April/May 1984 | Volume 35, Issue 3
Sometimes life in the past really was better
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.