There was once a day when we knew the model and make of every car on the road. Including this iconic finned Cadillac Coup de Ville that we spied while out on errands a few days ago. Is it a 1960? The fins are a clue that it could be. More than 50 years old–whoa!
My husband always compares these kind of calculations to those made when we were younger. When we met, a car that old–50 years! — would have been a 1920 model. That puts it in perspective, doesn’t it?
This car looked like it was only minimally restored, still maintaining its original character. Back when cars had character. I could just imagine some slick dude cruising top-down on a Friday night.
When I first moved to Los Gatos, Calif. in 1984, kids cruised the main drag in their cars every Friday night. It was like a scene out of American Graffiti and so much fun to be part of, even as a spectator. Alas, the town put a stop to it not too long after. Another cultural artifact bit the dust.
So it’s nice to go back in time in my mind. If you’re in my age group, those fins bring back a long-ago era, when life was so different. Not only were there fewer and more distinctive cars on the road, but we listened to music on these:
What is this? Yes, it’s a record player. It’s a modern version of the old-fashioned one I used to listen to Beatles albums in the basement of my parents’ house. I found it for sale in San Francisco at Urban Outfitters.
Here’s the pink version. Apparently, what’s old is new again — and at least among some young hipsters — record players and albums are back.
Like seeing the old Cadillac, this record player brought back memories of the first 45 rpm I ever bought: My Boyfriend’s Back by the Angels. After school I’d go downstairs to the old tan and brown record player and spin some tunes all by myself. And I can still see my stack of albums sitting on the floor below our record player, with Meet the Beatles on top.
This teal roller skate is a modern and fashionable version of an old skate boot–but for us it was usually ice skating, and that’s what came to mind immediately when I saw this. Roller skating wasn’t so big in my neighborhood, but come winter, my father took us to the ice skating rink where we shivered as we circled the ice. My ice skates were white (boys wore black or brown)….like this one.
After skating, we’d knock slush off the blade as we put our plastic skate guards on for the walk to the little hut and our snow boots, then home. My mother wasn’t much for athletics of any kind, so she stayed warm and dry at home, smoking cigarettes and drinking Sanka.
Yes, Sanka was the decaf of the times.
Instead of video, we watched films that came in tins like this. Home movies were taken and stored in smaller ones.
In the late 1960s I worked in a large retail store in downtown Rochester, NY (Sibley’s) and operated a billing machine that looked very much like this. I was very good at it, too.
I brought a typewriter like this to college with me in 1969. This came along with it:
This, my children, is a typewriter eraser. It was our version of a DELETE key. Only not. If we made an error, we’d erase it with the wheel and brush the rubber pieces away with the other end. Of course, ours were much smaller than this photo.
The whole process was much easier if we used this:
Very thin, erasable paper called “onion skin.” Of course, Don Draper and especially his secretaries would be very familiar with these office supplies. They were the height of modern at the time.
Speaking of Mad Men, I’ll be sorry to see the series end next year. While it’s jumped the shark in many ways, I love the impeccable rendering of life in the 1960s and all the little details of the culture that bring back so many memories. Do you remember a series set in the same era called American Dreams that ran from 2002 to 2005? It had the same kind of perfect depiction of our lives back then and I loved spending an hour a week back in that world. When it ended after too few years, I was heartbroken.
What is it about the past that makes us love to visit it, even with all its flaws?