I’m a third-generation magazine addict. My grandmother was one. My mother was one.  The fourth generation is well represented now by my daughter.   

From the time I was a child, even before I could read, Mother saved all her magazines for me.  She treated every one like a treasure and none was to be thrown away.  I’m not sure what she did with them after I looked at the pictures and gave them back, but when they were stacked up by my bed, they represented the promise of quiet time alone.  Since we were on the road a lot, a bed with a stack of magazines beside it was a great escape. Magazines brought the outside world into a sequestered life, and when we loaded up the car to travel again, somehow we found room in the car for Mother’s periodicals.    

I shared her interest in McCall’s, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Time, Newsweek, Life, and Look.  In later years, she added copies of Consumer Reports, trade newsletters concerned with religion (the family business) and music (another family business) and though I no longer shared her taste in all that she read, my reverence for printed matter never diminished. 

Today I buy lots of magazines at the store, subscribe to others, and receive still more as gifts. Friends also pass along the ones they receive. Often when I hear about a new magazine, I get excited and feel compelled to buy at least a few issues. Some of them fold too soon. Does anyone remember “Lear,” Frances Lear’s (God rest her soul) foray into publishing?  Rumor was that she spent millions of an enormous divorce settlement from Norman Lear to launch her dream publication.  It was big and glossy and beautiful while it lasted. I also miss Talk Magazine, with Tina Brown as Editor In Chief.  Nothing has quite replaced either of them. 

Next to my big blue reading chair right now there’s an eclectic stack.  One by one they’ll go in the trunk of the car to make the trip to my daughter’s house.  She tells me she passes them along to the people she works with, and who knows where they go from there?

I like the thought of a big reading circle made up of people who don’t even know each other.  When all our magazines come to their final resting place, as surely they must, then all of us – the endlessly curious magazine addicts – will have played a role in a friendly sort of recycling.  

 Ó By Anita Garner 2008


3 thoughts on “Magazine-Go-Round”

  1. Nita:

    Your listing of all these magazines got me motivated enough to rummage through one of the many boxes of “stuff” in my garage and see if I still had an old magazine treasure from my kidhood in “the valley”.


    After a few minutes of digging, I found the copy of a classic magazine I’d subscribed to back in the mid-’50s. Stashed in semi-pristine condition was a vintage Mickey Mouse Club magazines from that TV show. On the cover is a young Tim Considine, David Stollery and (the love of my early life) Annette Funicello. Annette’s sitting on a saddle (sans horse) and looking back at David … while Tim frowns. They’re all decked out in official Triple-R Ranch duds; gettin’ ready for another rousing episode of … The Adventures of Spin And Marty.

    (Anyone remember … Moochie?)

    Thanks, mom, for saving that magazine. Oh, and all those 1959 Tops baseball cards I collected that summer.

    My IRA is now … fully funded.


  2. Very interesting! I haven’t seen any statistics but as the nation’s newspapers are suffering huge losses of subscribers I wouldn’t be surprised if magazines are also struggling. It’s amazing to me how many people I know admit candidly that they never read anything at all! Usually, they couch it in terms of “not having time” but honestly, with hundreds of satellite TV channels, the Internet and audio books I believe reading for pleasure is becoming a lost art. It’s very sad.

    I can’t tell you how thrilled I was everytime my new copy of BOYS LIFE arrived!

  3. I got particularly caught between your family’s generation. Your post is a very exciting read and that inspires me more to collect magazines and be able to sit down and enjoy reading it.. page by page =)

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