Saturday, August 11, 2012

Let's Bring Back

An encyclopedia of forgotten-yet-delightful, chic, useful, curious and otherwise commendable things from times long gone by

This is a charming premise--a reminiscence of appealing items or concepts that no longer are available. Unfortunately, Leslie M M Blume has the same problem that others have had with this type of niche concept: by the time she has collected enough of these to make a book, she must stretch her definition past rationality.

There are some true gems here. Who would not wish for the return of "at-home doctor visits" or "good Cracker Jack prizes?" I admit a soft spot for "jacks" and "middies" (sailor tops on little girls and toddler princes).  And I tragically missed the opportunity to dine at an "automat."

But some of these "bring-backs" aren't really gone. I like "kitten heels" and "handwritten thank-you notes" as much as the next nostalgic, but I still see kitten heels in the stores and fashion magazines, and handwritten notes arrive in my mailbox almost as often as they ought to. "Niagara Falls" is still available as a honeymoon destination, as is the "world-tour honeymoon," for those who can afford it, to whom that particular honeymoon has always been limited. "Fred Astaire" is still remembered for his elegance and his dancing.

And other listed items can hardly be missed. "Hired mourners" scarcely qualify as delightful, forgotten though they may be. The term "holiday" is not used to mean "vacation" for a good reason. "Attention spans"--OK, stop that right now, you're just being precious. And since the monthly names for the full "moon" were used by native Americans, who, exactly, is missing the everyday usage?

Can I just throw this book across the room over a few of these?
"Suits of armor?" Really? If you want one badly enough, surely one of those armorers who made chain mail for The Lord of the Rings movies can oblige you, for a price. But the justification being that it's "good for covering up 'fat' days" reinforces the notion that Blume is scraping the bottom of the barrel.
"Gold teeth?"
"The barter system?"

I have a "rubber-band ball" in my office, and a canister filled with "sugar."


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