Saturday, August 15, 2020
Book Asks: What Do You Miss?
Are there some things you pine for and wish had never gone out of fashion? Are there businesses or places that no longer exist that you wish could still be with us?
Life marches forward and as it progresses to creating new trends, fun things, cool styles, or interesting places, it leaves behind a cemetery of mourned experiences.
At some point in life, you miss more than what you have, where your past seems to dwarf your future, when you feel you have less than before and little promise of gaining any of it back or little help in finding solace in what’s supplanted it .
I guess this is what you call aging. It's not just one age, but their attitude. Will you look back at life and wonder why it all changed, not realizing that the whole time things changed and allowed for your vibrant experiences to happen? Will you appreciate whatever moment you are in, not feeling tired or bound to how things used to be, accepting the flow of change, and even embracing the future?
Let's Bring Back, by Lesley M.M. Blume, shares over 1500 or so things -- and a few people – that the author wished were still with us. Some of these items just seemed like things that one wants to protect because they are familiar but truthfully not any better than what replaced them. Other items seem to reflect a bygone era that mythologically was awesome, though somehow its shortcomings are not so well remembered.
Perhaps it was a tradeoff, that in order for things to exist -- on the positive side back then – there had to be a bunch of negative things. The same may be true of today.
Sure we’d like to think of a time when life was simpler and people respected each other more, but these days were also filled with killer diseases far worse than corona, daily threats of violence, and fewer protections from natural disasters. Today's world allows for faster, wider reaching ways to communicate, but that same technology isolates us and does not nurture or value people actually meeting with each other—or observing silence, our surroundings or our thoughts.
So, is there an ideal time we want to be living in? It's not the things that make up an era or that make it worth living in. No, it is how we do things that make any era or place worth living through.
Blume’s encyclopedia of forgotten yet delightful items from times gone by is an interesting look at things the author felt a personal connection to. Some of them overlapped with things I'd welcome back as well. As noted in the book, not all of the listed items are extinct, but they clearly play a reduced role in our lives and have fallen out of fashion’s favor. Lesley dusts off the delights of generations past and helps us rediscover what fascinated millions of people who also are no longer with us.
Lesley starts off the book by proclaiming “we're absolutely drowning in newest, latest, faster, and disposable.” But in society’s pursuit to be more efficient and productive, have we lost something?
“Yet the benefits of today's uber-connectedness come at a price,” says Lesley. “Modern living is increasingly about convenience, often leaving behind the pleasure of ornamentation and ceremony. As many of us are discovering, efficiency and quality of life are not necessarily synonymous. New products and diversions whiz through our lives at lightning speed; as we discard objects and occupations to make room for them, we often don't fully realize what we’ve given up until it’s too late (like the concept of privacy, for example -- along with privacy’s two cousins, mystery and elegance.”
What are some of the things Leslie laments the near or full disappearance of? Here are several dozen items to chew on
· At-home doctor visits
· Attention spans
· The barter system
· Black velvet chokers
· Bridge (the game)
· Buttonhole lapel flowers
· Card cataloga in libraries
· Elevator operators
· Encyclopedia sets
· Grandfather clocks
· Handwritten thank-you note
· Hula hoops
· Laundry chutes
· Love letters
· Lunchtime cocktails
· Neck scarves
· Polka dots
· Quills and ink
· Radio dramas
· Satin pajamas
· Sealing wax
· Sepia toned photographs
· Souvenir camera view Finders
· Three-piece suits
· The Ziegfeld Follies
The author also misses table manners, Yogisms, and evening news sign-offs such as Walter Cronkite’s “And that's the way it is.” Also missed: hats (not baseball caps), hobbies (and not extracurricular activities), imperfect smiles, and true journalism. Bizarrely, Lesley misses mashers -- also known as womanizers -- and picnics in graveyards.
At the age of 53 I already missed her and things that disappeared a quiet weekend from their heyday. Even in my lifetime I have already witnessed the:
· Peak of coin collecting
· Height of baseball card collecting
· Demise of family TV viewing of family dramas
· Weakened state of magazine and newspaper publishing.
· Shuddering as many bookstores.
· Huge decrease in movie-going attendance.
· Diminishing societal respect for marriage.
· Reduction of baseball as being America's pastime.
· Disappearance of variety shows from TV.
But, gladly, I have also seen positive changes. Women have a lot more power and overt acts of racism, however present, are way down. Cars don't break down like they used to. TVs are bigger and better. Roads are safer and more car friendly. The Internet, for all of its drawbacks, is amazing.
Things come and go, with reason, so we have to make the most of whatever is available to us, even if it's just a memory.
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo.