Editor’s Note: Normally, when GREENPRINTS has an Anniversary Issue, I step out from behind the publisher’s curtain and write a piece about the person—me—who puts this magazine together. This time, though, I thought I’d ask our four (now grown) children if they’d like to share their versions of living with a small home-publishing business. To my surprise, they all jumped on the offer!
So as part of our special 25th anniversary year, each issue in 2015 will contain a piece by one of our offspring about “Growing Up with GreenPrints.” Last issue, we started off with a piece from our oldest, 35-year-old Nate. This go-round, it’s 32-year-old Jesse’s turn!
It wasn’t always easy being a part of the GREENPRINTS family.
Just try answering this stumper: “What does your dad do?” “Um…well, he kinda…he works from home…and he publishes this magazine…no, you probably haven’t heard of it…it’s all garden stories…No, not like that. Like, ‘I was sad and I went in my garden and it made me happy’ kind of stories. Yeah…I know. But it’s cool.”
Or just try answering the phone:
“Hello? Oh, yeah. Yeah, this is GREENPRINTS. How can I help you? Um, no, I don’t know anything about that and my dad’s not here—I mean, Pat’s not here. The guy who knows. And who turned our house into a business. Where I’m scared to answer the phone even when I’m waiting for my friends to call!”
Or mailings! Hours of stuffing envelopes, peeling labels, and sorting by zip code. The timeless Stone family tradition: “Gather round, kids, and let’s…stick on some stamps!” Though we were always baffled that those same friends (when they finally got through on the phone) were overjoyed every time they came over and it was time to do a mailing. I suppose there’s something to be said for that whole grass is always greener thing.
And when deadlines rolled around—stand back! We couldn’t stay far enough away from Dad’s office and his frenetic final efforts to put ‘the mag’ together.
But there were some pretty sweet perks, too. Those same deadlines taught me how to proofread: $1 for every mistake I could find in the final draft of stories. And I am still amazed at the beauty of the artwork the magazine brought into our home; the only piece of art I’ve purchased in the last five years is a print of a recent GREENPRINTS cover. (Every once in a while we got to do a little piece of art for a story, too!)
Before cell phones, when my parents got a dedicated 1-800 line, I could call home from anywhere, anytime. And once that phone line got a special ringtone in the house, as long as I called “nose goes” (not it) fast enough, I didn’t end up in too many more of those awkward business calls.
But best of all, my dad and mom did work from home. As an adult, with two children of my own and a husband who is gone 8 to 12 hours every workday, I’ve come to appreciate that all the more. When my dad had the chance to take the chief editing job at a prestigious gardening magazine in a big city, he turned it down to stay in the mountains of Western North Carolina, to grow GREENPRINTS—and to grow us. In doing so, he taught us the value of pursuing your passions, of believing in your imagination, of choosing beauty over money, and of choosing loved ones over all. And that’s what growing up with GREENPRINTS truly gave me: the hope that hard work and wild ideas really can add something good to the world, and the trust that my parents will always have the time and space to be there for me, just a 1-800 phone call away. ❖
This article was published originally in 2015, in GreenPrints Issue #101.