Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fainting couches and courting candles

There's a book on our shelves that seems to have been written just for me. It's one of those books filled with little bits of trivia and information that you don't have to read in just one sitting. Some people (who I live with) say it's good bathroom reading but that's all I'll say about that. It's called "Let's Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By."

I LOVE old things. I love flea markets and Turner Classic Movies and used books. Anything with a past or some history is right up my alley. So I find this book a lot of fun. If I were me, I'd love to get this for Christmas.

Opening the book at random I find gaslit streetlamps, garden parties and gemstone engagement rings. All three worthy of being brought back into our modern life. Though I would argue that gemstone engagement rings are already back as I am wearing one on my finger. Other entries in the book include mini-biographies of old film stars (hooray for Myrna Loy!) and notable yet perhaps forgotten cultural figures like Diana Vreeland, the head of Vogue Magazine from 1962 to 1971. There's even a recipe for the original Girl Scout cookies, circa 1922, which were baked by Scouts at home and sold door to door for about $.25 a box. Yum!

Here are a few things Ms. Blume and I agree should be brought back: Polaroid cameras, dressing for your shape (as opposed to going with the latest fads,) attention spans, mahogany telephone booths in hotel lobbies, the word "masher" (which can be heard regularly in movies from the 30's and 40's,) notions departments in department stores, skating parties and grasshoppers. The drink. But there is so, so much more in this little book.

And since I've got to go I'll leave you with the famous words of Edward R. Murrow, good night and good luck.

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