Barbara Parent: “The Girl Can’t Help It.”

Barbara Parent: “The Girl Can’t Help It.”

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The vice president of the Harley Owners Group sent out a letter and informed Ron that his member subscription to, “The Enthusiast” magazine will “transition” to four digitally distributed electronic issues beginning with the March edition.

While I occasionally thumb through the pages of “The Enthusiast” my immediate reaction was not so much that I would no longer have the luxury of holding the magazine in my hands, which is the way it should be as far as I was concerned, but that my beloved “Country Living,” subscription, one that goes back to the early 80s would be next. 


I am not of the digital age whether it be financial statements, newspapers, or Heaven forbid, books. To it all, I say, “No thank you.”

Our grandson, Jake, would chide, “Meme, don’t be so old-fashioned.”

But as the saying goes, “The girl can’t help it.”

Does it go back to Audrey and me sitting on the stoop in front of her tenement, our latest movie magazine open across our laps? Girls like Audrey and me were star struck. Some might say it was the times.

Early 50s.

What twirls around in our 8-year-old minds? Reality of an inner city neighborhood softened by the depicted glamour we cut out of movie star magazines?

We relish the lives of the MGM starlets.

We snip away at the poses that catch our fancy, so careful Audrey’s mother’s sewing scissors not tear our treasures, we inch along the spine of the magazine.

A full page color shot of my favorite, Jane Powell, sipping an ice cream soda through a straw!

Audrey and I are entrepreneurs of sorts funding our cash flow to buy the monthly issues. Our target is the large factory, taller than tall that shadows the entire block across the street from our tenements.

We are too young to give our enterprise such a fancy name as, “entrepreneurs.” Would it even be a word we are asked to define on the spelling list our third grade teacher Miss Jackson passes out?

Audrey and I buy nickel bars of candy at the corner drugstore and in turn, sell them to the factory workers for 10 cents, passing them through the windows on the ground floor of the brick building.

Our objective realized, we hold hands and walk the blocks from Maple Street, down Pine, left at Meadow and into the drug store on the corner of Meadow and Park.

Looking back all these years, was the scenario for two young friends as they stand at the magazine display, more than movie star envy or rather an awakening feeling of independence.

They scan the beautiful faces of Debbie Reynolds and Ann Blyth, Kathryn Grayson and Esther Williams, Lori Nelson and Elizabeth Taylor on the covers of Modern Screen and Photoplay.

They don’t have to be concerned for the store owner’s whereabouts because they don’t have to sneak a look inside the magazines. They have used their wits and can buy their own magazine..

They decide on the issue they will purchase, count out their coins at the register and take turns holding it during the walk back to Maple Street where they sit on the front stoop of Audrey’s tenement, the magazine open across their laps and savor each turn of the pages.

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