Saturday, July 7, 2007


How could I not blog on this date? I hadn't really thought about it until the recent media blitz about this being the most sought after wedding date in history. I've always had luck with 7, but then again my Friday the 13ths always go extremely well.

But this day had an odd sort of circumference. The very first editor I ever worked with, Claire Whitcomb, used to be an editor at VICTORIA Magazine. I first pitched an article to her on the Gibson House Museum where I lived and worked in the mid-1980s, a Victorian house in Boston's Back Bay (and which recently celebrated their 50th anniversary as a house museum--even though it was built in 1860). I wrote several more articles for her and sort of put my writing on the sidelines while working in the museum field and in public relations. But I have a lot of gratitude to Claire for liking my first idea ever sent to a magazine and for nurturing my fledgling freelance career.

As it is with most freelance relationships, especially those as remote as New England to New York, I never met with her in person, until today. I still remember the clear sound of her voice when she called me the first time in 1989 to say that they loved the story of my having lived and worked in a Victorian house. Even better, they wanted me to write it. That summer, with my then 13 month old daughter Addie in tow, we stayed at the museum and orchestrated the photo shoot. On a hot summer day, Steve Gross and Sue Daley drove up in their old aqua blue Volvo, parked at the front door, and came to photograph the house for the magazine. They, too, walked into my life that day and here they are, 18 years later, as the principal photographers for THE PANTRY. [Somehow, I knew when I met Sue that day that we would always be connected in some way, and we have.]

In the spirit of coincidence (or "coinky dink" as Sue likes to call them) and reconnections, a robin reoccupied the nest on our porch today. I don't know if it is the same robin that was here a few weeks ago--or a sublet--but there she (or he, quite possibly) is, perched on her nest with another cache of eggs.

But I have strayed a bit off course. Last week Claire Whitcomb contacted me. She and her family would be in nearby Swanzey, where her branch of Whitcombs had lived, for a family gathering and could we get together on July 7? The especially circular thing about this story is that we live in the Whitcomb House in Hancock, a name ascribed for the two brothers, John and Henry, who built the house in 1813 for their two brides. Somehow, Claire is related to these Whitcombs. [A month or so ago, another Whitcomb family came through our town and wanted to see the house.]

My two sons, Henry and Eli, acting as hosts while their Dad is on a Civil War battlefield trip, were great about pulling out an album of the house that was made in the 1930s, showing everyone around, and wanting to lead everyone down to the cemetery to see the Whitcomb family plot.

We had a chance to visit, to talk about books and magazines and writing, about the news that VICTORIA is being revived from a several year dormancy (another odd circular thing). We sent them off at dusk on up Route 123 into the hills of southwestern New Hampshire to their next destination. In this era of e-mail and working from home, it is always good to meet with people in person with whom we have these far off connections. I hope it won't be another eighteen years until we meet again.


Anonymous said...

Talk about a coincidence! On the same day you were meeting Claire Whitcomb I was re-reading the June 1993 issue of Victoria, including the excellent Chimes piece she wrote titled "In My Father's Classroom." I decided that today I would look for copies of her and her father's books online, and I wondered if I could Google to find out what happened to her. So I was especially delighted to read your post and to learn she is doing well! It's really rather amazing that she, Nancy Lindemeyer and the other staffers have provided us with magazines that have an eternal shelf life. Hearst sooooo missed the boat on this one! (And although I'm eagerly if cautiously awaiting the arrival of "new" Victoria, deep in my heart of hearts I know it's not likely the original spirit of that magazine will ever be restored. Without Nancy, Claire, etc., how can it be the same?)

At any rate, I appreciated your update AND I will be ordering a copy of your new book. It sounds right up my alley!


the Feathered nest said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm taking a wait and see approach to the new Victoria. Like alot of people, I wasn't too happy with it towards the end. So we'll see how it's resurrected.