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.