July 2019 * CoveyClub

July 2019

Note from the editor, Lesley Jane Seymour

The White Couch

I am 62 and I am a full-fledged adult.

And I’m doing something really crazy.

I’m buying a white couch.

Yes, you heard that right. White! I have already ordered it, and it will be the centerpiece of our new home in New Orleans.

Buying a white couch, in my mind, is a right of passage. Kind of like the right of passage I hit in 2013 when I bought a two-seater ragtop car. I was throwing off the shackles of the SUV kids-mobile. I was also determined, for the first time, to actually “feel” my bonus (one of my last!) instead of letting it leach invisibly into the kids’ college account.

And you know what? Every time I drive that sexy red car, I feel a sense of accomplishment, a sense of adulthood, a sense of plunging forward with my life. Up until then we only had giant family mobiles — SUVs with three seats so that the kids couldn’t fight while we were driving. This time I wanted a car where a kid was forbidden to bring a cheese scraper. (Yes, I once plopped down on said scraper in my new business suit on the way to the train station! It was not a pretty moment. My daughter, who loved to eat cheese while on the way to dance practice, had left it on the front seat.)

So a white couch represents movement. A new start. A reinvention.

After all, you can’t have a white couch when there are little people wandering around with peanut butter on their fingers. Or when teenagers are playing beer pong in your dining room.

No, a white couch means I’ve accepted that the family stage of my life is over. It means that as much as I grieve for that wonderful, chaotic time of watching children grow up, I’ve decided to become excited about my future instead. I even plan to take out and use the real china and glassware as well!

P.S.  I was on my way to buying an upholstered white couch when the seller begged me to choose a slipcovered one instead. Just. In. Case. You know, when visitors or twentysomethings get a little crazy with red wine or margaritas.

So maybe I’m not entirely done with that stage after all.

Say what?

“Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Hot flash!

"When led by a woman, they had an average of 5.4% GDP growth in the subsequent year as compared with their male counterparts' 1.1%." Study of 188 United Nations-recognized countries by Susan Perkins (University of Illinois) and Katherine Phillips of the Columbia Business School.

— Harvard Business Review


Peggy Northrop

Peggy Northrop, a former editor-in-chief (More, Reader’s Digest, Sunset) and co-founder of Shebooks, now consults on communications and media operations. Based in the Bay Area, she is a SHE-CAN mentor to Phidor Kong, who will enter Beloit College in 2019.

Jane Pollak

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Pollak graduated with a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MA in art education from Columbia University Teachers College. Her memoir, Too Much of Not Enough was just released this past April. For more, visit janepollak.com.

Tracy Strauss

Tracy Strauss is former essays editor of The Rumpus and winner of the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Award for nonfiction. She is the author of I Just Haven’t Met You Yet: Finding Empowerment in Dating, Love, and Life (Skyhorse Publishing).