Looking for a little visual inspiration for your memoir? Old magazines can prompt a flood of memories to write about!
Check out these images, for example (from Family Circle magazine of September, 1954 and Good Housekeeping of August 1959). How much things have changed in over 60 years – Family Circle cost just five cents! That issue included the latest budget-friendly home plan. . . just $11,250 for a dream house with garage.
In addition to showing the latest in home decor (now Mid-Century Modern collectibles!), the same issue touted the latest in kitchen design — red formica countertops with stainless steel edges were trendy.
Food ads and recipes may bring back fun kitchen memories for you. . . aside from serving suggestions for Spam, Family Circle was loaded with sugary treats from their Dessert and Fruit Cookbook. You may remember when Velveeta was a household staple. (For some folks, it still is!)
Perhaps you (or someone you knew) wore the latest in 1954 fall fashion like this tweed coat with brown velvet trim.
Movie reviews touted the latest flicks, like Audrey Hepburn and William Holden’s “Sabrina.” And a few ads would make us gasp, today. . . but cigarette ads were everywhere, back in the day!
Popular magazines give a visual “peek into the past” at the products, the styles, the look-and-feel of an era. More news-oriented magazines like Time and Life can also provide poignant reminders of what was making history at the time. Chances are, they’ll bring back some memoir-worthy memories for you, too!
So where can you find great old magazines? Well, antique stores and thrift stores are good places to start. Ebay and Etsy are both terrific sources – try searching by decade (1950s or 1960s) or magazine name: “vintage Family Circle” for example. AbeBooks.com (one of my favorite used book sellers) offers a good selection of old magazines. PastPaper.com is another good source, with listings organized by both title and topic (“women’s magazines” or “house/garden,” for example). Check out their comic books, too, though be prepared — they no longer cost five or ten cents!
Stumble across a great memory in the pages of an old magazine? I hope you’ll share it!