- Historic Sites
Sometimes life in the past really was better
April/May 1984 | Volume 35, Issue 3
These and hundreds of other devaluations in goods and services, although perhaps inevitable, are nevertheless worth mourning. The America in which they flourished is not so incredibly distant; it is only half a lifetime ago, after all, and our houses are still full of casual relics from that time: a can opener that works by hand and never burns out, an ancient but well-stitched book that doesn’t fall apart, wooden coat hangers that don’t snap under the weight of a shirt, perhaps even a functioning toaster. But the commonplace quality of these survivors is deceptive, for in fact the America that existed when I was growing up is as remote, as unbelievable, to the modern observer as the days when Coney Island was a fashionable resort. In the belief that a decent funeral is called for, I offer these drawings of past pleasures as a personal eulogy.