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The Pain of Nostalgia

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by Rica Bloom, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. Lusti Weather

    Lusti Weather One of the Regulars

    This is exactly how I feel. I don't have any desire to have actually been born 70+ years ago; I just like the fashions, films, decor of another time. I always say that I wish I could have a time machine so that I could go to the '50s and buy all of the stuff I love, and then bring it all back with me to the present day!
  2. Ok to who ever is working on this time machine for use make sure it can make return trips and make it really really big we are talking warehouse size!!!!:p
  3. Miss Moonlight

    Miss Moonlight A-List Customer

    I personally can't separate the realities of the past from the lovely fantasies that even the films of the day often portrayed. I still love a lot about the 20s-50s, but in studying any of it, there's always the hardship of the Great Depression or the hardship of rationing, or if you read about the WW2 British Homefront, my... what those people went through.... I'll always appreciate the film, radio, fashion, etc., but won't forget the rest because it's all what shaped all that was created.
  4. JoeNiblick

    JoeNiblick One of the Regulars

    I love vintage things, especially those with a family tie, but...

    I cringe at the thought of that "simpler time." Kids got polio and were crippled. They got measles, mumps, rubella... They died. Women died in childbirth. The newborn infants died from infection and various other illnesses.

    My African-American niece couldn't drink from the same drinking fountains that I could.

    Kids would have to do war drills and hide under their desks or in bomb shelters to practice for when the Communists invaded.

    I choose a simple life today. I'm a vegetarian. I grow my own vegetables, and I buy local produce. I eat as little processed food as possible. I bake my own bread. I don't own a TV. I walk my dog every morning. I go to church every Sunday. But I also use the internet. I enjoy progressive social standards. And I benefit from modern medicine.

    I'll take today over the past any day!
  5. Were I born in vintage times, I'd be dead now. Was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, and then succumbed to Pneumonia. My mother would have died in childbirth with my twin brother and sister 3 years later.
  6. huh im realy confused why would u be dead now?

    totaly agree with all the peeps who say nostalgia for a time you didn't livein is pretty silly lol. ms necerie day jeanne n some of the other gals all hit it on the head
  7. Miss Moonlight

    Miss Moonlight A-List Customer

    Did he mean were he not born in modern times? Maternal death rates are terrible in the US now. The umbilical cord issue is something midwives and docs deal with all the time, and they know what they're doing to keep the O2 in the cord from being cut off (strangulation isn't the issue), however, pneumonia? Still one of the main causes of infant mortality in current times, actually. But women have been having babies for eons and survive a lot that people assume they wouldn't have 'in another time.'

    Anyway, I don't want to go on and end up off topic.
  8. It would depend on where you were living. Segregation of public facilities by law was confined to the former Confederacy, a few border states, and parts of the West -- there was no such thing as legally segregated fountains, restrooms, lunch counters, bus seats, etc. in the North. Most Northerners had no idea, or only a vague idea that such laws even existed -- and were appalled when such things were brought to their attention.

    Not to say there wasn't discrimination in the North -- there were plenty of cases of individual or business discrimination, especially among rival ethnic groups in urban neighborhoods -- and many Northern states had, at one time or another, laws against intermarriage. We had one here in Maine -- but it was repealed in 1795.

    According to a recent study by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, American schools today are actually *more segregated* than they were in the 1950s.

    Those sorts of things weren't as widespread as campy newsreel clips would have you believe. I grew up in a town that supplied much of the fuel for the Air Force's northeast operations -- a natural target in the event of war -- and it wasn't treated as a big deal, at least from a kid's perspective. We knew where the fallout shelters were, we knew what an air raid siren sounded like and what to do if it sounded the alarm, but we didn't live in constant panic. It was just the way the world was.

    I suspect kids today live in much a greater sense of day-to-day anxiety than we did -- I honestly can't imagine what it must be like to grow up a child today in the post school-massacre/post-9/11 world. The idea of having to flash an ID card and pass a security guard to get into our school would have been incomprehensible.
  9. I'm inclined to agree with Lizzie on a number of issues here - in fact after reading all of your replies, I would have to reiterate that I am very glad for the advances we have made. The difference is that I don't think we've made nearly as much progress as the majority of our society seems to think.

    Lizzie's posts above point to this - as far as racism goes, we've only managed to enact some of the laws that are in place to protect minorities from the most overt examples of persecution, but having long studied the effects of racism, worked in organizations to alleviate disparity among minority children, and having had a couple of relationships with minority partners, I will have to way that we are still a very segregated society, and even in the most progressive areas, there is a heavy feeling of non-acceptance of certain skin colors, accents, and languages. Without going into too much detail, although things are much better now, the majority of white Americans don't even see a fraction of what minorities go through in this country. It's better in some ways, but it's really not good.

    As for women's lib, yes, we've made extraordinary gains in our rights to live an individual life, join the workforce at all levels with recourse against harassment, and we have more reproductive and sexual rights (though not everywhere in this country, mind you). But I would be mortified to bring up a daughter in this world that continues to make her feel that her beauty and ability to please men is her sole value, even from the time of early childhood. And in our current era, we go so far as to pornographize everything about all females, from childhood through old age. You can't turn left or right without seeing it - the things I hear said right to women's faces, every single day, would have someone living in another era tossed in jail in a heartbeat. And children say these things to each other on the playground as well. It's not the presence of that that's changed, it's the outrageous extremity of it.

    I guess I just feel like in addition to all these myths about how far we've come, we're expected to believe that with nothing but a little elbow grease, we can be in a secure place financially too, when I know that no one of my generation is likely to ever own a home, nor live like our parents did. Education is now something like 400% more expensive (adjusted for inflation) than it was in my parent's age, and certainly more of a requirement and less meaningful, and the cost of living is on a ridiculous scale now. Unemployment and welfare do not give nearly enough assistance to live, nor to raise a child, should one have to do that.

    I do live simply. I don't watch TV, I don't drive a car, I share a one room studio and have very few possessions, I cook real food every day, and I believe in an honest day's work. That said, I can't even find a job serving coffee right now, forget my actual industry, and once I do (it HAS to be any day now) I still don't know how I'm going to be able to afford rent and food anywhere near here. I may in fact have to just move back in with my parents again, find work there, and ride out this recession 3000 miles away from the live I've built and my dearest friendships. In the 1950s and 60s I'd certainly have my fair share of problems, but I don't think that feeding myself and keeping a roof over my head would be one of them.
  10. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

    As the mother of a tween girl, I have to agree with you on this point 100%. I think little girls are pushed into womanhood faster and faster nowadays. When I dropped my daughter off at school last year, I saw two girls walking down the sidewalk wearing extremely short-shorts, make-up, the works. Since my daughter's school only goes to 5th grade, I was shocked, and asked her if those girls were, indeed, 5th graders. She said they were. To me, they looked like teenagers, not elementary students!

    I highly doubt that you would have seen that in the Golden Era.
  11. Even in my day -- I went to grammar school in the early '70s -- children (and they are *children* at that age, not "young adults" ) done up like that would have been sent home. No discussion, no arguments, they would have been sent home, and there's a good chance they'd have had someone from the state call around to see just how those kids were being brought up. Of course, let a kid point his finger and say "Bang!", and they'll take him away in handcuffs, but it's perfectly ducky for children to parade around like they're waiting for sailors on Dock B.

    This is the sort of thing I was alluding to when I commented about the dystopic sense I get looking at magazine covers in the checkout line, the whole "101 Sheet-Soaking Tricks To Please Your Man In Bed,""Six Days To a Size O" line of stuff that blasts out at you wherever you look. Somehow we've fallen into a culture that's completely the opposite of everything I knew growing up. I know there isn't a thing I can do to change it, but I can do everything I can to keep it out of my life.
  12. Lady Day

    Lady Day I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Very engrossing report.
    I cant *stand* the trend toward voluntary segregation Ive seen happing not just in these 'speciality' public schools, but in so many supposedly diverse cities as well.

    If there is one thing I can say about my childhood its I had a fantastic public school education. Fantastic. I am SO glad Im not in public school now. I didnt think the whole thing would change that much in 13 years. From curriculum to behavior, people are just plain overly paranoid.

    I remember when I had just graduated. About 6 months after, I would walk into the back of the school, go to the class room and visit my teachers. You cant do that now.

    I guess I was really fortunate. I went to a magnet high school and I had to have an interview (and portfolio) to get into high school. Everyone there had a concentration and everyone there had a focus and goals, and I know that is why my school was so good.

    I could have gone to my brother's high school which was not as diverse, and I more than likely would have done worse and hated it.

    Forced diversity puts people on better behavior (as opposed to integration which is injecting a minority into an already established majority). I cant understand why such a public safely tool isnt being forcibly integrated into more and more public schools.


  13. Yes, a slip of the keyboard it was!
  14. I don't think it's any coincidence that those whom i have encoutered who do wish they lived back in the day were, without exception, white, financially well off, and almost overwhelmingly male.

    Absolutely. This is why I increasingly find the notion of 'dieselpunk' as probably the best conception of what I'm about.

    I hear that - I might well have been too, most probably due to the absence of modern understanding of mental health. Had I carried on much longer as an undiagnosed depressive, I would certainly have wound up in a very bad place - chances are I'd have checked out by my own hand. I'm also acutely aware that back in the day had my illness been identified, I'd have faced a high level of prejudice and might even have spent a spell in an institution. Not a fun prospect!
  15. benstephens

    benstephens Practically Family

    I agree with you totally Edward well said.

    Unfortunately, this vintage vibe is being used to promote other agenda's as well, which upset me greatly.

    However, enough said!


  16. The supreme irony, though, is that life for the working class today is actually quite a bit worse than it was then -- there are fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, and much more social prejudice against those who are not college-educated. I know this from first-hand experience.
    Delma likes this.
  17. benstephens

    benstephens Practically Family

    I am afraid I am not sure I agree with that statement LizzieMaine. I do not know if it is different in America, however, reading books such as Road to Wigan Pier you realise what abject poverty people lived in.

    Long labour queues, and then to be told you were not needed for the day, a diet of bread and margarine. Even for those in work, the pay was low, and the work often supremely dangerous. Slum housing, disease and low life expectancy.

    Then, on top of that there was no real welfare state to talk about, Health and Safety almost non existent. If the main bread winner of the family lost his earning potential the prospects were very grim indeed.

    There were no minimum standards for housing, working hours would be long. Where as now, I think even working class people live fairly comfortably. Food is actually fairly cheap, people are protected by a minimum wage and the government will ensure that most people have a basic standard of living. I am not saying this was in all cases, but certainly, the lot of the working classes in 1920s and 30s England was no way comparable of those today.

    As I say, this may be different in America.

    Kindest Regards

  18. I have had days when i have longed for life in a time when things seemed simpler. Frankly, i try to not let myself wallow in an extreme state of nostalgia as it does me no good :). I try to remind myself that how i live my life is really in large part, within my control.I really do get overwhelmed by the fast pace of life sometimes. But i can always move to a smaller town. I hate shopping at big box stores where no one knows me or cares., but i could go out of my way to shop at small family owned businesses.I may pay more for that roast for dinner, but i do have the choice. I can dress however the heck i please.

    Sometimes, i do look back with longing.But there are some things i would not want to change. My husband is disabled and i am the sole breadwinner for my family.This is stressful enough, but i am lucky enough to be able to work in a business that 60 years ago, a woman would never have been able to look in the door.How would i have managed?

    We are a family of mixed races and abilities.I cannot even think about what life would have been like for us back then.

    So for some reasons, i would never go back even if i could.But i don't really feel like I need to.My values are a part of who i am.That will never change. But i can't make everyone else and the world around me more closely reflect those values..and maybe that's what we really mean when we long for the past.
  19. Actually, the working classes in the US tend not to live especially comfortably at all -- third-rate rental housing, trailers, the projects. Things have degraded substantially here since the loss of manufacturing jobs in the 1970s and 80s, let alone since the 1940s. A life in minimum wage employment today is a life of genuine poverty, and there's far less opportunity to pull yourself out of it if you haven't run yourself deep into debt to get a degree.

    I come from a working class background myself -- my grandfather, with an eighth-grade education, worked in a cooperage, on the WPA, and in a garage which he eventually worked his way up to owning. He was able, on a garageman's income, to eventually buy a house and raise two children in reasonably comfortable surroundings -- they had no luxuries, they never took vacations, and the house was heated by a kerosene stove, but they were comfortable. It's much more difficult, if not impossible, for someone of a similar background today to achieve the same level of accomplishment. And the level of social prejudice against the working class now is higher than it's ever been -- "trailer trash" jokes are the last socially-acceptable form of cultural prejudice, and my niece, who is in line to be the first member of our family ever to earn a degree, consistently lies about her social background in order to avoid ridicule from classmates: in effect, she chooses to "pass" as middle class because of prejudice.

    The safety precautions and protections of today are fine on paper -- but in practice they're widely disregarded. During my own time working in a factory I saw several people severely injured by equipment from which the safety guards had been removed because they "slowed down production." We had no union to protect us in such circumstances, and in each case the injured person was intimidated by the factory owner into not reporting the incident to the authorities. These sorts of conditions are not rare.

    So, as much hardship as there was then, I would still argue that it was better to be a working-class person then than it is today for one big reason: they had *hope* then that their modern day counterparts do not.

    A very interesting recent book on modern working-class life in America is Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickeled and Dimed." This is sort of a modern-day "Black Like Me," in which the educated, prosperous Ehrenreich passed herself off as a working-class person for a period of time and was shocked to discover that conditions were much much harsher than she'd been led to expect.
  20. benstephens

    benstephens Practically Family

    That is interesting. I believe, it is very different in this country. We do have people who live below the breadline, but in general, life for the working classes is not as hard as it was during this period.

    We have rafts of council housing, which, in the 1930s began as corparation housing. Some of them, and the estates the houses are on are a little run down, but most of the inhabitants can afford cars and televisions.

    The prospects I will admit are not fantastic, however, there is welfare to help those who need it. We do have pensioners who live on very low pensions etc. I feel though the prospects were much worse, for instance the hunger marches.

    The accident rate's in this country are far far lower than they were in the 1920s and 30s as well, and welfare at work is taken seriously, even if lacking and flouted in some areas.

    Kindest Regards


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