When we were putting together this issue, I could see that the meaning of home—something that is never more present in our lives than at this time of year—seemed to be expressed on nearly every page. In our home and food features, two sets of New England culinary stars open their homes so that readers […]
By Mel Allen
Oct 17 2017
When we were putting together this issue, I could see that the meaning of home—something that is never more present in our lives than at this time of year—seemed to be expressed on nearly every page. In our home and food features, two sets of New England culinary stars open their homes so that readers can do a bit of armchair peeking at how they cook for the holidays. We meet the warm and welcoming Brass sisters and can almost feel we’ve been invited to stay awhile and have a slice of coffee cake. We follow hundreds of Christmas trees from their home soil in northern Vermont to a Brooklyn neighborhood and thence to hundreds of new homes, and it’s as though we’re seeing anew a tradition many of us take for granted but which only happens after many weeks, even years, of arduous work. And we bring you a story that you may have forgotten, about how a long-ago tragedy in Nova Scotia was met with an outpouring of compassion and generosity by Bostonians, and how every December a Canadian tree finds a new home in Boston.
Only a few weeks ago, I was certain I would fill this space by showing how the meaning of home was reflected in these stories—but that all changed when Yankee’s beloved columnist, Edie Clark, who has written so many stories and so many columns about her rural life in New England, took a fall. Turns out Edie had been falling frequently, without warning, but always refused to go to the hospital. This last time she acquiesced, and the doctors told her she had suffered a series of small but significant strokes. She spent a month in the hospital and now is having rehab therapy at a nearby facility. Her spirits are good. She laughs. Friends come by daily. She is still Edie.
Edie may not write again. That is a simple fact, and it is difficult for me to admit. But I knew I needed to let her loyal readers, the thousands who say they turn first to her “Mary’s Farm” whenever Yankee comes into their home, know why this issue features one of Edie’s favorite columns from the past.
I will write more about Edie and her hillside farm in the January/February 2018 issue. It is unlikely she will be able to return to the homestead that she nurtured and that in turn nurtured the words that touched so many. The family is putting its efforts toward finding a good, caring place for Edie to put down new roots—and she is someone who does this. Even if it’s in a setting where most of the residents have come because they no longer could maneuver in their previous homes, she will discover new stories and observations. What will change is that she may not be able to set them down in the words she wants to find.
We will run some of our favorite Edie Clark columns through 2018, and many more can be found between the covers of her books. Writers achieve a measure of immortality with words, and Edie has used hers to describe things that seem small—a storm, a handyman, the scent of beans baking in a wood-fired oven—yet are rooted so deep in place that time is all but suspended.
To send Edie cards, write here, to Yankee: 1121 Main Street, Dublin, New Hampshire 03444. We will visit Edie frequently, and it will be a fine pick-me-up for us to bring her a box of cards and read them aloud.
Mel Allen firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: To order any of Edie Clark’s books, including her newest, As Simple as That: Collected Essays, you can go to her website, edieclark.com.