Reader’s Digest¬†

I got a Reader’s Digest magazine in the mail today, one of those things where they send you a copy hoping to get you to subscribe. 

My parents got the magazine for many years and I enjoyed it. 

I haven’t even started reading it and I know I probably won’t subscribe. 

Back in the day, the front cover was a copy of some work of art. The back cover told you about it, who created it and why it was important. This one…a cartoon graphic about one of the title stories. Some kind of “life hack” story. You know, one of those things that tells you what you need to know and do different so life is better, supposedly. 

Flipping through, the pages used to be slick magazine paper, like this was important and you would be better off and more knowledgeable when you read it. Now, it feels like cheap newsprint. Like one of the gossip rags at the checkout. 

Yes, I’ll read it. But they will have to REALLY impress me with content to get me to read another one. Unless they send it for free too. 

For your amusement:

My mother had a couple of envelopes of various clippings, sayings, articles, poems, cartoons and such she had saved because they meant something to her. I was looking through one of these just before the anniversary of her death and found this bit of amusement.

This was written by my great-grandmother on the eve of the 20th Century. She was 20 years old, and a new bride when the 20th century began. While a student at Bloomingdale Academy, her English Literature textbook had featured an essay on the wonders of progress and the rosy prospects for the 20th Century. This inspired her to write in, on a blank page of the book, her own light hearted forecasts.

THE NEW CENTURY–1900¬† Reflections of Etna Marie Hixson

“The nineteenth century is great, but a century will come when children will be born with wigs, false teeth, glasses, and will study Latin and Geometry while they are too young to stand alone.

Everyone will own a flying machine, and the ladies of the world will give teas for their friends on Mars. The art of cooking will be developed until we will be fed stewed air, baked water, and fried sunlight.

People will no longer wonder why they dream or what becomes of the things they once knew, but they will have heads that can hold everything, eyes equal to the X-rays, ears that can hear a Chinaman snoring on the other side of the world, and noses that can smell the coffee and fried potatoes in the tavern on the Moon.

People will sleeep with their eyes open and keep their mouths shut during the entire meal.

In a more contemplative mood, she had also written this on the back page of the same book:

I sat alone with my conscience

In a place where time had ceased,

And I looked at my former being

In the land where the years increased.

And I thought of my former thinking

Of the Judgement Day to be;

But sitting alone with my conscience

Seemed judgement enough to me.

Grandma’s Christmas Box

Grandma’s Christmas Box
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It starts with a box-
paper yellowed and tattered,
covered with stamps and stickers.
I open it and bring the memories out.

This glass spire, always on top
of Grandma’s tree,
this star, always right under.
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This angel,
bought in San Antoinio.
this heart,
bought in Santa Fe.

A brass medallion, given a fresh shine,
bells bought when a kitten wanted to climb.
Hummingbird carved of cottonwood.

Ornaments hand made,
ornaments with years engraved,
ornaments from givers long gone.

I bring these friends out one by one,
remember from where they come.
Enjoy them till it’s time again
to go back in the box
until next year.

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The stickers were from American Lung Association mostly, I don’t remember when or why they started going on the box but they date from the early 60’s to sometime in the late 70’s. (I wonder what year the one with the space man came from?)

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