Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Return of Victoria

Years and years ago, my wonderful former college roommate and godmother of my children, Vera, gave me a magazine subscription for my birthday: Victoria Magazine. Aaah, I can't tell you how amazing this little monthly gem was! Within its pages was everything I was interested in: literary articles, gardening (the English way!), home decor, antiques, gourmet food (with recipes!), travel to gracious places -- all in one magazine.

And the photographs! I could gaze at them by the hour and imagine myself walking on a deserted beach, hosting a garden party, entertaining in an English cottage, and serving gourmet meals (rather than the standard mac 'n' cheese). When I was a young mother, home with little ones and sometimes feeling stifled by potty-training and baby cereal, Victoria helped me to remember that life can be beautiful and gracious, serene and peaceful.

Victoria affirmed all that was beautiful in life, all that life had to offer. And with my love of things antique (my readers well know that I could happily live with soft candle and oil lamp light rather than the glare of electric and fluorescent bulbs and quill pens dipped into ink wells rather than sordid ball-points), I felt as if I simply melted into the photographs, living a life of beauty and graciousness.

Even though my ISFJ need for closure dictated that I must read every word of the magazine in order to set it aside for the new issue, I still found myself daydreaming about the travel, the letter writing, the glorious gardens that I vicarously lived through the words and photographs of Victoria. And I couldn't throw away a single issue but storedt each issue carefully in our attic.

Then, horrors! Victoria was gone. Out of business. The loss of my one and only magazine (besides Reader's Digest) was dreadful news that took me almost a year to fully believe. Vera and I, along with many devoted Victoria readers, mourned the loss of the magazine that was more than glossy pages and fine print; Victoria was a lifestyle, an escape to graciousness when the reality of life was just too much to take. And it was gone.

For years I plodded along without Victoria, missing it terribly. My magazine basket now held homeschooling catalogs rather than the beautifully-photographed covers of Victoria. I tried other magazines but to no avail -- nothing measured up to Victoria, and really, in order to find all the topics Victoria covered, I would have to purchase at least half-a-dozen periodicals, and who has the time and money to do that? Not me.

So you may well imagine my surprise and joy when a Victoria magazine arrived in the mail this past November! "'Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'/ [S]he chortled in [her] joy" ("Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll). Victoria was back, even better than before, if such a thing were possible. Aaah! JOY!

But with finances as tight as they have been lately, a subscription was not in the budget. But today Vera e-mailed me, asking if I would like a subscription for my upcoming birthday -- JOY! I accepted eagerly and look forward to receiving Victoria again -- a little oasis of grace and peace in this busy and harried world.

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