Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Harlequin and My Mom - A Long History

Tex here, and today I'm talking more memories than food. You see, my men have been gone for the last eleven days, returning last night, so I haven't done a whole lot of cooking. Of course, I rustled up a big batch of chocolate chip cookies for their homecoming. You can find that recipe here. And since I was making cookies anyway, I made extra for y'all. So grab a cookie and pull up a chair while I tell you about my Mom's long history with Harlequin Books.

This is my mom, and we celebrated her 80th birthday this past Saturday.

Mom loves to read, but alas, it's now a bit of a challenge for her. But does that stop her from trying? Of course not.
Mom has always been an avid reader. I don't recall ever seeing her without a book. When I was a teenager, I used to make fun of her for reading all those Barbara Cartland romances. I still remember the picture of that woman - dressed in an evening gown, stretched out on her chaise with her little dogs. At least I think she had dogs. I do remember her opulent surroundings, though, and used to wonder if she lived in a castle.
But I digress.
Mom always had boxes and boxes of romance novels in the basement. I probably shouldn't reveal her secret, but she worked at a five and dime (no, that's not her secret). But when the books they carried didn't sell in a certain amount of time, they would tear the covers off to send back. Except she'd keep the books. She didn't care if they had a cover or not. She read every last one of them, starting a new book every day or so.
But then the store closed and she quit working. But that didn't slow down her appetite for romance. Instead, she discovered Reader's Service.
Recently, we had to move Mom to an assisted living and I had to cancel her subscriptions with Harlequin. The gal I spoke with on the phone commented about how long Mom had been with them. But don't feel bad for Mom, she still has plenty of books to read.
It's hard to tell, the way I have them packed, but there are over 300 books here, every one of them a Harlequin romance. Lots of all three Love Inspired lines, some Intrigues, Super Romance, and who knows what else. I found all of these while cleaning out her apartment, and she's probably only read a quarter of them.
Of course, she enjoys some of our most favorite authors.
I imagine God had a bit of a chuckle when I used to tease Mom all those years ago. Because only He knew that I would one day write those same books?
Guess the nut doesn't fall far from the tree, because I love LOVE.  
Thanks, Mom.


  1. Lovely trip down memory lane. And oh my -- those books!!!!!!!!! Makes me want to plop down and start reading.

    1. Kav, I'd be more than happy to let you. :)

  2. I used to think Barbara Cartland lived in a castle, too....

    And what memories! My mom was a reader, but she was also a teacher. I don't remember her sitting down to read a book - she was too busy - but she taught me to love reading.

    The biggest thing she did was to read to her class every day. Right after lunch, for 15 minutes or so, she'd read to these inner city 4th graders - most of whom had never had a positive experience with a book. But she made sure they were introduced to some of the classic children's authors: E.B. White, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beverly Cleary, etc.

    She also encouraged me to check out piles of books from the library, and to buy one whenever I could.

    Mindy, I think both of us are following in our mom's footsteps!

    And that's a beautiful picture of her! What a great celebration!

    1. Jan, that is so cool about your Mom. I love that she invested in those children. And I bet each and every one of them remembers her to this day.

  3. What a wonderful story to tell us and it makes your journey all the sweeter!

    1. Just another dimension, Julie. Just another dimension.

  4. How cool, Mindy! And so fun to see my book among the others. :) I used to get shipments of Harlequin Presents to my dorm in college. Then later subscribed to SuperRomance. Then LI.

    Your mother is beautiful! You look a good bit like her.

    1. Missy, I've always been told I look like my mother. I just hope I look that good when I'm 80. :)

  5. drooling! I'm actually making the switch to ebooks- don't think I've bought a paperback in a long time. my eyes just cant' handle the little print. maybe your mom would like an ereader! or ipad/tablet with the apps for ebooks. :-)
    I remember Barbara Cartland and thought she lived in a castle - found she has them on ebook now thought not all - only about half a million of her titles so far LOL! I did find one of the 3 faves I read and re-read and re-read so much (my mom actually allowed these in my high school years - the others I had to buy for her for whatever occasion and quickly and carefully read before wrapping!) still waiting for these other 2 titles to come available on ebook - also kinda mad at the pricing on some of these ebooks- harlequin and loveswept and silhouette from the 80s/90s are more than some new mass paperback releases - one of Kay Hooper's was 7.99 (well all were 7.99 but Zach's Law is the only one I really liked and it's sorta sentimental for that reason but not THAT sentimental!)same with Nora Roberts' old stuff...really kinda depressing.

    1. I know what you mean, Susanna. I do most all of my reading on my phone or Ipad. Much easier. Though I don't think Mom an ereader would be a good option for Mom. Her eyes are fine, it's her comprehension that's slowed her reading. I'm afraid an ereader would be too confusing for her.
      I bet they're making a killing off of those old favorites. No kidding about how many titles Barbara Cartland had. Was that woman a prolific writer or what? We should all be so lucky.