a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Friday, March 9, 2012



Recently, my Sundance catalog came in the mail.  I think I have “read” it at least five times now.  I have a gift card to spend.  So, I dog-ear pages.  I visit and re-visit my faves.  But I don’t make a decision.  Instead, my mind is too busy drifting to memories of the roles catalogs have played in my life.

As children, one of the many strange activities that kept my sister and I busy for hours involved those great big Sears and JC Penney catalogs.  You know, the ones you could pile up and use as a booster seat in a pinch (back in the day). 

We used to spend hours, even over several days, searching through those catalogs and cutting out representations of our fantasies for the future.  My future self was always played by Cheryl Tiegs.  I picked out other catalog models to play my children and husband. 

Once our families were established, we would continue the game by choosing the clothes, the furniture, and the decorations we would need to create a fulfilling future life for our catalog selves.

This might seem like an odd obsession for two young girls, but you see, this obsession was in our blood.

As a teenager, I remember my father sitting down at the kitchen table once a week to read his magazines, which translates to flip through catalogs in English.  We used to tease him for calling the embarrassingly tall stack of catalogs his magazines.  We coined the term catazines just for him. 

Tonight I take one last flip through my Sundance catazine and narrow it down to two choices.  Which item would Cheryl Tiegs purchase?  I need only answer that question to know what the appropriate choice for me is.  After all, I am now that future self I dreamt about for all those years—I am Cheryl Tiegs*!

*just kidding, I am not Cheryl Tiegs, nor am I the Celebrity Apprentice


  1. Love it! I haven't thought of those catalogs in YEARS! The Penney's catalog was a favorite. And, of course, at Christmastime, any of the toy catalogs, usually "Special Editions", were favored and loved for hours on end. Many a Christmas Wish List came from those catalogs. Wow. Thanks for bringing back such a simple, but sweet, memory!

  2. Doesn't seem strange to me at all. My daughter loved looking through the Sears catalogue (we don't have JC Penny here in Canada). She's dog ear all the pages where she'd found something she loved and we'd use the catalogue as a guide for birthday gifts. If you're Cheryl Tiegs, can I be Reese Witherspoon?

  3. An interesting slice. I could visualize the little world you made with the catalogs. A fun playful ending.

  4. I missed out on cutting catalogues as a child because they were valuable when I was growing up during Soviet times in Estonia. Only when someone went abroad they brought catalogues but you couldn't buy from them anyway. They were for looking at beautiful pictures. Now catalogues have moved to internet. I like the word "catazine".

  5. So fun, Christy. I remember marking the Sears Christmas catalog so excitedly of my Christmas wishes. My mother said she cut out the people & made paper dolls, something like you described. It's always fun to see how creative people are with what they have. We spend money when all one really needs is time and materials of some sort. You expressed such fun memories in this 'free' play!

  6. We used the big Sears and Penneys catalogs to make our Christmas wish lists. Thanks for bringing up a memory that makes me smile.