Editor’s Letter Summer 2019

Angie MacDonald (left) and AH Editor Crystal Murray.


I always love hearing from our readers. I often get notes about how they enjoy the way our team celebrates our special region of Nova Scotia, how they had loved a recipe and always accolades for the beautiful images captured by our photographer Steve Smith. Earlier this spring I received a very special note in my inbox. We haven’t run any ‘Letters to the Editor’ in the fourteen issues that we have published, however, this is one that really needs to be shared. It’s always been important to me that At Home on the North Shore dances a slightly different jig than other publications in the market. It’s a little in the way we tell your stories and a little at looking at things through a slightly different lens. Whatever it is, I hope that all of the people who contribute to At Home on the North Shore, from the writers, the designers, the advertisers, to the circulation department realize that our little magazine is full of purpose and is making a difference in the lives we touch. Here is a little story for all of you.

Every morning at 8:30 am Angie MacDonald in Braeshore, Pictou County would be on the phone with her mother Rowlena Coles. The calls happened like clock work. They would chat about everything that happened since they hung up the phone the day before and on some of those calls Rowlena would want to chat about the latest issue of what she affectionately referred to as ‘AH! HA! Magazine.’ At the end of all of their calls, regardless of their conversation, Rowlena would finish off saying “now get on with your day.” Rowlena was known for her gardening, her baking and her pickling. She adored her family and she loved her community. She felt that ‘AH! HA!’ had all of her favourite things wrapped up in one little bundle. On February 21 Rowlena passed away very suddenly. Angie still waits for the phone to ring at 8:30 every morning. As the last jars of her mother’s jams and pickles have been savoured or given away to close friends or family, Angie tries to grasp onto anything that connects her to her Mum.
When Angie started to sort through her Mum’s belongings she found a few copies of At Home Magazine. Some of the pages had been dog-eared and as she flipped through the copies she started to recall many of the chats she had with her Mum. She sent me a note telling this story and asked if it was possible to have a complete set of the magazine as a way to honour those moments on the phone with her Mum.
I was initially worried about not being able to pull a complete set together. What’s left over from our distribution gets used for promotions and trade shows.
Last night I tied a white ribbon around a little bundle of all 14 issues and went to visit Angie. She lives at the end of a long driveway with beautiful lawns. Inside, there were freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies for sharing and a bottle of mustard pickles tied up with a pink ribbon. We both told a few stories. We had our picture taken. We exchanged gifts. We gave each other a hug and we got on with our day. Angie told me that they bonded over the magazine. This was such a lovely thing to say but it was so evident that she and her Mum bonded over so many things and as much as I love that At Home on the North Shore was small part of their rituals of love, the connection between this mother and daughter will last long after the ink has faded from our pages.

Crystals Signature
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Crystal likes to think about her forays in journalism like interval training. " I have had a wonderful freedom to be home when I needed to be and work when the spirit moved me. In the spaces between I have learned things about myself, my family and my community that I hope will find a rightful place in the new and refreshed pages of At Home on the North Shore. "