This issue of Persimmon Tree marks a turning point in my own story, as I make my debut as editor-in-chief. It’s also a minor turning point in the evolution of Persimmon Tree, a magazine named by its founder Nan Gefen, for a tree that bears fruit well after the surrounding arboreal entities have retreated for the winter. We celebrate here the creativity, experiences, and wisdom of older women — all of which are amply represented in every section of this issue, and in the Persimmon Tree archives, which I hope you will visit.
It’s impossible, of course, to replace the amazing Sue Leonard. Instead, with the support of a remarkable staff of talented and accomplished women, I intend to build upon her decade of awe-inspiring work. Together, we’ll continue the magazine’s evolution, in league with what I’ve come to consider the “Persimmon Tree community” of contributors and readers.
By unhappy coincidence, this issue also appears at what seems to be a dangerous turning point in the evolution of representative democracy in the United States, reflected especially in recent decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court (see “Supreme Court v. Democracy” in this issue). As a magazine of the arts, Persimmon Tree is, and must be, fully involved in these and other developments in the world around us. Indeed, in dangerous, volatile times, the arts are especially important. Doorways into the past, they help us understand the present. Revealing the inner and outer lives of the very different individuals who make up our world, they contribute to understanding and compassion. And they allow us to explore possibilities for a better future.
I’m honored and delighted to be a member of the Persimmon Tree community. It is a true joy working withe the magazine’s staff, and I look forward to continuing work with contributors and to hearing from readers. I sign most “official” correspondence Margaret E. Wagner or Margaret (Peggy) Wagner. But most people just call me,