I’ve always been a magazine junkie. As a young girl, I loved reading the celebrity profiles in my mother’s TV Guide. I enjoyed the stories in Good Housekeeping, cut out the Betsy dolls in McCall’s, and even leafed through my dad’s Prairie Farmer.
Do you remember Co-ed magazine? We got free copies of those in junior high home-ec class. They were gateway magazines to make us lifelong addicts, I suppose. I loved those magazines and couldn’t wait to get on the school bus and delve inside.
Better Homes & Gardens has remained a staple from Mom’s coffee table to today.
I’ve written for magazines too. While in a college magazine-writing course, the professor challenged students: Get your work published in a national magazine and you ace the class.
I did just that. It was the early 1980s and I sent a letter to the editor of Time magazine regarding a cover feature about older women having babies. As a baby born to a mother of almost 45 in 1958, I felt I had a few insights. The letter was printed. I bought about five copies of the magazine. And got an A in the course. But since I loved every minute of the class anyway, I continued to do the work.
Indianapolis writer and blogger Jolene Ketzenberger hooked me up with freelance work for Indianapolis Monthly during the early 1990s during her stint as an editor there, and there were decorating stories I had published in several national decorating magazines on into the 2000s.
My favorite magazines to read have been Country Home, Country Living, Colonial Home, and Real Simple (in which I had a submission).
Once, I had a photo published in Metropolitan Home to go with writer Joyce Maynard’s essay.
My friend Gay and I had a memorable brush with Midwest Living. We always take a short girlfriend getaway every summer and one year, we stayed at a bed and breakfast in Centerville, Indiana, The Lantz House, which is now closed.
The living room of that inn graced the cover of Midwest Living 10 years before our visit – and in the Christmas issue at that. I had saved that magazine all those years, and finally, we decided to stay there.
Upon arrival, the owner told us we were in luck. A writer with Midwest Living was staying there that very night! Her particular assignment was – wait for it – to research girlfriend-getaways!
We couldn’t believe our timing. Gay and I spent the next few hours talking about how we couldn’t wait to meet the writer. We were just sure she would want to interview us, girlfriends on a getaway and all. We watched around every corner and sat up thinking we would casually bump into the writer. No luck.
But we knew we had an ace in a hole: Since it was a B & B, we’d be eating breakfast with the writer.
Bingo! She was talkative … but not about her job and not about our visit. Despite our telling that writer about our numerous girlfriend getaways, and the link with our visit and that decade-old cover of Midwest Living, she was flat out not interested in us. She wanted to talk about Nick Clooney!
After the frustrating non-interview, and absolutely no contact with her following the meal, I decided there was more than one way to get ourselves in Midwest Living. It was then my personal mission.
So I went home, wrote a letter to the editor about the inn and told our story about how I had saved their magazine for a decade and was not disappointed in our eventual stay at their cover subject. I enclosed various photos. Months passed and fittingly enough, I didn’t even know the piece ran – complete with one of my photos of Gay and I and a file photo of the inn – until Gay brought a copy and told me about it that Christmastime when we got together.
I still love magazines and I still save my favorites. This time of year, I find it particularly relaxing to grab a few copies of the vintage Christmas decorating magazines I’ve stashed away and look through them while enjoying my nightly bubble bath.
I’ve noticed a steady decline in the size of magazines from the mid-1990s when the Internet became popular until now. Print media has so much online competition.
But sometimes, it’s just nice to hold these old magazines in my hands and look in on the beautiful wreaths and trees, the recipes and all the rest. Maybe I should recycle them this year and clear out the shelf space.
Maybe so, but it's not likely.