this is not my beautiful house

Two steps back

Two steps back

Here I will occasionally post excerpts from my previous blog, the writing of which kept me hopeful and together during an employment gap a few summers ago.


Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his first inaugural address, said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Obviously he had the means to pay his bills.

As I’ve already mentioned, and not in a show-offey way I hope, I go to the gym every day. I do not do this to gain definition in my arms. I do it so I can outrun the Enbridge guy.

Seems to me the biggest thing in marketing today is healthy living. It has become practically a verb and Lifestyling now includes smudging, decluttering, fasting, and being honest with yourself while standing on one foot and holding your breath.

Last night we found stacks of old magazines at the end of somebody’s driveway. I admired the home owner’s decluttering clout, scooped as many as I could manage, and scurried back home to read.

According to McCall’s, the Magazine of Togetherness, in 1966 they didn’t care much about Lifestyling. They smoked bravely, ate all the red meat they could get their hands on and had chocolate with practically everything. They entertained all the time, always had one for the road and probably even one more for their baby. They didn’t give a whit about pollution. They didn’t wear seatbelts but it looks like they may have worn corsets because you don’t get those tiny waists from what they were up to all the time.

Life Magazine’s On The Moon issue from August, 1969, was the biggest coup of the night. Stellar journalism, and some of the most interesting Letters to the Editor I’ve ever read.

Not to mention the bloom of memories it gave me, which felt a lot like Champagne and made my knees weak.

I am a typographer at heart and by trade, and I know the struggle it must have been to set all that type – which was likely done on a Digiset – the first typesetting machine that worked with digitally assembled (bitmap) typefaces.

Typesetters were artists, writers, word-lovers, grammarians, and above all they were perfectionists because I haven’t come across a widow yet, even though three years earlier David Ogilvy said widows should not necessarily be avoided because the white space they allowed encouraged the reader to keep reading. I am happy to report that Life Magazine ignored his advice, as did I. Every single rule of typography is honoured in those pages, including even the most difficult of hyphenation standards, a feat that impresses me to the point of adoration.

Do they still do Life Magazine and if so, how do I get a job there?

I kept reading – articles about Nixon and Vietnam – an article entitled Birds Fit For a Future King which was a double page spread full of black and white photos rather like a yearbook but the pictured “birds” were a selection of possible girlfriends for the Prince of Wales. So you see why I couldn’t put it down. Imagine my surprise when it was suddenly 12:42am but then I got that half-wonderful half-awful realization that I don’t really need to get up early anyway, and I kept on reading.

At the time of the lunar landing – July of 1969 – we were in New York State, at a cottage on Scroon Lake. My mom and dad, my brother and sister, and my cousin and her parents. I was little but I remember everything. We were outside but could hear my dad and Uncle Sammy hollering in front of the TV as if landing on the moon was something they had done. Our dog Snoopy was there, too, and Aunt Margaret, my father’s strange and quiet cousin who was visiting from Ireland. Funny the little things you remember. I had a camera around my neck that I bought for ten cents at a yard sale. My bathing suit was pink. I felt love for the dog but was uneasy around him as well. My mother and Aunt made sandwiches, which they quartered. I remember leaning against the porch, looking out over the lake, everyone I loved was close and safe, there was a knot in my stomach, and something spectacular and very new and beyond my comprehension was underway.

Stupid things I’ve heard people say

Stupid things I’ve heard people say