A couple months ago I opened a piece of junk mail that somehow caught my attention before I automatically dumped it in the trash unopened as I do with 99% of our junk mail. It was some type of ad for the Saturday Evening Post ®.
Somehow in my mind I thought that publication had ceased. I was almost right. Here’s what actually happened: Curtis Publishing Co. stopped publishing the Postin 1969 after the company lost a landmark defamation suitand was ordered to pay over $3 million in damages. The Postwas revived in 1971 as a limited circulation quarterly publication. As of the late 2000s, The Saturday Evening Postis published six times a year by the Saturday Evening Post Society, which purchased the magazine in 1982.
I don’t remember much about the mailer except the subscription price was incredibly low and it took me back to some childhood memories which I thought I might be able to share with the readers of this column from time to time.
Well, the first issue came last week. It is filled with nostalgia stories and ads and the art section had a six page spread of Norman Rockwell’s covers celebrating Mother’s Day. Truth be told, his artwork is at least half the reason I decided to subscribe. He’s one of my favorite artists, which I guess tells you a lot about me!
In 1916, Saturday Evening Posteditor George Horace Lorimerdiscovered Norman Rockwell, then an unknown 22-year-old New York artist. Lorimer promptly purchased two illustrations from Rockwell, using them as covers, and commissioned three more drawings. Rockwell’s illustrations of the American family and rural life of a bygone era became icons. During his 50-year career with the Post, Rockwell painted more than 300 covers.
So what is it about the Post that captures my imagination and attention? I think it’s because to me it represents a golden era in American culture. Though it was founded in 1821 and grew to become the most widely circulated weekly magazine in America, for me it started in the 50’s when I , as a young boy, used to go to my grandparents’ house where they actually had magazines (too much of a luxury at our house). There I would see the wonderful cover illustrations by Norman Rockwell that “Hooked me” into opening its pages and visually (not much of a reader back then) consuming its contents.
And the contents were about all things wholesome: everyday family life, holidays with family, parades, etc. and the editorial content seemed to me to be patriotically supportive of our government. I’m sure the scoundrels existed back then as well as now but my recollections are positive, not negative. Hence, I took a chance on a subscription; and I’m glad I did.
I feel very privileged to have grown up in the 50’s & 60’s culture of America that “The Post” chronicled so well. I’d like to preserve as much of its innocence and goodness as I possibly can for our grandkids as they grow up. Hope you do too.
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!
PS What’s your favorite magazine as a child?
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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