Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Long Hot Summer

My grandmother used to call the autumn weather in Connecticut--"sweater weather." And so it is again after this very hot summer in both the Midwest and the East. And of course, we had a bit of extra water in Ames, Iowa. We escaped north for several days because our water supply was not drinkable, among other problems.

But it all seems like ancient history now in the days when the sun slides across us at a comforting slant. What hasn't gone unnoticed is the checking in of former Victoria staffers and freelancers. I haven't seen her since I left the magazine a decade ago now, but Patricia Romero hasn't changed a bit. She is still lovely and lively. (You can enjoy her post-Victoria work at her web site.) She became a mom just about the time I left the magazine, and Emma is now 11! Patricia joined Daniel D'Arezzo and me for tea a few weeks ago. The main topic was Daniel's soon departure to reside in Buenos Aires for a spell. Patricia gave him wonderful advice and introduced him to a friend who has already found Daniel some pretty nice digs in the city. Old ties and networks do pay off.

Heidi Adams wrote from Texas that she is about to travel to Japan and will see Toshi Otsuki. I am so jealous! But I look forward to her report this month and hope it will help me with the planning of my trip--hopefully next year. Heidi was so young and talented she knocked my socks off with her work at Victoria. She and her husband had their own shop for awhile, but she now has other projects to apply her super eye to. She always had a terrific smile and can-do attitude which won my heart.

Suzy Taylor and I keep in pretty close contact, but I have been especially happy to hear of her recent art show in San Miquel de Allende, Mexico. I've mentioned Suzy before--but check in at her site. Her paintings are spectacular and may just be what you need for that achingly empty wall.

An event of the summer was the marriage of Ann Levine's son, Tom. He was practically born in our Victoria offices--truly one of our legacies. Tom and Rachel will live in Albany where they will continue their educations. I have to blink not to see Ann pushing that stroller down the hall...years away from the wedding day aisle. How often we realize that it is our kids who make the leaves of the calendar fall so quickly.

Victoria readers will probably not recall the name Patrick Berry, but he was very much a part of our staff on the advertising side as our production manager. Patrick has tales of how he and I had friendly discussions of where to place the ads in the magazine. After a very successful business career, Patrick took his family to the University of Illinois where he pursued a degree in English literature. (I'd like to think that Victoria has something to do with it.) He's about to get his doctorate and move into the academic world as a college teacher. Bravo!

The nice thing about hearing from these folks was how much the Victoria experience meant to them. It makes me proud of the work we did--and it reminds me that as time passes there is something in our DNA of our good experiences that provides growth and vision.

The long hot summer had it's benefits--a good rest for me as well as a reevaluation of my own work. I don't mean to be a tease, but I am not quite ready to reveal what that means at the moment. I'm in one of those periods where the tide comes in and out--and my boat is not yet sea worthy. But very soon, I'll be filling you in on this new departure.

Do look at the Hooker Furniture Blog--I had fun being a magazine editor again! And don't forget that this may just be the time you met your first best friend--check in at the website and on Facebook for the book that needs some good advocates to introduce readers to its inspirational stories.

And pull your sweater on and take a good walk in the world of autumn.


  1. G'morn Nancy ~ Life passes so quickly ... & yet people leave their footprints on our hearts.

    Have a beautiful day ~
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  2. Oh so glad to read your new post! I was really wondering how you are & what you have been doing lately!I'm so anxious to hear what you are about to reveal!-lol-I have really missed your posts here.

    When I saw the pic of your chair here with all of your books- I had to do a double take as it reminded me so much of the newer publication "Victoria Classics"cover. I just went and re-looked at it,lol -- I guess it is just the style of your reading chair that reminded me of it!- Wish I could see all the titles of your books on the pic- ... Welcome back!-- glad you had a nice rest!xo-Valery

  3. Wonderful to get your latest post! Always enjoy hearing from my favorite-ever editor!

    Cozy and inviting photo!

  4. It is so good to remember and stay in touch with those leaves of our past...their memories are pressed forever between the pages of our heart!

  5. A gathering of the clan! What a nice way to spend a few minutes on a glum and gloomy October day, Nancy! I just last night was reading the October 1993 issue, and reveling in the glorious images of the cozy rooms and the yummy pumpkin treats. Victoria's Pumpkin-Cranberry Coffee Cake (bundt style) is my all-time favorite. I'd love to hear more about the adverts in Victoria...they were so civilized! A big part of my enjoyment in re-reading these classics is enjoying the Waterford, Wedgwood, Lane Furniture ads....always made me want to rush out and invest in something "timeless" Victoria magazine herself!
    Have a marvelous weekend,
    Karen Marline

  6. Thank you so much for the updates on the former staffers! I feel like they are "family" (I even saved a note I once received from Ann Levine!), and it is heartwarming to hear that you still stay in touch. Now, how might I stow away on that trip to see Toshi Otsuki ...

  7. Oh so good to see you back here with your update. I also would join you and Angela on a visit to meet Toshi Otsuki. Is he still taking pictures? He was always my favorite photographer.

  8. Patricia Romero directed me to your blog. P and I were at FIT together and she threw my bridal shower 17 years ago at Ardsley-On-Hudson. We are still in touch, and great friends after all of these years. She is a very special woman. I live in Rome now with my Italian husband and two kids. Ezio and I used my past issues of Victoria which I have saved, when we went to London for our wedding anniversary this May. You have touched many lives, Nancy! Tante belle cose and so happy to have found your blog! Laura Graham

  9. So many good people at Victoria! Thank you for this lovely post. It makes me smile and miss you all the more.

  10. How wonderful to hear from you Nancy and especially to learn what is happening after all this time to the Victoria family. Welcome Patrick to Illinois. I am so glad to learn we will have such an esteemed professor in our state.

    I am also jealous that Heidi Adams is going to see Toshi Otsuki. I hope that one of you will catch us up with what is happening in his world now. His artistic photography still makes me crawl into each page. I would hope that she would encourage him to put together a book of his work. We would all buy it in a heartbeat.

    Nancy, I did think about you when Iowa flooded. I hope that you did not lose anything so dear to you.

    When I want to find that "Quiet Center of Your Life" you brought to us, I reach for my Victorias. You titled your September, 1997 issue "Hours of Gold," and that is exactly what you gave us.

    We are all waiting for your next project. I had the pleasure of visiting with my real
    "first best friend" in Florida last month. We have more than fifty years of hijinks and love together. She got out your book which I sent earlier for her birthday, and her first words were, "where did you ever find this jewel."

    May everyone's Fall be full of thanksgiving and joy. Jean

  11. I always did love cliffhangers... I suppose that all started for me in the pages of Nancy Drew books. Each chapter always ended with such a cliffhanger that I could not stop and hurried into the next in order to find out what happened next. So, I will be eagerly awaiting your reveal.

    It really is good to see you posting again. Fortunately for me, our breaks from blogging happened about the same time. Life has gotten really busy, but not too busy for me to check in here and be inspired by your stories of past and present. Thank you for continuing to share the heartwarming stories of your Victoria colleagues as well as catching up with where they are today. I clicked on Patrick's link (from his comment), and his website is impressive. I contacted Suzy after your previous post about her artwork. What an inspiration she and her art are to me. It is lovely to see that many of your colleagues (who were so happy during their time working at Victoria) are now in second (or third, etc.) careers they love. It seems Victoria laid that sort of foundation for many... and not just those who were employed there. I think those of us who were "just readers" benefited from Victoria in ways that also carry over into our lives today. And in this season of gratitude, let me once again say, "Thank you."


  12. Nancy, I was wondering if anyone has created a bibliography of the run of Victoria magazine? I have a number of old issues, but whenever I think of an article, it's intimidating to wade through, trying to remember in what month and year it appeared (although it's of course fun to browse through old issues, when I'm not looking for something specific!).