From the Editor - April 2011
Sally wears a top BY witchery
We were finishing this 200th celebration issue when the Christchurch quake struck. Like everyone else that day, we stopped work and clustered in front of the breathless television broadcasts; felt the seismic shift in our country’s history.
When eventually we returned to our layouts, the pretty images and party ideas – the same ones we’d been so enchanted with that morning – seemed frivolous. The celebration theme was suddenly horribly wrong. We didn’t want to think about decorating and dressing up. We wanted to cry with the rest of the country.
I sat at my desk, dislocated from the happy images in front of me, and was reminded – sharply, emotionally – of another dislocated day when I was about 12 years old and farewelled my maternal grandparents, Lorna and George, on their trip-of-a-lifetime Pacific cruise. It was the ship’s maiden voyage: bands played, streamers were thrown, brass fixtures were polished to perfection. But in her gleaming cabin, Lorna was crying. Shortly before their trip, an x-ray had revealed a shadow on my grandfather’s lung; the doctor’s prognosis was grim. There was, however, nothing for Lorna to do but go on, to make the most of the trip and the time my grandfather had left. (He died a while after their return, of lung cancer probably caused by gas damage in World War I.)
On the day of the quake, we decided we’d go on with our celebration issue (deadlines being what they are, we didn’t have a lot of choice). We polished our feature with its clever ideas for home weddings and birthdays (page 16), checked that Marion Morris’ tiny, smart Christchurch house was intact (page 76) and sent the magazine to the printers while the television reporters continued to roll out their grim stories.
This issue goes on sale a month after the quake. I’m hoping the Christchurch situation will be calmer, that there may even be the odd spare moment to flick through a magazine and get some ideas for a future family occasion. Because, of course, even in the worst of times, birthdays and weddings keep happening and demand to be celebrated. Lorna lived for more than a decade after my grandfather’s death and became a gay and stylish widow, who would set the table with a lace cloth and her best silver and put on a damned fine family dinner party at the drop of a hat. She’d have loved this issue.
Our sincere sympathies to all of you coping with the grim aftermath of February 22. Here’s to better times ahead.
Story: Sally Duggan
Photographs: Jane Ussher
Stylist: Kaitlin Chapman