Back in my youth I discovered The Mother Earth News. It was probably sometime around 1971 that I first came across the magazine. I am sure I first found it at the old Space City News in downtown Houston where I spent a lot of time each weekend wandering the aisles checking out all of the magazines and paperbacks.
Space City was kind of an early precursor to a Barnes & Noble in Houston, without the hardbacks and with a lot more magazines and newspapers…and plain…It was located in an old storefront, it might have been an old auto dealership. Old vinyl floors, plain wood shelves and racks, and no creature comforts…but lots of reading material. If my bump for direction is right it was somewhere around where the Hyatt stands now. It’s been gone for a lot of years from that area.
But this bit was about TMEN (as The Mother Earth News was known on it’s own pages). Like I said I stumbled upon it in either it’s second or third year of publication and felt like I had found kindred spirits. I ended up with a subscription along with all of the back issues to catch me up to date. Even in the years I spent more broke than not I maintained that subscription right into the ’80’s…Then the magazine started changing (and so it seem did I), and I lost track. Occasionally, I would see a issue on a magazine rack and pick it up. But it wasn’t the same…something was different.
It took a long time for me to find out what happened…Don’t you love Google and Wikipedia. One day I was on the computer and TMEN meandered through my mind so I typed the name into my search box and discovered the changes I saw in the magazine were changes in management and ownership. I had also wondered about the Shuttleworths who founded the magazine and the “Eco-Village they were building in Hendersonville, NC.
Yesterday I finally did a search on John and Jane Shuttleworth and this is what I found…
Posted: 05/08/2009 12:30:00 AM MDT
John Shuttleworth, who co-founded the back-to-earth magazine Mother Earth News, died March 29 at his Evergreen home.
Shuttleworth was found in his hot tub about 10 days later. Shuttleworth, 71, died of natural causes, said Brenda Teasley, chief deputy coroner for Jefferson County.
Services are pending, according to Mike Beutz, Jefferson County public administrator, who is in charge of arrangements.
Shuttleworth had lived in the Evergreen area since the mid-1980s.
Shuttleworth and his first wife, Jane Shuttleworth, founded Mother Earth News in 1970, promoting family farms, growing your own food, better eating habits and renewable energy.
First based in North Madison, Ohio, it was moved to Hendersonville, N.C., because Shuttleworth wanted to have space for a research area, said Ken Hodges, who worked with Shuttleworth on the magazine.
The Shuttleworths, who later divorced, sold the magazine in 1979. It had reached a circulation of about 1 million readers worldwide, said Hodges, of La Vista, Neb.
So the serendipity of life strikes again. On the day his obituary was posted I did a search for the founder of TMEN. On any other day prior I would only have found a mention on the magazines sites or the magazines article at wikipedia…John Shuttleworth had a dream back in the late ’60’s that led to TMEN. His dream touched a lot of us that were looking for something at the time. The dream he was espousing probably had a lot to do with the person I became along the way. Even with the detours I have taken along my life’s path, I am still moving in the direction I started on way back then…It’s just taken me half a livetime to get here…Thanks John.
I think I may spend a little time digging through some of those old magazines in the box on the back porch…A decades worth of memories stored for when I needed them…I could be needing them sooner than I thought.
From searching the web, Jane Shuttleworth is still active in the Henderson County Arts and Environmental Communities and still owns the land of the Eco-Village. Though the latest info I can find is dated 2008.
- TMEN, John Shuttleworth, Co-founder of Mother Earth News, 1937-2009.
- BackHome Magazine website
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