We Hear You! Letters from Our November 2012 Issue

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by MORE • Editors
christina applegate cover image

This is fanmail, and more. First, I ADORE More! Can't wait for each month's issue to arrive. Love settling down with a large decaf two percent extra-foamy homemade cappuccino and savoring the magazine page by page. Cannot skim it as I usually do favorite mags, only later returning to sink deeply into a few chosen articles; always mean to do that with More, but find too many articles just way too juicy to pass up. Clearly you are doing an absolutely brilliant job reading my mind. And my several pals who are my age (mid-sixties, most of us) feel exactly the same way. So, kudos! And please keep it up!

That said, I feel honor-bound to offer up just one teensy whimper of complaint: what's all this about "here's what 47 looks like"? or "here's what 50 looks like"? Those women look GREAT, of course. And they all seem to be doing wonderful, inspired and inspiring, creative, admirable things. But dear LJS, my pals and I have been there already. What we want to see is, "here's what SEVENTY looks like"! Or how about, "here's what EIGHTY looks like!"? We're looking for inspiration here, and hope, and a good reason not to have our faces lifted. Enclosed in this email, I offer up, just for example, a year-old snapshot of what 65 looked like a summer ago: me on the rocks, snapped while I was visiting my gorgeous 27-year-old daughter in L.A.

Anyhow, the far more serious purpose of this missive is to send you a little true-life mother/son story about taking my four-decades-younger son to France for a week's vacation, a year ago, in fulfillment of a promise I'd made to him some dozen years before. It's called "The Gift." As you will see, there's a potentially horrendous mishap toward the beginning, and then a wonderfully happy middle, which I've cleverly managed to postpone revealing till the end, for reasons you will understand. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. I think it would appeal to all the moms of sons among your readers. Hope you agree. I'm also attaching my bio, in case you're interested in that.

Sincere thanks for your time, and for a truly wonderful magazine.
--Kat Lancaster

I laughed my way through Emily Listfield’s article, “No One Told Me That Would Happen.”  Unfortunately, I have another ailment to add to her list, “vaginal atrophy.” Google that, to learn how many post-menopausal women suffer from this, but very few of us talk about it. Let’s get the conversation going!

Please do not print my name, for obvious reasons.

Hi Lesley. My name is Kelley, and I recently became a reader of More magazine. I've loved every issue I've read so far, and I can't wait for the next one. Keep up the great work!
--Kelly Graves

Your November issue was hands down my fave yet. I grinned wildly when I read Drop What You Shop - "I own many outfits for places I will never go" very much describes my closet (and obsession with Anthropologie, ahem), and Death Becomes Him was fabulously perfect. I shared it with so many of my friends (who dare to think and laugh at the same thing). Are you reading my mind, More? My only disappointment was that Iris Apfel didn't write Safe or Sorry - at first I thought she had and I was so very keen to read!!
--Dawn Murray

I love More Magazine and every month I patiently wait for it to arrive in the mail. I am like a kid with a new toy. I can’t wait. I read it from beginning to end. I read the column written by Lesley Jane Seymour, Editor-in-Chief, on reconnecting with someone that you hadn’t seen for years or had gradually lost touch with over the years and I knew I had to write beause not long after reading it, I ran into someone from my past that I would rather have never seen again as long as I lived unless we reconnected by accident which is exactly what happened. But the one day that I did run into this person, I realized something very important about myself.  I was stronger and better than I had ever realized.

I was at the mall picking up a must have piece of clothing that my 15-year-old absolutely needed for her visit to the local Halloween house that evening.  As I was making my way to the check-out counter, I heard my name.  I turned to see who may have called me and spotted the woman who 30-some years ago had made it her mission to turn my high school years into a living hell.  She and her group of friends tormented me on a daily basis. So badly, I often begged my parents to be sent to another school. I would try to hide myself as I walked through the halls to avoid running into them. These memories came flooding back as if it was yesterday and high school all over again.  I pretended I hadn’t seen her and quickly made my way to the nearest checkout and sternly told myself that even if I did run into her again--though I was already formulating an escape route—that I was more than capable of handling the situation.

Casually glancing over my shoulder and not spotting the enemy, I was ready to heave a sigh of relief when someone touched my arm. She greeted me like we were long-lost friends, giving me a big hug and asking how I had been. The meek, mousey, teenager with braces and apparently a large target on her back, wanted to just melt into the floor. I forced a smile and said everything was just great.  She then asked if I wanted to have a quick coffee and catch up. My shocked reaction must have registered on my face because she quickly said if I was too busy, maybe we could chat another time.

Conversations with her in high school consisted of her and her friends throwing insults and publically humiliating me, it was never a polite back and forth exchange. I thought maybe since we were both adults in our 50’s, high school was a thing of the past and we could actually sit down, be civil, catch up, laugh, and enjoy a coffee together. We went to a local coffee place. She proceeded to tell me about her life. She had just recently quit work because her husband felt that her time should be dedicated to raising their two daughters and being available to volunteer for all their activities. So now her days were filled with volunteer work and just being a great mom. Did I work?  I told her that I did and I really loved my job.  She brushed that off and asked if I had children?  I proudly said I had two teenage daughters and that even with work I was also the president of the Cheerleading boosters. I couldn’t resist the dig and was feeling pretty proud of myself for being able to do both pretty well when she touched my arm and said that I was probably doing the best I could.

In high school I would have slid down in my chair, humiliated that I wasn’t perfect or that I did things differently. But today, I had this vision in which I actually jumped up and shouted that I wasn’t just doing the best I can but I was doing a damned great job. Then I realized I didn’t care what she thought. I may have tried everything to make her like me in high school, but 30 years later, I may still have remembered those horrible days but today—I honestly didn’t care what she thought. 

As I sat there listening to her go on and on about how she is still best friends with her crowd from high school and how they got together regularly to talk about everyone we had gone to school with, I wondered if I at one time or another I had been the topic of one of their conversations and if not, within the next week I knew I would be. I imagined her telling them how old I looked or that I hadn’t had a manicure in months, that I worked and didn’t give all my time to my kids,  or that I still had the untamable curly hair that was so often the target of her insults. I didn’t care!  I loved myself the way I was. I had a wonderful husband and family and my life was good. It may not be perfect but then again, I wouldn’t want it to be. I had accepted that my hair would never be stick straight, that I wasn’t going to grow another five inches so I could be tall, but I didn’t care! I was small and slender and I stayed that way because I worked out and took care of myself. I loved me just the way I am. I wished I had come to that revelation in high school but I realize now without all the drama in high school I might never have found me—the person that I am today and the person that I am most proud of.  I almost wanted to thank her.  I interrupted her rant and said I had to go. She said to friend her on Facebook; she wanted to stay in touch.  I laughed as I walked away.  That is one friend request, I am definitely going to ignore.
--Tracy Gray

I never write to Editors, but your "money-pit" story was so funny and right on , that I LMAO!!!! Please give us more! You have a real talent!
--Francine Zabkar

For many years I was a subscriber to More, but recently let my subscription relapse.  Part of the reason for that included the plethora of self-absorbed and depressing memoir and other personal stories that keep cropping up ever since Lesley Jane Seymour took over as Editor-in-Chief.  As a 51 year old woman who lives a pretty much fun and fascinating lifestyle, I rarely if ever find myself reflected in More's pages.  I thought that, perhaps, this month's memoir "The Father I Thought I Knew" might be a bit different.

I was wrong.

First, I was taken by the author's inability to truly see her Father as not just a product of his generation, but a product of the history that surrounded and shaped him.  I was also disappointed in the fairy tales she spun around him as she imagined him doing this or that among "wod-be artists and intellectuals."

My reaction is so negatively strong to this because my own Father died recently, and I discovered things about him, his life, and his times, that would make author Bliss Broyard's head completely fly off her bourgeois shoulders.  Being black is nothing compared to finding out that your Father once had a completely different name, that the man who he claimed as his own Father might not have been, and that his Mother (whom he often called "a whore") might actually have been a prostitute in the deep South of the 1920's. 
It also pales when one discovers that one's Mother may, too, have been the product of an illicit relationship,potentially with another woman who also may have been a "whore," or perhaps was the illegitimate daughter of one of her sisters.

In order to make sense of this sordid family history, I didn't just sit there and imagine this or that.  As I had learned through my studies of English Lit at Smith College, sometimes one must see the person in their times to understand what he/she might be writing, why they said something a certain way, or even just to understand an action that might be completely objectionable in our own times.  For me, I started to dig into the world of the 1920's and 1910's, when my Father and Mother were born, to discover some truth about their worlds and what was so different about mine.

Looking back at my Father's world, I discovered a place where prostitution--the old "whore house" or "brothel"--might have been illegal but was often overlooked by local authorities.  Especially around Army bases of the time period.  I discovered that one major reason for the outlawing of brothels was the staggering numbers of young men who enlisted for World War I, were infected with syphillis or gonorhhea, both not curable until WWII and the advent of antibiotics.  Around the time of my Father's birth--1925--the Klu Klux Klan held sway over a better part of the nation, as some sort of civil Taliban, enforcing what they thought to be the moral laws of the country (there were no such things but that didn't stop the Klan.)  Hence, when my Father one day referred to my Mother as "your race" (meaning Italian) I almost died of shame at my Father's thinking my Mother to be of a different race.  But, in the eyes of the KKK, and in the Deep South of the 20's and through the 30's, anyone who was black, Roman Catholic, or Jewish was a different "race."

The KKK involvement also explained my Mother's strange story of "ghosts"  that ran her family and other Italian immigrants out of Stroudsburg, PA sometime in the 1920's.  No, the man with the lions and the ballerina in the closet weren't ghosts--as my Mother and her sisters believed until their deaths.  They were, most likely, members of the KKK, running the "greaseball Italians" out of Stroudsburg Iwhich was also a KKK stronghold.)

So, you see  how someone like me, who truly wanted to understand her parents strange morality, their inability to understand me as a 70's teenager, their desire to join the John Burch society, and other things that I found absolutely morally reprehensible and "stupid" in my liberal thinking mind, could find Ms. Broyard's reminiscences overly delicate, romantic, and trite.
So, as I see it, More needs to step up its game--have more gritty stories like the ones that Glamour is starting to run, and less bourgeois whining.  Not to mention that it would be so nice to see some stories with a sense of humor and not shame over things like ageing, dating, fashion and so forth. If I want to feel ashamed of being over 50, I'll read Oprah's magazine, which is chock full of body and age hatred for just about any age group of women.
--Tish Grier

I am a 60 year old married woman! I was lucky to meet a nice man when I was 41! Until then I had my best friend Muffy!! He had been abused! He was with me for 15years through thick and thin! In my life-my dogs have been my soulmates! I now have a 13 year old schnauzer and a 3 year old poodle!!!

They are my kids!! I was not lucky enough to have children!! You have kids but many of us do not! What is pamela redmond Satran thinking?  These wonderful dogs make our life so special!

They need homes! Everyone of them is terrific!!

Let us take care of them! Please do not put an article in to more magazine that is against our best friends!

First Published Wed, 2012-10-24 13:16

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