Where have all the icons gone?
We still have “baseball” but it’s not quite the same anymore. Or is that just me as an Orioles fan? “Hotdogs “ have become pariahs in the food world as carriers of huge amounts of nitrates and other purported carcinogens. “Apple Pie” contains much more sugar than one should eat on a regular basis. “Chevrolet” - need I say more?
It was with great sadness I read of the bankruptcy filing of another American icon, Reader’s Digest. Now, I will admit it’s been a while since I read a Reader’s Digest and probably a decade or more since I had a subscription, but what will I pick up for a quick read in the doctor’s waiting room? Where will we find Humor in Uniform? Where will we see those cute little sayings from the mouths of babes? What about those little sections about the origins of words we never use?
Seriously, a copy of Reader’s Digest always made me think of my Grandmother. Throughout my childhood, she always had a Reader’s Digest handy. A ferocious reader, she read everything cover-to-cover and I believe she read her entire monthly copy of RD in a day or two at the most. She would then pass it on to my mom who would bring it home for all to read.
We all inherited our reading habits from Grandmother so even as young kids, we’d pick it up and read it here and there. I used to try out the vocabulary words at dinner or some other odd moment. My brother, anticipating that move, would counter-attack with some other powerful use of the language. I read my first account of someone climbing Mt. Everest in RD. I became engrossed in inspirational essays before I even understood the concept of inspirational pieces. The articles in RD reinforced the basic family values and acts of humanity that were taught in most American homes back then.
When all had read that little magazine and it was several months old, it often became an angel in a Girl Scout project. Do you remember folding the pages down to form the body that would support a Styrofoam head ? Once shaped, we would spray paint it gold or white for the angel. The head would be placed and decorated and our Moms, Grandmas and Aunts would proudly display these throughout the holidays. Okay, I’m probably showing my age here. I was a Girl Scout in the 60s (late 60s). I guess y’all don’t remember making wreaths out of IBM punch cards either, do you?
Interested in one of those little angel projects? I’m sure I could tell you how to do it!!