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A Legacy of a Labor-of-Love Magazine

May 18, 1986|JANICE MALL

Vintage 45 Press in Orinda is a publisher, as evidenced by the fact that it has published a national quarterly journal for three years and its first book, "Maternal Legacy."

Vintage 45 Press is also a home business and in some ways more like a network of friends around the country than a magazine. Susan Aglietti, 40, founded the journal, called Vintage 45, three years ago, partly as a way to combine a career with parenting of her children, a son now 11 and twins 8 1/2. She said then that she saw a need for a magazine that would appeal to middle-aged women. She accepted no display advertising and hoped to make enough profits "to buy my cat some food."

Three years later, Vintage 45 is still small--circulation is "still in the hundreds," she said, and as to profits, "it covers its costs." And it still looks more like a labor of love than a professional product--no slick paper or graphics, just personal articles and poems that often come from readers. But its few hundred subscribers and contributors are far-flung. A recent issue contained articles and poems from women in New York, Ohio, Alaska, Pennsylvania.

'More than Tangible Rewards'

"I never looked at this as something that would allow me to retire in leisure," Aglietti said. "The warmth and contacts are worth so much more than tangible rewards." There is a sort of "family relationship" between herself and her readers, she said, with readers writing to her and wanting to contact each other. "It's a personal operation more than a journal."

The book "Maternal Legacy"--a collection of essays, stories and poems--came about because the relationship between mothers and daughters was a major recurring theme in the letters and manuscripts she received, Aglietti said. She has also received a large amount of fiction from women that she is collecting for a double issue of the magazine.

She had 2,500 copies of the book printed, she said, and has sold 1,000, which she considers good for a publication with no publicity budget. "The mother-daughter relationship is something a lot of women feel they need to work out," she said. "Men have a different relationship with their mothers, more a pedestal-type relationship. With women it's more of a struggle. We want to be like her (mother) and yet see things in ourselves that are like her that we don't like. It's a struggle of identity."

The reaction she has gotten from readers is that the book is realistic, she said, "not all glowing. There's a lot of love but a range of emotions (between mothers and daughters). Those who don't get along so well realize they're not alone and that they have their limitations. Women feel that if they'd only try a little harder, the relationship would be perfect. They learn that in any relationship, you can't get more than the other person is capable of giving."

Information about the journal and the book is available by writing Vintage 45, Box 266, Orinda, Calif. 94563-0266.

The state of the world's children was ostensibly the subject when 60 women from 28 countries met recently in Anaheim under the auspices of the Ministry of Women and Children of the United Methodist World Division. This "mini-consultation" is the second such meeting held in conjunction with the National Women's Assembly of United Methodist Women.

While conclusions were drawn about funding research and public education about international child pornography and the plight of children living under critical conditions such as apartheid, war and poverty, the women--who represented organizations and churches in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States--drew one overwhelming conclusion: to improve the lives of children, women's lives must be improved.

Reports made at the meeting indicate that the strategies drawn up at the United Nations End of the Decade Conference for Women held in Nairobi, Kenya last year are having quiet repercussions in many areas of the world.

Avis Chikwanha of Zimbabwe reported that a project to train women in her country as men's tailors to increase their earning capacity has been so successful that her group has received requests from Botswana, Ghana and Mozambique for training in similar projects. Women in Zimbabwe also raised $4,000 for a crafts center to enable women to market their own goods.

Irene Santiago of the Philippines described how women from 14 Asian and Southeast Asian nations have formed the Asian Women's Research and Action Network to combat violence against women in the region. She called for a "global analysis" to determine what kinds of projects lead to economic improvement for women and get women "into the mainstream economy so that they will no longer be treated as marginal people."

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