As luck would have it, I just came across Victoria December 1989 with an extensive story on Tasha Tudor's Christmas. Oh, what lovely photographs taken by Toshi Otsuki. This issue brought back a flood of memories--1989 and 1990 were pretty big years for the magazine and for me.
In the Fall of 1989, Victoria went from a bi-monthly to a monthly magazine. This was a big step for the rather small staff--but there was a bigger mountain to climb. At the very same time, Victoria became the first magazine in the country to be produced completely via desktop publishing. Mind you, this was no small feat. We were pioneers...up until that point, magazines were created mechanically. Now everything was done by looking at a computer screen! I may have discussed this before, but it has never ceased to amaze me how my staff, led by art director Bryan McCay, was able to accomplish this. It took hard work, long hours, and a huge amount of effort. I decided that I would stand down in the process and concentrate on the creative side of the magazine, looking to the future. A magazine editor never lives in the present!
We finished 1989 with this wonderful issue, bringing the joy of Christmas and the holiday season to our readers, who never knew that our editors and writers were involved in magazine production as never before. In early January, I fell ill, most likely the result of stress and long hours: first with the flu and then pneumonia. It was a bit serious and I lost several weeks of work. Unheard of. Staff members came to my apartment for short periods of time to get my stamp of approval on things. They could have done very well without me--but neither they or I had come to that point yet.
The first day I returned to work, it was announced that Victoria was named ADWEEK's magazine of the year! We had only been a monthly for a few months, but here we were in some pretty exciting company; and we were number one! I was still pretty weak, and could hardly hold the huge bouquet of long-stemmed roses presented to me by Randolph Hearst. The pictures I have tell the tale.
Readers of a magazine or any creative product only see the end result...and that is as it should be. For those of us behind the scenes the memories are of a more personal nature. But I can't look at these resplendent pages without looking back from a different perspective: What a fabulous staff I had. How they supported me. What a victory we all had. But there is also another lesson here: Driving oneself too hard isn't such a swell idea. And maybe taking on too many challenges has its disadvantages. Of course, it's in my DNA to do both of these things. Usually simultaneously. Maybe the nice thing about getting older is getting a bit wiser of just how much one can do.
Dear Tasha kept busy for most of her 90 years. I think she had monitors to guide her: the rhythm of the farm, her animals, and her art. Her letter to me made it pretty clear that she paced herself with what was important in her life. Her Christmas celebration was a work of art itself.
If you have one of these issues on hand, enjoy it again.