“Memories/Light the corners of my mind...” – as sung by Barbra Streisand.
While grocery shopping with my mother in the 1970s, I enjoyed peeking at the “Golden Age” Sunday comics in “Good Old Days” magazine and developing an appreciation of the cartoon antics my father remembered from his boyhood.
In the early 1980s, as part of a school magazine fundraiser, my (then-future) wife wheedled her grandfather into purchasing a much-enjoyed subscription to “Reminisce.”
I am overjoyed that these two magazines are still around to remind a powder keg of a nation about simpler times. Simpler times when the moon might still be made of green cheese and a man’s word was his bond and hips knew their place and kids would play outdoors until dark, turning over every rock to find bugs (as opposed to finding new pronouns).
Both periodicals are chock-full of articles about how swell the country used to be for its citizens. Granted, the theme issues spotlighting Black gay communists with polio are a little thinner than most, but surely that’s the exception that proves the rule.
These magazines are priceless time capsules, and not the disturbing kind of metal time capsule that gets buried and forgotten. (“Stop digging. I think we’ve finally found where Grandpa buried the ti—no, wait! It’s just Mittens. Ewwww! Junior, I thought I told you to...”)
Obviously, these magazines are a thoughtful gift for seniors, whether they are confined to a nursing home bed or experiencing an active lifestyle of tennis and travel.
Retirees from coast to coast can all enjoy reading about station wagon vacations, Sinclair gas stations, Lucy and Ethel, Dick and Jane books, the old swimming hole, poodle skirts, drive-in theaters, snapping green beans with grandma and figuring out how one could eventually produce exactly 2-point-5 children. (“Do you like me? Check yes or no and provide references for how good you are with fractions.”)
Don’t stop there. Folks a generation younger can use the recollections from their parents’ peers to modify their own mid-life crisis. (“Who needs a sports car and a trophy wife??? I’m cashing in my retirement account early and stocking up on asbestos!”)
I’m not finished. The nostalgia magazines are especially appropriate for young people who respond with rolled eyes and a dismissive “I don’t even know what that is” anytime an elder uses perfectly legitimate words such as “Fonzie,” “encyclopedia salesman,” “phone book” or “house call.”
Hand the youngsters a stack of magazines and then play dumb yourself. (“Co-sign a loan? What is this ‘co-sign’ terminology? Move into the basement? You kids and your newfangled slang!”)
Of course, with the passage of time, the original readership of the magazines passed away (“Be sure to mark the grave this time, Junior!”), so the emphasis has slowly shifted from the Gay 90s and Roaring 20s to the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers.
Following that pattern, someday the readers will think of the 2020s as “the good old days.” I shudder to think of the articles.
“That time the house caught on fire, and I had to choose between my knitted mask and my participation ribbon!”
“My most embarrassing childhood moment: when the doctor cut my umbilical cord before I could start recording for my TikTok audience!”
The magazine rack: be there or be square. Because Mittens would have wanted it that way.
Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”