I'm cleaning out closets and the basement in preparation for our renovations. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I saved every Martha Stewart Living since the charter issue in 1990. I am even more embarrassed to say I really never opened any of them once they were shifted from the coffee table to the basement.
My mother was an inveterate reader and saver of magazines. Our house was often overrun with them -- Woman's Day, Better Homes and Gardens, National Geographics from the 1930s on(I'm ashamed to say I have about ten of those very same National Geographics sitting on the counter where I keep the recycling . . I am having a difficult time actually putting them in the recycling . . .) Every now and then she would decide to go through them before tossing them out. She'd rip out interesting articles as she went along and then she'd stick them in an envelope and send them off to one of her four daughters. No letter, no photos, no "Love, Mom" on a post-it note -- we'd just get an article or a recipe or directions for knitting a scarf.
My sisters and I joked about this habit of hers for years. Then we started doing it ourselves. Just last week I ripped a picture out of a Martha Stewart Living and stuck it in an envelope and sent it off to a friend. It was totally unnecessary, since I was meeting the friend for coffee a few days later, but I couldn't resist the act of putting a magazine page into an envelope and sticking the stamp on. It was, in a sense, an homage to my mother. I really loved getting those envelopes from her when I was far from home. Although she didn't always write a long and newsy letter, I knew she was thinking about me and we'd share our love of reading even though I was a thousand miles or more from home. Such a little thing to do, but so very powerful. I didn't appreciate it enough when she was alive, but I surely do miss it now.
So back to my Martha Stewart Living problem . . . I did what any good McNamara woman would do -- I paged through every single magazine, ripped out what I wanted to keep, mailed some of it out, and then passed the magazines on to a friend. What a relief -- my basement is a lot cleaner and I feel like I have paid tribute to my mom. Great, right? Well, I went to my rug hooking guild's Christmas party last night (you can read about that here) and told them what I was doing. My friend Sue's eyebrows shot up and she said, "You know, people have paid up to $150 for the charter issue of Martha Stewart Living!" So I could have sold the one issue and had enough cash to hire somebody else to clean my basement . . .