September 2, 2011


Every time I get a subscription renewal request from one of my ladies magazines, I feel like a middle age woman going through menopause — I should be so young — and think: I’ve got to renew myself, not these publications. 

(courtesy: Photobucket)

What am I doing with so many of them, anyway? I don’t cook. My wardrobe consists of sweat suits and I don’t have a child to potty train.Truly, I have little in common with my light reading. Yet year after year, I sign up for these journals with pictures of desserts I’d never eat and flower arrangements I’ll never recreate.

If I were a sweet young thing in my fifties, I’d say I took these publications out of habit. But now that I am nearly 75, I suspect some other reason is at work. Freud wrote that “being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” I believe that’s true; so yesterday, when another renewal slip landed in I mailbox, I sat down to consider why I needed to read an article on how to stencil my bedroom ceiling.

Perhaps my behavior was nostalgic, I thought. Maybe I was afraid to let go of topics once important to me. But no, that’s not the reason. My answer came when I glanced at an article on how to make a child’s birthday cake look like a guitar.

It takes a village to raise the young and preserve families. If I want to support my neighbors, I need to remain alert to the rhythms of their daily lives.

I keep turning the pages of these ladies magazines, I decided, because it’s where I hear the heartbeat of the American home.