True stories with a twist!

Posts tagged ‘memories’


Whether they are paper photo albums or digital photos we all have batches of old photographs. The drawers that store them are bulging, and we haven’t the the time to look them. Not to mention the courage to get rid of any of them.

There are photos of ourselves as children, photos of our families. Photos of close friends now gone from our lives. It is astounding how many people have come into and gone out of our lives.

Photos of places, where we lived and where we visited. Places we studied, places we worked.

We could spend half a lifetime revisiting our former lives.

How do you feel when you see your past through these photographic images?

When I look at pictures of my children as young babies, toddlers and pre-teens I wonder, Did I realize how adorable they were? Did I appreciate them? Or was I always so busy that I didn’t take the time to see and enjoy them for the miracles that they were?

Thornton Wilder, in his beautiful play, “Our Town,” brings back his young heroine, Emily, from the dead, to relive an ordinary day in her past. As she looks at the old family house and enters the kitchen she sees her mother.

She exclaims, “Mama, I’m here. Oh! how young Mama looks! I never knew Mama was ever that young.”

Perceptions change. Images are startling. Do any of us remember  that anyone from our past was ever that young?

Can you at those smiling images in your albums and see yourself the way you were then? Before you knew what would happen between then and now to the family and friends in those pictures? Before you knew about the experiences ahead that you would love or the ones you would be forced to endure?

Nobody can see or predict the future, but it is astounding to know the way fate turned in so many cases.

This Monday is the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashona, the start of the New Year, a time to reflect on the passing year and take stock of life. To look back on memories of the year as if they were photographs in an album.

If this year doesn’t start off the way you hope to remember, look forward to celebrating the secular New Year on December 31st:  another New Year that offers a fresh start. And if the fates are still unkind try again on the Chinese New Year in February. There are countless times, ways and reasons to start over again and try to get it right.

I hope you fill your memory’s photograph albums with thoughts and images to enjoy: thoughts and images worth looking back upon.

Happy New Year.


In November, 2009, when I heard the astounding news that Conde Nast decided to eliminate the publication of Gourmet I was shocked. “This magazine has been a part of my life every since I was married,” I wailed. “Couldn’t Conde Nast call for a vote? Summon a focus group? Just a snap of corporate fingers and it’s gone?”

I have so many memories of this wonderful publication.

The first recipe I tried was “Dill Bread Hoffman.” That recipe brought a raging battle to the “Letters to the Editor” page.

“How dare those Hoffmans steal my recipe and then name it after themselves? I submitted that recipe first.”

The pride in family recipes was very serious to the original Dill Bread bakers.Their published temper tantrum added a Country Brawl quality to the magazine.

I was bought back to one traumatic pre-Thanksgiving when my son was in second grade. He came home from school in tears. He had forgotten to tell me that bis teacher requested that the children ask their mothers to serve a typical pilgrim dinner that night.

“Everyone told the class what they had for dinner. Most kids said stuff like, turkey, corn, and squash. But when it was men turn I said Szechuan beef with Chinese mushrooms. Everyone laughed at me.”

My defense? Gourmet had featured recipes from China in the last issue.

Every month when Gourmet arrived I enjoyed a reprieve from humdrum ordinary to exotic. It connected me with famous, sophisticated chefs divulging coveted recipes.

And they were receptive to their subscribers. Once, after a vacation to La Jolla, California, I requested a recipe from Sante Ristorante. One day a letter from Gourmet arrived, containing the recipe for “Papardelle with Fennel Sauce,” compliments of the chef. Gourmet had made time to call and get the respond to my request.

Now they were being forced out of my life forever.

Is it possible to mourn a publication? I did.

Feeling the need for comfort, someone with whom to share my feelings, a way to connect with a past Gourmet experience, I found Sante Restorante and dialed their number. Rather than a greeting from the restaurant I heard a computerized voice saying that the number had been permanently disconnected.

“So they’re gone too!”

As I sorrowfully looked through the last issue ever to be published, November 2009, “A Day That Will Live In Culinary Infamy,” those annoying little post cards advertising new subscriptions kept falling out from between the pages. They were annoying before but now they were infuriating.

“I’ll show Conde Nast what I think of their company’s policy!”Searching through all the Gourmet Magazines stored on my kitchen shelves, I gathered every single postcard and mailed them back to Conde Nast.

They will have to pay for all that postage for those cards. I hope they have to declare Bankruptcy, Chapter 11, and income tax evasion.

So I wonder, “If Julia Child were here today what would she think of what I did?”

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