An Affair to Remember
No...my love affair is with the past. Specifically, the fifties. Sometimes I want desperately to step back in time and become part of that elegant era.
It just seems as if it was an infinitely more civilized time though of course, intellectually, I know that we have made huge strides since then in terms of human rights, equal opportunity, and a multitude of other social issues.
I guess, realistically, the fifites of which I enamored is the one which has been portrayed by Hollywood, where the woman are all elegant and the men debonair.
Ohhhhhh, I want to be Deborah Kerr and I want to have a shipboard romance with Cary Grant. And I want to visit his Janu in Nice and inherit her beautiful lace mantilla.
The paralyzation thing I can do without.
So maybe, I will be Deborah Kerr as a prim young schoolmarm who falls in love with Yul Brynner and dances with him in a lush garden while wearing an immense gown of satin and lace.
Back then yhey wore white gloves and aprons; bowler hats and slender black ties. They said "good day" to one another and they addressed one another as Mr. and Mrs. or Sir and Madame. People beleived in courtesy and respect. They believed in ladies first and giving up their seat to the elderly. They went to church and they dressed for dinner.
Things from the fifties were built to last. It was not a mentality of disposability that era. From cars to furniture to evening gowns, all of it was meant to withstand the ravages of time.
How can I possibly feel nostalgiac for an era before I was even born? It seems silly, but I am.
I want to put on a day dress and do my housework in heels. I want to go to the market in white gloves and a pill box hat. I want my husband to look dapper in his grey serge suit and his sleek crew cut. I want him to mow the lawn in pleated pants. I want to get dressed up to go the movies. I want to bake cakes from scratch in a turquoise kitchen. I want to go for Sunday drives in a big gleaming car made of metal and chrome. I want to get my hair done every week and go to bed with Pond's cold cream on my face.
As daydreams go, it's fairly impractical. And I know that the fifties ideal of my daydreams was not a reality.
But still, it's a romance I'm powerless to put an end to. I cannot bring msyelf to break up with this bygone paramour.
So I collect 50's ephemera with a passion. I have hats and aprons and vanity items and cards and dresses and shoes and ordinary household items. I have books and china and christmas ornaments and tableware. I have bed linens, handkerchiefs and tablecloths.
I love them all and I actually use quite a few of them. When I do, I feel that I have a connection to this coveted past, this make believe used to be, this wish I was then.
Sometimes, life now strikes me as terribly tawdry. Dirty and cheap and poorly constructed. Our homes are built hastily out of laminate and particleboard. Our belongings are made of resin and plastic. They are not beautiful, there is no pride in their making. There is no mastery in the creation of these objects. They are utilitarian and cost effective. They are cheap and ugly.
And oh....the people we have become. People who go to the grocery store in sweat pants and tank tops with our bodies on display. People who are unkempt and unclean. I grow weary of seeing these indiffirent dispirited people day in and day out. I grow weary of the apathy that seems to afflict rich and poor alike.
Where has our pride gone? Why have we allowed our lives to be littered with cheap things from faraway lands that poison our children and ourselves? Why do we allow others to see us in public as our private selves? We don't need to show the world our uncombed hair and our sleep wrinkled faces. Why do we?
Maybe my love of the past really has to do with dissatisfaction with my present.
Maybe my perspective has changed, now that I am older, and I see all the faults where before there was only that special brand of youthful magic.
Maybe then, it is not the past that I love so much, but the ignorance of my youth that I miss so deeply. I want the world to seem perfect and elegant again.
I wonder if it ever will, or if it just grows uglier with the truth that each new day brings.
Yeah. Maudlin much B.A?
I need some high heels and a frilly apron, stat.