking facility, an account of how one troop used its Girl Scout cookie earnings, and a few of the Thin Mint Memories that are sprinkled throughout the book.
Following the readings, Shelley answered several questions about the book and her experience writing it. A teenager wondering how long it took Shelley to write the book. Shelley shared that she started the book as part of her thesis project in graduate school, but because she focused on a troop of young girls, she wanted to wait until they were older before publishing the book.
A long-time cookie fan (who remembers when Do-Si-Dos were called Gauchos) asked if Shelley thought that the experience of Girl Scouts selling cookies have remained consistent through the years. “Although times have changed and Girl Scouts sell cookies in different ways in the 21st century, such as through digital apps and booth sales, from the door-to-door sales earlier generations engaged in, I think that the skills Girl Scouts develop through those experiences, such as goal setting and money managing, continue to help them in their adult lives,” Shelley shared.
Someone who had already read the book asked Shelley to elaborate more on her inspiration for writing the book. Shelley shared the story of her mom being her Girl Scout leader and how selling cookies was nothing new to her mom. Gwendolyn Bacoats Johnson was a Girl Scout herself in the 1930s, a member of the first African-American Girl Scout troop in Tulsa. Shelley’s 92-year-old mother was in the audience, and everyone enjoyed hearing Mrs. Johnson recall that cookies cost fifty cents a box during the Depression. “That was a lot of money!” Mrs. Johnson recalled. “We would take the orders in advance, and sometimes when we went back to deliver the cookies, people couldn’t afford them anymore.”
The audience was captivated by the glimpses into Girl Scout cookie history, and Shelley interspersed her readings with drawings for door prizes, such as Thin Mint brownie mix and Thin Mint coffee creamer.
Fans lined up to buy books and patiently waited to get them signed by Shelley. They shared some Thin Mint Memories of their own with each other. Everyone was able to choose a bundle of their favorite Girl Scout cookies to go with their book. There were Thin Mints, Caramel Delites (or Samoas, depending on where you’re from), Trefoils, Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (Do-Si-Dos), Peanut Butter Patties, Lemonade Cookies, and the newest cookie, S’Mores, launched this year in honor of the Girl Scout cookie centennial.
Shelley signed each copy and spent time chatting and taking pictures with each person. At the end of the event, the Writer’s Center staff commented that they could feel the buzz in the room and as people headed back out into the cold.
We’ll keep you posted on future events for Shelley Johnson Carey and Thin Mint Memories.
Don’t have your copy of Thin Mint Memories yet? Order yours today! Available in print and for Kindle.