Long Ago When I Used to Read The New Yorker Cover to Cover

I was a lonely pastor in my twenties.  I lived alone in a town of 400 and was the solo pastor of a lovely church with a very part-time organist and – until she died after tripping over the mimeo machine in her kitchen – a volunteer bulletin person.

It was the kind of place where people phoned me if they saw a light on in the manse at 3 am – concerned that I might be sick.  It was the kind of place where – if out of town guests were visiting – everyone commented on the out of state cars in the driveway.

It was the kind of place where I left town on my Sabbath – either taking the train to NYC for an overnight with ALC or driving the short distance to Manchester, VT for the day where I ate blueberry pancakes at a little place across the street from an independent book store.  And then I spent the rest of the day in that book store.  I read art books and poetry and it saved my life in terms of my loneliness.

I also read The New Yorker cover to cover every week because it was my escape.  I lived in far upstate rural New York and it connected me to the city.

Sometimes I wrote notes to Peter Cameron after reading one of his stories and sometimes he wrote back.  Once I attended a reading by May Sarton at the independent book store and I wrote her too.  She sent me a an autographed book of her poems.  I had time to do those things.  Living alone = more alone time.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I read The New Yorker cover to cover.  I read about construction issues at the 21 Club and about the sad Paisley Park museum where Prince used to live.  I read a cute story by Simon Rich and a book review for Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein by Leonard Bernstein’s oldest daughter.  I read some articles about politics in Mexico and looked at all the cartoons.  It was like eating dessert all day long.

Call me elitist/blessed/lucky.  Whatever you wish.  But what’s lovely today is that TDA and I are the former co-moderators of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA.  So I took Monday off.

Cover of The New Yorker on August 28, 1965.  (Mom’s 32nd birthday)

 

6 responses to “Long Ago When I Used to Read The New Yorker Cover to Cover

  1. I measure my time in New Yorkers. I am currently 2 NYer issues behind. It’s my little space and time of culture and intelligence that I treasure. So sorry to hear of the mimeograph tragedy. Pathos and bathos… which appear to be the purview of pastors everywhere. I’m glad you got some well-deserved down time.

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  2. I believe I was one of those out-of-state cars in your driveway back in the day, migrating away from my own Maine loneliness – and out of the depth of yours you brought the greatest hospitality. You’ve paid your dues many times over, and it’s pink-tickling to see what you paid coming back to you as abundant life. Thanks for your story, for your work, and for being alive!

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  3. Good for you. You served the denomination well. You came to Blackhawk Presbytery and gave a power point about the future church. Did you happen to keep it and is it available for purchase?

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  4. AMEN, Honey.  I get it!!!Joan

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