AImost nothing was "before your time" if you let history bring it to life for you. Living only in the present and its enthusiasms robs you of the experiences of the past that you can enjoy vicariously. Some of those experiences literally can give you the feel and tastes that preceding generations knew. That's why I am thrilled to see tweeds come back into style, for example, and frozen custard stands re-invented. These reactionary fashions follow the return of salsa music about 20 years ago and the martini before that. My family's vinyl collection and rickety phonograph player is more popular now with the younger generation than with the older. ("Awesome," one remarked to me, listening to Cole Porter. "You can understand the lyrics!") Thanks to the much-reviled Tea Party, more people actually are studying and discussing the Constitution again, as once happened regularly in Civics Class--when there still were civics classes.
Howard Chapman, Discovery's Midwest Philosopher, sends a YouTube link of a Diamond Films nostalgia trip through the 1950s. I can add some recollections: John Wayne, school crossing guards, Estes Kefauver and his coon-skin hat, "Art Houses" showing foreign films, Dairy Queen, the Korean War, slow dancing, Red China gets the bomb, girls' crinolines skirts, C. Wright Mills' "The Power Elite", Bill Buckley's "God and Man at Yale," Gina Lolllobrigida, blue suede shoes, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (the mambo and the cha-cha), Newsreeels ("Time Marches On"), Green Rivers and chocolate Cokes, "You Are There" (with Walter Cronkite), pink shirts and charcoal gray slacks, The Hungarian Revolution, Charles Atlas ads, Hawaiian themed restaurants and bars, ties with hand painted hula dancers or palm trees, barn roofs advertising "Lookout Mountain, 40 miles", Boys State, Chicken a la King for company at home, Steak Diane and Baked Alaska at night clubs, blue jeans rolled up at the bottom, Kick the Can...or am I getting back to the 40s now? In which case: collecting tin foil balls, "free cone" paper slips in the bottom of some ice cream cones, running through sprinklers, hot rods, "Who Lost China?", Schwinn bikes, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," men's bathing "trunks" with belts, canvas awnings in summer.. ETC!
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