Saturday, November 14, 2009


I miss Victoria most in November. Victoria was that marvelous, warm, happy periodical that published from 1987 to 2002. The November issues are the warmest and coziest. Or perhaps I believe so because my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, falls in November.

Foolishly, I clipped many issues to save on space and to ease back to back moves. Now, thanks to eBay, I am missing only three issues which includes the Holy Grail, the Premiere Issue, currently selling for $75.00! I may never own that one but thankfully a friend does I can "visit" it often.

I read that Premier issue when it first came out but I did not really see the appeal. I was a new mother and felt more kinship with Mothering, Child and Parenting. But life turned a corner for me in 1987 and Victoria became a talisman, a guide for living.

I suddenly became a single parent when my daughter was a baby. A time of bright happiness abruptly turned dark. I was bereft. My first holiday without a husband was Thanksgiving and I was dreading it. Knowing it would be difficult, my mother arranged for me to meet her at a hotel where I would leave my car and join her for a ride to my brother's family celebration.

I arrived at the hotel frantic. One of the challenges of being a single mother, I was learning, was the maneuvering and management of baby paraphernalia as well as baby. To make matters worse, I left my handbag on the roof of the car and drove over it as I was leaving home. Then the baby woke up and cried and fussed all the way to the hotel.

My mother was there waiting for us and immediately assessed the state of mind of her two "girls". She told me to wait in the passenger seat of her car. Mom then unhitched the baby from the car seat and the car seat from the car. She grabbed the diaper bag and the pie I was contributing to my brother's Thanksgiving table. As soon as all were ensconced in the car, the baby blessedly fell into an exhausted sleep. Mom took out a magazine out from a basket on the car floor and said, "I bought you something pretty and I want you to sit back, relax, and read this nice book. It's the sweetest thing I've ever seen". I wiped the long tears that kept escaping from my eyes as I opened Victoria.

As I turned the pages of that Winter issue, something began to happen. I felt a tickle of perhaps not happiness, but lightheartedness as I saw sweet pairs of pastel baby mittens. "I can knit those", I thought. I turned a few more pages and saw a scrumptious dish and thought, "This will comfort me when I make dinner alone", I saw a garnet bracelet that looked familiar and realized I had one just like it, inherited from my grandmother and lying patiently in my jewelry box. I began to make plans again.....
I could "see" this new life, for a family of we two, a family that was still viable and worthy of effort. In Victoria's pages, I crafted a way of living for my daughter and I, one with light and hope, elegance and peace. I realized that motherhood was no less sacred without a husband. And I could do this very hard thing.
My wise mother knew it too, and she and Victoria gently turned my teary face towards a different view on that long Thanksgiving drive.

Of course, I was terribly sad when Victoria stopped publishing. But now I have made my life a Victoria. I know this every time I take time to write a real letter to my mother, arrange flowers in a vase, tie a silk scarf over my sweater, or don my grandmother's garnet bracelet.


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your dear mother this post is! She wrapped you inside the comfortable pages of VICTORIA to sooth your weary soul. That hope gave you strength to carry on....
    Millions of ladies, I am just sure of it, have felt the comfort of this old friendictorially yours, Misses Peach.

  2. What a kindred spirit you are. This is such a heartwarmingly precious story you have told. I know that we all (those of us who loved her well) have a Victoria story. Yours is amazing and so wonderful that it involves three generations of ladies in your family. It's no wonder you have a deep-rooted love for Victoria. Though my story is not filled with the lows and highs of yours, it is also one involving three generations of Victoriannes. Isn't it wonderful to think there was a magazine that could bring generations together like that? I can't imagine that happening today.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story,

  3. Your mother is a wise woman. It was my mother who introduced me to Victoria as well about a year or so after its debut. I have tried over the years to repay the kindness. Thanks for reminding me of the bond between mother and daughter. I need to try harder.


  4. Indeed, Wendelah! It still hurts, doesn't it??? And there is nothing on the newsstand to take its place...still...