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March 16, 2007


Kelley Bell


(Action + Intent - Miracles)


Kelley Bell



I don't indulge in magazines often although I would LOVE to get Architectural Digest and National Geographic. The only mag I've subscribed to and still get (have for many years) is Readers' Digest, which is chalk full of great stories.


I hear you, FLS.
My interior design teachers from Parsons School of Design mostly all died from AIDs. It's like a part of my younger years died too.

I'm addicted to bead and jewelry making mags at the present. I'm addicted to buying beads too. It's a disease. I now have more jewelry than anyone would ever need and I don't even wear the stuff. I just like making it.

Fortunately it is almost spring and I am starting to pick up the garden mags again although I did save them from last year and it's all redundant.


The new magazines, for me, this year are Cat Fancy, Horse and Rider, and I should be start getting Artist's Magazine, again. I know how it is, as you mentioned with Vogue. You read them, but as time goes by, many sit unread. That's exactly what happened the last time I was getting so many. I leave one in the car, and as I wait to go into the job, page through, reading anything that really needs to be read. The pictures, in all three, are wonderful.


I love your story of the perfume bottle your mother gave you.

After her kids grew up and left home, my mom became (undiagnosed) depressed and bitter. She was unpleasant to be around, and eventually my phone calls to her dwindled from weekly to monthly or whenever I wanted to call, instead of duty-oriented. My mother was bitter and unpleasant for nearly 20 years. About 6 months before she died, her doctor put her on an antidepressant that made a huge difference. It was like having MY mother back, not the nasty witch who had been living in her body.

I actually was very conflicted about this because I felt re-shaping the relationship would take a lot of effort on my part -- I had stored up a lot of resentment over that 20 years. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to make the effort as the doc felt the antidepressant was causing heart palpitations and took her off them. She rapidly regressed into the bitter nasty woman she had become and died about 6 months later, still nearly estranged from her children's and grandchildren's hearts. I really resent the fact that the doctor did not see fit to try a different antidepressant with her. Barring that, having a slightly shorter life with the chance to reconcile with her children would surely have been the way to go, to my way of thinking (is this because I'm a pet owner, where we sometimes have to make the decisions for quality vs. quantity of life?)

Anyway, the Christmas before she died, while she was on the antidepressants, my mother sent me a hat and scarf as a gift. At first, I wanted to scream because who would send a dog-owner in the rainy part of the NW an offwhite scarf & hat? On reflection, though, I noticed how fabulously soft and cuddly these things were. I called my mom and thanked her sincerely for the gift, and she beamed on the phone. I've never worn them, but I treasure them still, even as we approach the 5th anniversary of my mother's death.


I decided to save money and not keep up with magazine subscriptions. Now I make too many trips to the book store!

Missouri Mule

I used to love to poke around in the basement when I was growing up, for all that the air down there was almost unbreathable with mildew. That's because the source of that mildew, my mother's old magazines, was that I was in part of after. They were stacked on shelves, the years' worth of New Yorkers, Vogues, House & Gardens. They were of a commanding scale then, calling for nothing less than allegiance, none of today's penny-pinching, eight-by-ten, throwaway mien. And in them I found a map to where I wanted to go, by way of where I had been: an attempt to divine the mysteries of why my mother was as magnificent, as beautiful, as totally nuts as she was to me.
The women in their satin shirtwaists and spike heels. The deep azures and emeralds of the cloths, the drinks, the pools, the gardens at dusk: all represented the place and the person my mother must have hoped to inhabit and become, and they were so intoxicating to me I wanted to fall into the photos and drown. But the years combed the passion into a somewhat neater arrangement. I just wanted to look a little bit like those women who were in such unquestioning command of themselves, their makeup brushes, and their fears. My mother gave me a subscription to Vogue, renewed every Christmas with a discreet white envelope placed in doughs of the tree. It took some gumption on my part to tell her that I couldn't continue the line by participating in the matriarchal cultural tradition. I think I knew that the pictures were only as deep as the pages they were printed on.

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