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I was only 12

By Gina Gippner

It's amazing how there are days when we close our eyes and we're transformed back in time.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I ran through my house, up the stairs, into my room, and closed the door behind me. I had purchased my first Seventeen Magazine, and I was only 12.

Before I could read it, I had to make my room perfect. I pulled open my pink "Hollie Hobbie" curtains and then opened the window so the ocean breeze would blow into my room. I took about 15 minutes and went through my albums. I had to have just the right music for such an occasion. I smile now thinking what my choice was: The Neil Sedaka Collection.

I lit some berry incense and grabbed my Three Musketeers chocolate bar that I was saving for that moment. I found a comfy spot and laid on the floor, positioning myself so my legs were dangling above my knees and my elbows were firmly in place so one hand could hold up my chin, and the other could turn the pages.

I remember the anticipation of being able to learn about what it would be like to be 17.

When I opened the first page I had found something. My magazine was used. I wasn't the first one to turn those pages, and all of a sudden my "perfect" space had become violated. As I kept turning pages I had completely lost interest in what I was reading. I kept thinking, "This magazine must not be any good if it was returned." Yet, I kept reading.

Halfway through I found two pages that were stuck together. Seemed not only had the young girl read my publication, but she had destroyed it, too. She needed a place to house her bubble gum.

When I finally was able to un-stick the pages I found a piece of folded paper tucked safely inside. Now, being that I'm curious, I had to see what she had decided to hide. It had looked like an old catalog cover of some sort. On the back she had written five words, "I want one of these." I turned the cover over and this is what was written. It was from a Lydia E. Pinkham's mail order catalog published in 1927.

The "Happy Housewife" was described in Lydia Pinkham's mail order catalog in the following manner: "Four walls can make a house, but it takes a woman to make a home. The woman who prepares nourishing and attractive meals, does her housework without grumbling, raises a family of healthy boys and girls and still finds time to be a pal to her husband and friend to her neighbors is accomplishing the biggest job in the world. Homes like hers - little havens of peace and love - are the bulwark of the nation."

This past week I was going through my box of words. I collect words. Journals, cards, notes ... words that I never want to forget and hearts shared with me when I needed them the most. I've been collecting words my whole life, and I believe I collect them so when the time comes and I'm no longer here my children can sit and get to know Gina ... the Gina that was more than "Just Mom." There is a difference. I don't think I quite realized that until I had finished going through my box.

33 years later, I now understand what that young girl was looking for. She was looking for something she couldn't find in the magazine and that is why she returned it. She wasn't looking for anything that would make her skinnier, prettier, or popular like I was. She was looking for the "bulwark" that we provide our children.

While 1927 was a time that I can only read about, I can't help but be drawn to what was written. There is something magical in believing that while we think we're not always doing the best job for our children ...

There are children who believe that what we do is worth searching for.

Gina Woods
Just Mom, Inc.
PO Box 6533
Thousand Oaks, CA. 91359
(805) 497-0534

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