Monday, March 27, 2006

Our Alice

It may not be immediately apparent from my blog, but I think it's a fact that in some ways, at least, I am pretty cheap. Not frugal--I wish I could claim that, because frugality implies a sensible rationing of wealth for a common good. Rather, I practice small meannesses most of the time--not buying books if I can get them for free, shopping at Target and the thrift store, clipping the occasional coupon--and then lament that I could really have done better if I'd just spent the money.

Because I am cheap I wait to renew my magazine subscriptions until the last minute or beyond. Often I cancel after the first, trial issue, but there are a few--and The New Yorker is one--that I really do mean to renew, but I keep thinking I'll get a better deal. So, in fact, I just inadvertently let my subscription lapse, and it won't re-up until May.

Which means--as being cheap often does--that I had to shell out more than usual for something I consider a basic necessity. (Let's not talk right now about why The New Yorker has become a necessity.) I bought the March 27 issue in the Charlotte airport, and read it en route to Gainesville, where I spent the weekend at a conference.

(I should note that I somehow think money spent traveling to and from a conference doesn't count. Next week's New Yorker may be harder to buy.)

I ended up in tears somewhere over Georgia, reading Calvin Trillin's lovely profile of his wife, Alice, who died almost five years ago. I am linking to Rebecca Traister's appreciation of this piece because she so beautifully expresses just what I felt on reading it. It says lovely things about marriage that I found both true and lovely, and I welled up with tears both at the loss that Trillin obviously still feels, but perhaps even more at the happiness he clearly had, and in some ways therefore still has.

Because I am forgetful, I left the copy of the magazine in the hotel room. And I am not so cheap that I won't go out and buy another copy just so I can read it again. It's that good. So, go, read Traister's piece--but then buy the magazine, too. You won't be sorry.


Becca said...

You want to get really weepy? Try Jane Yolen's journal--her husband died last week.

Susan said...

I just read the Alice piece and thing that made me cry was not the husband and wife's love - it was what the daughter said at her memorial. It sounds like their relationship was kind of fraught, and the daughter said, "Mom, you were the coolest..." THAT made me break down and weep.

Dawn said...

I haven't read that (yet) even though I recently subscribed because as one cheap person to another, someone alerted me to ebay for magazine subscriptions!!! The New Yorker for (I think?) ten bucks!