Once upon a time there was a kingdom where print media reigned — newspapers, of course, but also magazines. And in this kingdom, one little girl grew up loving all the magazines that appeared magically at her house — the stories, the pictures, and the fact that there were always new pages to turn and get lost in.
And get lost in them she — that is, I — did. Whether it was the monthly deluge of my mom’s McCall’s, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Good Housekeeping, or my dad’s choice of LIFE and National Geographic, or their weekly subscription to Newsweek (in those days, yours was either a Newsweek or a TIME family; ours was the former), I grew up and in love with magazines in general. If it was there, I devoured it.
The passion continued. I have vivid memories of the August issue of Seventeen — the back-to-school issue — of poring over its pages with my friends, picking out the clothes we couldn’t live without. That was quickly followed by Glamour, a stalwart through my teens and 20s and beyond, and Mademoiselle, also known for its fiction-writing contests. And magazines that came later — like Self and More and others — filled with pages of beauty and fashion news, career and lifestyle writing. Each adding its color and freshness to my day, each influencing my style in some way, each a small piece of art on its own.
Sadly, most of these titles have disappeared from the classic newsstand (equally sad is that so many classic newsstands have also disappeared). And that, to me, is a huge loss. Because these print titles were a part of my history. Seeing them arrive each month (or week), turning the pages, rolling them up to fit in my bag, enjoying the tactile sensation of their glossy finishes — a ritual all but lost.
Given my love affair with magazines, it’s not a surprise that I’ve been lucky enough to incorporate magazines into my career — first as associate editor at True Confessions (no, not a risqué publication as its title might imply — what is wrong with you? ) and then as a contributor to other titles. Not a surprise that when B. and I first moved in together, he filled the front seat of his car with dozens of magazines when he picked me up at the airport to welcome me to my new home. And not a surprise that The New Yorker continues to grace my mailbox week after week.
With September here, I cannot close this post without mentioning the grande dame herself, Vogue, whose history extends back more than a century. Its legendary September issue has pages in the multiple hundreds and enough gloss and beauty to fill this magazine aficionada’s heart with joy. Brings me back to my younger self thumbing through the pages of the August issue of Seventeen.
Dreaming of happily ever after. And of a man who loves that I love the printed page.
ⓒ 2019 Claudia Grossman