Photo by Salt Water New England

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Town & Country

Scans of My Old Magazines
Scanned in from some of my old Town and Country Magazines, back when they got it right - a smattering of New England shore and Connecticut River towns, which includes some of my old classmates, riding friends, and neighbors. 



















56 comments:

  1. One of my all-time favourite issues. —Michael

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  2. Very enjoyable. Thanks

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  3. "Back when they got it right." So true. That issue seems almost quaint compared to the unreadable mess that T&C has become: the relentless fawning over the Royals, the obsession with Hollywood and media celebrities, more than a whiff of fashionable politics.

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    1. I can’t agree with more... you hit it right in the head.

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    2. T&C is more like Vanity Fair these days. I flip through it before purchasing and there's nothing I find attractive or interesting. I sure do miss the issues from the 1980's and into the 90's.

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  4. Back when it was still acceptable to smile for a photo as opposed to looking off in the distance, blase and/or disinterested. No harsh photoshopping and grey hair can be quietly grey without a big headline about someone having grey hair.

    T&C is now a tabloid.

    (Muffy, did you get my L.L.Bean-related email?)

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    1. Uninterested, not disinterested.

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    2. Seriously?

      disinterested adjective
      dis·​in·​ter·​est·​ed | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈin-trə-stəd
      ; -ˈin-tə-ˌre-, -tə-rə-, -tər-; -ˈin-ˌtre- \
      Definition of disinterested

      1a : not having the mind or feelings engaged (see engaged sense 1) : not interested

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    3. Bud's Eye, I can't imagine why you would feel so interested in correcting and validating my usage of "disinterest" which is correct, but your reason, whatever it is, is uninteresting to me. My source for my copy and paste is Merriam-Webster which I posted for your viewing pleasure.

      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinterested

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  5. Superb! I still have all my mothers collection of her favorite Town & Country issues. Timeless classic's one and all! Thank you so very much!

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  6. Back when there was still such a thing as graciousness. Why, I'm so old I can even remember when Esquire was written and edited by witty, erudite adults.

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  7. Agreed, T&C is no longer about town and country life. It has become a glossier version of the Enquirer.

    The only (barely) redeeming issue is the annual issue regarding philanthropy, and that is mostly a self-congratulatory index of how much money the donors have rather than the societal good they are providing. Gone are the days giving is done quietly and without the donor's name splashed in bold type.

    Bah humbug.

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  8. Love looking at all these but it hurts a bit too. Nostalgia: "Pain from an old wound."

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  9. Oh wow! So many familiar names, faces and places......

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  10. A time capsule from a vanished world.

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  11. When the world was civilized.

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  12. Wow. Real people. real families. So nice to see.

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  13. I love this so much, and sighed audibly several times while taking it in. Thank you for the beautiful memories.

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  14. I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me yearn for the days of wood-paneled Jeeps, sensible outfits and clam shack dinners after a long day at Good Harbor Beach. Yet I am not thrilled about the way this way of life in New England was portrayed in publications and films. There always seemed to an inference of class.

    In reality, the issue of tax brackets was never broached. No one really cared who relied on financial aid and who got admitted because their father donated a generous sum to the school's endowment.

    The feel good 80's was an era of optimism and possibility. It was also the last true American childhood. You left your doors unlocked at night. You knew your neighbors by name. You could play chess with experienced Masters and local imposters at Harvard Square into the late night hours. You could watch a day game at Fenway and make a stop at the arcades and play Defender. It was an age of innocence even if malfeasance did occur in high places or our great Cold War nemesis was manufactured fear.

    Publications and films glamorized this way of life and contrived the class issue. Then a funny thing happened - people actually bought into it and started playing their respective parts.



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    1. @anon - interesting to note that 2 of the men (business partners) featured would shortly enter into a bitter feud that would end in multi-million dollar patent infringement lawsuits.

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    2. Please keep going! If you wrote a book, I would read it...

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    3. @Anonymous: Well put and eloquently said! I too, have mixed feelings about reminiscing about the former T&C and the image of New England. I think I have been "trad" since I was very young, but I am so well aware of the inference to class and, let's face it, white privilege. I, too, long somewhat for what some of us may mistakenly feel were the "simpler" days, but upon closer inspection under some harsh bright light, we sometimes need to question what we hold dear and whether hanging on to a certain "culture", we ignore the disadvantage of someone else. I am all too aware of that. And after all, at my 58 years of age, I don't want to take preppy culture or lifestyle too seriously. I do love the New England aesthetic (I wouldn't be reading this blog otherwise), but I am also a little bohemian sometimes, a little edgy other times, and I am inclusive of other cultures from other flung-off lands that I've lived in for the better part of 25+ years. Anyway, all that diatribe aside (sorry), I do still read T&C when I am back Stateside, visiting my mum, because she has stacks of issues in her salon, but I also do find it has gone the way of Vanity Fair with its bling, its bombastic characters and preoccupation with royals. I prefer the UK's Country Life because it is much less pretentious.

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    4. How silly to say that because people lived well and in most cases modestly within this group that they were bigoted and exclusive. Most that I knew in this group were open minded and giving. Quick to give to and help those in need in their communities. Connected to Rich and Poor; not disconnected from their communities as so many are today.

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    5. @anon 2:48 PM -- I agree with this. Well said. I like the comment too of anon 12:24: "Publications and films glamorized this way of life and contrived the class issue. Then a funny thing happened - people actually bought into it and started playing their respective parts."

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  15. Love their names -- Armory, Payson, Carter and Loyal. Why don't people get wonderful names like these anymore? My son got his great grandfather's name, Thomas Augustus. After I joined Ancestry.com I found that almost every man in my family was named either John, William or Thomas. Wish I had considered Carter or Loyal! O well. Maybe someday I'll have grandchildren and my son might ask me for a suggestion. One can only hope!

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  16. I remember some of these. Stopped reading T&C years ago. Like so many things, they’ve gone down the proverbial tubes.
    MaryAnne

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  17. Four years prior to the date of this issue, I was living in the town of Mattapoisett, which is right down the road from Marion. As someone has already noted, the 80s were a far different time for most of us. One fall afternoon I rode my bike through Marion, with its quintessentially Updike-an streets (it could have been a more than serviceable Eastwick), tennis-tog clad denizens and tidy white clapboard homes. A little further up the road was Tabor Academy, with its manicured fields, its own private sailing school and its boys in Sperry Topsiders and blue blazers. I grew up in New England and had been to many of its tonier outposts - from Newport to Chatham to Camden. But for some reason it was in Marion where I felt the divide between the haves and the have nots most acutely. It was all so perfectly but unconsciously stylized. It was Polo before there was a Polo. For some reason, none of this inspired envy. It inspired effort. Somewhere in my post-adolescent brain the thought registered that all of this might somehow be possible. But it would not, like the chance encounter with it, happen by accident.

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    1. An insightful comment. I agree with you.

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  18. It's pretty horrendous these days. " Who ARE these people"?

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    1. Which people? The rioters in Portland and Kenosha? Those who “cling to guns?”
      The executives who infuse the media with the “look at me” and “bling” culture? Or those who seek to emulate these depictions? Alas, the horse named civility left the barn a long time ago.
      Cultivate your own garden. Tend your own hearth. Stay close with family and like-minded friends. Enjoy the oasis of Salt Water New England while we are able.

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    2. Anonymous 8:21am might have added, “The future is bleak.” Thank you.

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    3. The future is bleak. But, I think there is hope. The eb and flow of humanity is unpredictable.

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    4. The black poodle looked happily content.

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    5. The "rioters" in Portland? You mean the peaceful citizens demonstrating for equality under the law and an end to police brutality? If it is radical to pursue "good trouble" then I'd rather be protesting good trouble than pious projections any day of the week. Please don't whitewash New England. There are people of color of all classes. Being a good steward of the land means protecting the dignity of all people.

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    6. It’s “good trouble” when it’s not your business or town burning down.

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  19. Good Lord,
    my vocabulary has increased by the tenfold just by the comments.

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    1. Some lapidary formulations, eh?

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    2. Diamond in the rough~

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    3. See you Sartresky,
      raise you….
      Lapidary Formulas as Topics of Invention -- From Thomas of Hales to Henryson-
      Perle, plesaunte to prynces paye
      To clanly clos in golde so clere,
      Oute of Oryent, I hardyly saye,
      Ne proved I never her precios pere...

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  20. Wow. What a great post. A window into an almost forgotten time. The pictures present a period of confidence, dignity, and quiet refinement.
    JRC

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  21. I suppose it's natural to view the past with rose tinted specs. We weren't so exposed 24/7 to the world around us the way we are now. I know it's easy to blame social media for the decline, but like so many things, it is all in how you use it. Blogs are a wonderful example of that. To the commenter who mentioned "Country Life" magazine; that is a favourite of mine too! I haven't seen an issue for a while though at my local Marks & Spencers. Fingers crossed they haven't gone out of print.

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    1. @Alison: Don’t worry; Country Life is still very much in print. The latest issue is about Scotland.

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    2. ‘Tis true “it is all in how you use it.” But, unfortunately, among much of the general population there is often no disconnect between quality and popularity. If something is popular it must be good. The media chases for and charges for eyeballs. The lowest common denominator rules.

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    3. As taught in advertisement- the 3 second rule.

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    4. Ole Brumm, thank you! I went this way-perfect...thank you again!
      https://www.countrylife.co.uk/publication/country-life

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    5. Thank you Ole! I've bought a subscription this morning, save messing around.

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  22. Those young women sitting on the boulders are Rockefellers yet they look regular, relaxed and comfortable in their own skin enjoying the summer in Maine. Now folks pictured in T/C remind me of Eva Gabor in Green Acres! I miss the old T/C where there were cultivated people doing interesting things without seeming to try too hard.

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  23. Lovely photos indeed. But I think what some of the complainers above are dancing around is that today's Town & Country has become more racially inclusive along with its increased focus on celebrities and royals. As a Black person myself, I find that a salutary development. I've been enamored of the prep aesthetic since childhood and never viewed it as pretending to be something I wasn't -- it includes me, and others like me. (As it happens, I'm just back from a week's vacation in my wife's hometown on Cape Cod, where we walked down to the clam shack to pick up lunches and my son and I alternated days of golf and tennis; all perfectly natural and easeful, and effortlessly in keeping with this blog's unfussy ethos.) Read with an open mind and you may find that T&C has bent your old understanding of its target readership but hasn't broken it.

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    1. Bless you, John E., well said. I like the cut of your jib.

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    2. Maybe it's just the focus on celebrities...?

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  24. Thanks, 9:47! I’m not trying to make anyone feel like a bad person, just offering a different perspective.

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  25. My mother purchased T&C, I recall, with some vague belief that by having it on our coffee table, an editor would show up one day with a camera crew ready to snap our family 'informally' lingering on the back porch of our upper-middle class house in New Jersey attired in anything but informal clothing, all with the view that a photo or two of her brood would appear in the magazine representing her final attainment of the status she so longingly craved. That was the seventies and, well, T&C never came by the house. Time passed, the brood left for less-than-elite places like California and Texas and the blue blazers ended up in the Goodwill bin at the supermarket. Slowing, imperceptibly, the veneer of civility, 'class' and serene accomplishment of intellect, culture and taste waned and, by the nineties, the brood had broods of their own created with persons of color or other race as spouses, jobs outside of investment banking and law and lifestyles bordering on ostentatious. Oh, the humanity.

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