Memory Lane

Every year about this time (mid-January’ish), I receive a newsy update from my first business bookkeeper, who lives in Australia now.

This is gonna date me. Am I ready for this kind of full disclosure?

Okay, it’s 1993, and I’ve just printed one of my first catalogs (really more of a magalog, printed at my local newspaper, Moscow’s Daily News). My bookkeeper, Mare Rosenthal, was also a neighbor. She and husband, Greg Brown, had moved here from Iowa, purchased an 80-acre farm, and then proceeded to plant hundreds and hundreds of pine trees in order to restore their farm land back to its native state and turn it into a wildlife preserve.

Now, this is really gonna date me.

Bookkeeping back then involved ledger paper (kept in a cloth-covered binder), and a pencil that sharpened.

In this grainy “vintage” photo (before digital cameras), hubby and I

posed with our teenage children, farm hands, and another local organic farmer and his children. Mare is the woman standing next to the door handle of the truck and I’m driving things, so to speak.

Mare (below far right) now has a family about to spread their wings! Kodi (far left) was the first of their flock and came into Mare’s life while she was working here. Rather than take him to town for child care, Mare and I decided we’d take turns attending to his every need (that meant I put him down for naps, giving myself permission to take one right alongside him). Together, in between work and play, we exclaimed over his every little baby moment—you know, like when he rolled over for the first time or sat up by himself. And NOW HE’S ALL GROWN UP along with his sisters, Nurit and Mizan, additions to Mare’s family after she left Idaho.

Kodi, who recently graduated from high school, has a passion for digital multimedia and makes videos. He’s looking into options for attending college in the U.S. (Father Greg is a professor at the University of Queensland.)

Here’s our first label for my line of organic backpacking meals, a project Mare helped with.

And here’s where we are today with backpacking meals sold nationwide and in Canada. A girl can dream, can’t she? And her dreams can come true, can’t they?

In 1995, my farm and business were featured in National Geographic. The issue also featured the farmer and his family that were in the photo on my first catalog (oh, and a primate picking nits from Jane Goodall’s head).

Here’s my catalog from 1996. My farmhouse (pictured in the front cover drawing) burned down only a few hours after I’d taken the initial bulk mailing of this latest new catalog to the post office.

And today, 2013.

And Mare’s dreams also came true. Here’s an aerial photo of their tree-less 80 acres way-back-when. And …

here’s Mare’s former 80 acres in a current view from Google Earth. Looks like we both made our mark, raised some awesome kids, and, AND saw our dreams come true.

High five, Mare!!!!!!!

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This was a wonderful show and tell from the past! I love the graphics of your older publications as well. Mare sounds like a wonderful person to work with and it is good to know that both she and you have had so many dreams come true.

    I had the pleasure of meeting and attending a weekend with Jane Goodall when she came to my daughter’s campus one spring at Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC. She is a tiny short person full of wisdom and amazing stories from her studies with primates.

    Thanks for sharing so many great photos!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I walk down memory lane every now & then, too. Actually I look in my scrapbooks to see all that my life has taken it’s course. You are blessed to have a friend like Mare. My friend, Jan, and I did the same things together as we’ve grown. Her life & mine has taken some unexpected turns, but we are still friends and cherish the memories from the past & from now! Dreams are what make life worth the journey. We make some of them come true. Others we’ve learned aren’t worth doing or we can’t do any more.
    Thanks for sharing your life with me (us).

  3. Elizabeth says:

    It did my heart good to see these pictures. Such a beautiful idea your friend, Mare & her husband shared. Now, those 80 acres look so lush & green:-) I love it! And it looks like they have a lovely family & so happy too! Thank you Mare, for beautifying/restoring a little part of the USA.

    What amazes me about these pictures/stories is how clearly some people see their future…and usually from a very early age? I’ve read & seen it in all the stories, books, pictures, magazines & experiences you’ve shared with us MaryJane. It’s quite remarkable really…and I suspect rather rare?

    I’ve only witnessed this up close & personally one time & that was with one of my cousins (we have a large family tree & get togethers were often). My cousin was 9 & I was 7 and she & I were having what I would call a very adult like conversation about the future. Even back then my cousin laid out this distinct plan for her future & I remember being in awe of how succinctly she spoke & how absolute she expressed her future. Most of the things my cousin told me that day came true for her & by most accounts have lovingly & graciously exceeded even her vision of her life. Not everything is roses & sunshine for my cousin & she has made adjustments as needed but the basic plan & values stand strong & yielded great gifts for all her labors & care.

    I believe when good people do good things they are greatly rewarded & by extension so are all those people who even lightly brush up against them or gently pass through their orbit:-) Could be a strong gravitational pull or just plain luck when we happen upon such a person. Pretty sure you are one of the graced MaryJane. Thanks for always sharing.

  4. Sonya says:

    I remember 1993, Moscow, the Co-Op and your company so fondly! You continued my education of heathly food and life that my Mom instilled in me. I just “rediscovered” your magazine a year ago. This specific blog hit home to me and I wanted to reach out and say thank you!
    What a joy it is to receive your magazine and email! Although I do miss the little meetings at the top of the old co-op!

  5. Jac Brewer says:

    Always inspired by MaryJane Farms!!

  6. Loved this post . . . I have never commented; have been enjoying all of “you” for a couple of years now and this compelled me to say “thank you”. . . I love your history, your philosophy and all your endeavors. Am a Minnesota farmgirl at heart, a 30-year California girl, but yearning to spend the “golden years” of my life (I’m 69) in more rural Oregon, God willing. Thank you!

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