There is something about being blanketed by white that brings about a sense of peace and calm. It is a time to enjoy the books that Christmas presents brought and brew up a tea to keep one company for an afternoon.
And so what thoughts has this time brought forth: Twenty-five years ago with a broken arm from a slip on an icy sidewalk in Ames, I was at work on a concept for a new magazine. It is a strange word, but in the magazine business then, a proposal in the shape of a magazine was called a "dummy."
I can't even recall how many times we changed things. And when I say we, I am talking about primarily three of us--the nucleus of the staff that was to become Victoria. We wanted to have a perfect statement for a magazine like no other that celebrated women's lives in all aspects. I had long felt that we were editing magazines to women's roles rather than to the things that had always been important to women and I believed would never change.
Ann and Bryan, the twosome of the threesome, were at my apartment for a birthday brunch for Bryan recently. New grandparents, they have gone on to other careers since leaving Victoria. Ann is an executive in a nursery school service in New York City after going back to school for graduate degrees in early childhood education. Bryan has taken his skills back to the Meredith Corporation, where we all three started out. How nice it was on brisk day to enjoy my husband's specialty--a ham, cheese, and potato gratin (with thanks to Julia Child)--have fireside time and think about how our lives have changed in this quarter of a century.
I am sorry to report that our wonderful Helen Killeen, who many readers may recall ran our office, has had some health concerns. During her tenure at Victoria, she took every reader concern to heart and tracked down all kinds of information, no matter how small the request. Victoria without Helen would be unthinkable in those years. Her nephew, Steve, who also worked for us through his school days, doing errands, working on photo shoots, and helping in the office, is now the dad of four! Helen is in rehab and we all send our love and wish her well.
Helen and Steve are just two examples of how our Victoria family grew over the years.
In my winter musings, I am very grateful for the creativity and dedication that so many brought to a project that started out with an idea.
I have just had a nice email exchange with Julian at Meg Rivers cakes in England. In an early issue, we visited Meg to learn of her wonderful bakery and shared the recipe for her almond tea cake with our readers. Julian has carried on running the bakery with Meg's recipes after her death some years ago. I have ordered cakes now and then, and recently got back to the tradition by having an assortment of their cakes--as mini cakes--for Valentine's Day gifts. How delightful it was to get the message that Julian was off to Chipping Campden to mail my cakes to me! We both have fingers crossed that they get to the US in a timely manner and in good shape.
I was inspired by the cottages at Chipping Campden for my recent blog for Hooker Furniture. I've been asked to suggest some wonderful "dream houses" and the very first inspiration I had was for an English country cottage. Sign on for the series--and maybe be inspired to create your own living adventure. Home is where we can make dreams come true, no matter what our geographical address.