A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Do You Remember Magazines?

Huet's photograph of Thomas Cole featured on t...
Huet's photograph of Thomas Cole featured on the cover of LIFE magazine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      In the previous post we considered the activity of house cleaning and organizing as a way of tapping into old memories.   I prefer not to think of organizational house cleaning and de-cluttering as some tedious chore that is to be dreaded, but a fun activity that can sometimes seem like work though with beneficial rewards.  Digging up a treasure trove of memories is sometimes like finding the Lost Dutchman Mine.

        Among the remnants of my past are the numerous magazines that I have stored here and there.  Gosh!  Do you remember magazines?  Oh sure I know that magazines are still around, but I don't think they have the same impact that they once did.  Now we go to the internet to keep up with anything we care to know.  Even if we do have a magazine subscription these days, we also often get access to the online version of the magazine that may include extra features such as videos.    However, the way I see it, magazines no longer have the magic that they once did.

        The magazines that caught my attention earliest in life were Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, and Children's Digest.  One or more subscriptions of these found their way into our home when my sister and I were kids and we read them faithfully.  As I outgrew these my curiosity turned toward the deeper publications such as Reader's Digest and National Geographic.  For me these were like scholarly journals that provided useful and interesting information and highly readable stories.

         The two biggies in the photo magazines were Look and Life.   My family subscribed to Life in the years I lived at home.  I anxiously looked forward to each issue of Life magazine to get my fix of striking images combined with well written journalism and a healthy dose of pop culture.  After a while I began saving each copy of Life magazine until I had amassed such a collection that I had to become more discriminate in which issues I would hold onto.

         As a Boy Scout I received a subscription to the official voice of the scouts, Boys' Life.  This is another magazine in which I would totally immerse myself.   I would read and reread each issue from cover to cover, paying particular attention to the jokes, the stories, and the regular columns on stamp collecting.  I sent away for many of the special stamp offers in order to build up my collection.

        After I entered my teen years I started buying a lot of magazines from the cigar store on the square in Crown Point, Indiana.   I'm sure they sold cigars, but they also had an extensive selection of candy and magazines and I was a frequent customer for both.  My favorite magazines back then were related to model building and monsters.  I'd pick up nearly every copy of Famous Monsters and Mad Magazine.

        When I outgrew those magazines I started turning to the music magazines, primarily Rolling Stone.  My sister had already been a fan of the music rags when the Beatles hit the scene.  To me they were not worth my precious money, but I often sneaked a peek when my sister brought them in the house.  When I became serious about pop music it then became worth my time and money to keep up with the magazines on the topic.

         I'm sure I still have some of my old magazines somewhere around the house.  As much as a year ago I saw some of my old Life magazines still at my mother's house, but I think my sisters probably did some housecleaning and disposed of them.  I have more recent copies of National Geographic, Smithsonian, and other magazines stored away in my own house and for the most part they are untouched.  Over the past decade I haven't taken the time to read many magazines even though I've subscribed to many with the intent of reading them.

         Those newer magazines are not part of my memory database.  There's nothing there for me to personally tangibly attach myself.   But a copy of Life, Famous Monsters, or even 70's vintage Rolling Stone might touch my mind to evoke memories of the time when I read that magazine.  Maybe those magazines could cue up the tape of the past to play an oldie but goody of that time.

          Yes, I remember magazines of my younger days.  I remember them well.   They kept me in touch with the world that was far bigger than my little corner of it.   Magazines fueled my imagination and stimulated my creativity.   Too bad I didn't keep more of them, but somewhere along the line things must go.  Magazines were one of the things that did.

           Have you kept any old magazines?   Did you read magazines when you were younger?  What magazines did you enjoy reading in years past?   Are there any magazines that you regularly read now?

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  1. when I was a kid, I LOVED Dynamite Magazine, from the Scholastic Book Club in school. And Highlights when I was at the doctor or dentist. I used to have scripts to bead & craft mags but they have been taken over by 99% ads and 1% articles on jewelry I'd never wear. I have saved a lot of my Grateful Dead themed mags like Golden Road, and a few special editions of Life and People, but overall I had to throw out or cut up the stacks of mags I had cause they took up too much room. I did keep some from after the 89 SF quake and 9/11. My mom used to have ones from after JFK was shot but I haven't seen them around.

  2. Since magazine writing is my main source of freelance income, of course I read them! I try to keep at least a copy or two filed away of just about any contemporary magazine I can, so I can refer to it for style, article length, etc. when I'm sending a pitch.

  3. JoJo- I'd forgotten about Highlights in the doctors' offices--yes! I think so much media has been inundated with advertising that it does get a bit overwhelming. I can understand the need for revenue, but it gets pretty bad when you pay $3 or more for a magazine mostly filled with ads. And sometimes what looks like articles are really ads in disguise.

    Kelly - For the sake of you and others who write for the mags, let's hope they remain a viable media resource.


  4. Aside from comics, the only magazine I've kept are ones that carried articles or stories I wrote or contributed to -- and even that has been inconsistent. (Something I've regretted while trying to assemble a list of my publications; I've realized I don't KNOW what I've published over the years!)

    For the past ten years or so, most my magazine reading has taken place at my dentist, but once upon a time, I had subscriptions to "Time," "Rolling Stone," and "Entertainment Weekly."

    It's funny how minds have been turning to magazines. Just yesterday, I had a conversation with my partner in NUELOW Games about our little comic book line moving forward, and it dawned on us that much of the approach we've been taken has been informed by nostalgia for "2000AD" and "Seriemagasinet," two comic book magazines/anthologies we grew up reading as kids.

  5. These last two posts remind me of my May adventure to clean out my mom's apartment, pack her stuff, and get her moved into assisted living. We spent a lot of time looking through the things she had stashed in boxes, including really old photos and letters and a little bio my dad wrote when he was in grade school. I've gotten rid of so much of my old stuff over the years, but I still have a few things my boys made when they were in school. They're too precious to let go of.

  6. Dear Lee, I remember lots of magazines from the '40s and '50s. Besides Life, which showed me the world, I liked "The Saturday Evening Post" and "Colliers."

    Besides the children's magazines you mentioned, I also read "Catholic Miss."

    And yes, they do evoke so many memories, but I don't have any copies of them unfortunately. I just see them sometimes when people send e-mails about the past. Peace.

  7. Hi Lee - I did clear out, but certainly need to do it again. I've learnt I've moved on re magazines and may glance at them on occasions .. but usually they don't get read. I like informative and historical type articles - so variety is the spice of life here ... and not many magazines get into my flat.

    But having said that - I collected quite a few at the time of the Olympics, the Queen's Jubilee and the wedding of William and Kate - those are here still ...

    I need a serious declutter .. and am looking at technical ways of doing that, then I can throw the paper!

    Cheers to you .. and well cleaning - who mentioned that!! Hilary

  8. Steve -- Keeping the magazines where you have contributed articles makes a lot of sense. I guess a lot of us have been looking back on things that shaped who we are now.

    Patricia -- Getting rid of our collected material memories can involve tough choices. Sometimes just organizing them better can help a lot.

    Dee -- I can recall when libraries used to keep bound collected issues of old magazines. Not sure how many of them still do this, but I spent hours in my college years looking through such collections.

    Hilary -- It seems like the logical thing to keep the magazine editions dealing with milestone events. Probably so many people keep these editions that they don't have much monetary value, but they are of historical interest to later generations.



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