September 5, 2009

Knee-Deep in Nostalgia

For the last year or so, I've been collecting Life magazines, mainly from the late 40's-early 50's, with a couple of straggler 60's and 70's issues thrown in. Our local antique store sells them for $3 a pop, so it's a very affordable item to collect (plus, I just scored about 50 issues at an auction, for less than a buck apiece!). I began collecting them not for the issue or the articles, but for the fantastic ads that lay therein, because I use them for my collage work and reproductions of these beautiful works of art just don't cut it. I love the feel and the color of the original ads.

But lately, it's become sort of an issue - I'm becoming nostalgic for a time that didn't even include me. Yes, I find myself wondering how my old my mom or dad or Grammie was at the given time of the issue. I keep thinking how great it would be if we could return to that much simpler time, before e-mail, social media, computers, cell phones, DVRs, even TV itself. I get misty thinking how quaint and relaxing it would be to knit by the static of the AM radio, maybe getting a station as far away as WOR in New York. Or how neat it would be to work with other gals in the typing pool, hearing that clackety-clack of the (manual!) typewriter keys.

Oh good lord, I know this is preposterous. I flunked (electric!) typing glass my sophomore year in high school; I would perish without my DVR and my Blu-Ray; I've re-established contact with old and dear friends (and made new ones, too) via Facebook and I am enjoying blogging. About the only thing I would give up in a heartbeat would be my damn cell phone - I hate that thing.

But the question remains: WHY? Maybe it's because there's a lot of change in the air; my old, comfortable workspace at the local paper is moving, because we're closing the building and moving in with "the competition" - a very common occurance these days at newspapers all over the country (another sad, nostalgic reminder of how this world works now). I just bought a really great book called Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing us By by Anna Jane Grossman. It's a wonderful and (sometimes) surprising list of every-day items and customs that Gen-Y will never really know of, like rotary phones and manual typewriters (incidentally, my 10- and 12-year old nieces LOVE my old Royal, pictured above. They could spend hours on that thing).

Is this a bad thing? I suppose, if I let it get me down. But people seem to enjoy the work that I do with the old ads, so maybe I'm doing my miniscule part to preserve history. As for me, I'm going to keep using my hankerin' for old stuff as a cure-all for the present-day Future Shock blues.


  1. Welcome to blogland :)
    I too have a hankering for all the old, vintage and nostalgic items - wish I could pick up mags for those prices, here in Australia I find I have to pay at least $6-25 per magazine! So I don't have a lot.
    It would be great for you to share some of your scans of them for collage artists - or even just to see them!
    Take care, happy blogging!

    Lorri xo

  2. About time you started blogging :D But yeah, don't we feel old reminiscing about typewriters and Pong? As long as we don't start thinking the "good old days" were any better than what we have now, I say old stuff is cool!

  3. This is wonderful.....I have been talking about it for a long time but
    barely have enough time to keep up with all the riff raff.

    Just this weekend went thru more of my Dad's writings...back to
    1938 when he began writing mag articles and then for True and
    Official Detective.....complete with intriguing photos.

    All this during the aftermath of the Great Depression...he is a story
    in himself.....and yes, I heard the clicity clak of the typewriter
    constantly....and it is now in my possession.

    You'd lover his stuff.

    Marsha Sodos

  4. Thanks for commenting, ladies! :D I appreciate you welcoming me to blogland.

    Lorri - I think it could be arranged to send you some pages from my mags - just e-mail me via Facebook and I'll send some to you. :D

    Carolyn - my compadre in age - YES! You're right. It's not healthy to wallow in the past; just skim it from time to time. :D

    Marsha - what a wonderful collection of items to have! I love the ephemera but if there was actually family history behind it, that would make it perfect. :D Sounds like you have some great stories!!

  5. Welcome Mel, glad to read you here! I too love the old mags and wedding books in particular. I have a collection of ads from the 40s and 50s, and my grandmother wrote for the mags under the pen name Glen Kelly. Maybe you can find some of her articles.

    Wallowing to me means you had to have been there and gone, wanting to go back. I am interested in the Renaissance too, but don't consider it wallowing to mentally hang out there for a while...

  6. You're right, Jill! I guess I can give myself permission to 'hang out' there. :D I'm going to try and find some of your grandma's articles, and if I do I'll clip them for you! :D