As part of our 25th anniversary year, I’ve run stories from each of our four offspring about growing up with a magazine business in the house. For the very last piece of our anniversary year, I asked the two people who most directly deal with our subscribers to write about YOU, the magazine’s readers—for you, too, are a big part of the GREENPRINTS family.
Becky is my wife of 43 years. Julie is a Fairview neighbor and friend who has been answering the phone and entering subscription orders for over a decade. The two of them write here about how kind and caring you GREENPRINTS readers are. I’m sure you’ll notice how well those words apply to Becky and Julie, as well. We are all blessed by them both.
25years ago Pat started a magazine that has become a community. The two of us are blessed to be in this community of GREENPRINTS subscribers. We are lucky that you are gardeners. Gardeners are nice people. You understand that we make mistakes. You understand that growing plants and families and community is a spiritual endeavor. Gardeners think in the long term, always planning for next year’s growing season, and therefore you gardeners are a patient, ever-hopeful group.
We have had some kind of contact with almost all of you. You represent every group imaginable—male, female, rich, poor, first-and second-generation Americans, conservatives, liberals, the young, the elderly, single, married, the childless and those overrun by children. You live all over the United States and the world, and you may speak English only as a second language. You live in cities, small towns, the wilderness, farmland, free and in prison. Libraries, medical offices, and therapists of all kinds subscribe not only because they serve gardeners, but because they know that gardening, even reading about gardening, is healing.
When you call, you often tell us that you’re so glad to talk to a real person. Well, believe me, we are happy to talk with real people, too. That in itself is a gift. You have given us other kinds of gifts, as well—bookmarks with our names and job titles cross-stitched on them, t-shirts with GREENPRINTS cover art, handwritten letters and cards, photos, and garden supplies. You have even given us ideas on how to make more money!
We enjoy chatting with you. We often find out fun things: One subscriber lives on the same street Julie’s sister lived on. One of you had a crush on Julie in high school! Some of you, like Becky, had a total knee replacement. Some of you are—or have a family member who is—in an interracial marriage (as are Pat and Becky). We are sad when subscribers pass on. We have specific memories of many of you. When we send you our condolences, we mean it.
You have terrific names! Sometimes we can’t pronounce them, but we love learning how. Many names are as familiar as friends. When we pull up your name in our database, we see your name entered for every time you renewed. We’ve been typing some of your names for 20 years! The names of where you live interest us as well. Names, names, names—they trigger our imagination about who you are.
Now no relationship is 100% perfect. You complain about the renewal envelopes, the condition of some issues upon arrival, and, most especially, our website! [Note from Pat: I hope to have a completely new website up by the time you read this issue!] We are a work in progress and we need to know where progress is needed. We are doing what we can to solve those problems. Someday we hope to hear a satisfied sigh from all of you.
Sometimes there are problems with individual subscriptions. Some we can solve, some we can’t. There was a prison that refused to deliver a gift subscription to a prisoner. We tried over and over again until the giver finally gave up and hand-carried the issues to the recipient. I often think about a pair of older sisters who live together and do not own a computer. One of them was disappointed that we don’t carry more Beverly
Nichols books. We recently helped them order some from Amazon.
Pat once commented, after helping us prepare the holiday gift cards, that it is a privilege to participate in your gift-giving, how touching it is to be a messenger for the joy and love you give each other during the holidays. It is a privilege, and we thank you. You are like the magazine itself—warm, personal, kind, and encouraging.
You are special and we love you. ❖
Readers, send a photo of yourself in your garden, with a few words about your garden and the magazine. I’d love to share more!—Thanks, Pat