Old Magazines and Time Travel


Half the folks I read about as having married, have since come out as gay. Not even thirty years ago, people felt they had to hide who they were. Anyone over forty was considered to be of advanced age, and a rare few were celebrated as looking good “in spite of their years.” IVF was still in its early stages, and as ICSI hadn’t been devised, success rates were low. Gluten was considered good in most cases, and low-fat powdered skim milk was the go! Sexual, domestic, financial, emotional and verbal abuse were rarely discussed. If they were mentioned, it was only in brief commentary, advising the person to seek some form of therapy, though adequate help was scant. The postal service was rushed off it’s feet; the internet and express delivery still a long way off. We thought it marvellous if we could have our film developed in 24 hours, viewing the dodgy pictures we’d taken.

We saw Hollywood stars fall in and out of love, just as we did. Some famous folk sadly succumbed to drugs, alcoholism or other tragedies. If only we had a time machine to warn them! Would they have listened? Would we, had we been approached, regarding impending disaster? Some of the ads and features I came across in the old magazines made me smile and reminisce; some made me glad to be alive right here and now. People can be who they truly are without falling foul of the public or media. They don’t need to announce an engagement or marriage to be accepted. Medical advances have seen everything from cochlear implants transcend from one station (leaving only a minor improvement in hearing), to many, which can be adjusted easily for the individual’s comfort. Laser surgery is a thing, as are insulin pumps and scores of other astounding breakthroughs in medicine. A friend of mine was kept alive via an artifical heart whilst waiting for a transplant in the past five years!

Ageing is celebrated, and we are actually seeing people over forty on catwalks, and in the arts, being revered and heard. We live in an age of self-defrosting fridges, little vaccuums, mobile phones, laptops and the internet. Rather than hiring a huge video cassette, we are able to download a film on our IPads. We are fortunate, to be alive at this time. No more secrets nor shame. We are indeed fortunate.

Old Magazines and Time Travel (part 2)


March 9th, 1987

Elton John was married to Renate Blauel and Michael Crawford was on stage in Phantom of the Opera.

March 12th, 1984

There was a feature on Celebrity Homes, with pictures of Liberace, Rock Hudson and others.

Joan Collins had started seeing Peter Holm. In good news, stress increases your metabolic rate! A recipe recommended orange juice, sugar, gin, instant coffee and ice as a refreshing drink. It goes without saying that a man requires a hostess and elegant wife to not only cook, but charm his colleagues. It is apparently expected and a lady can look at it as being her “job” as a wife.

December 11th, 1990

 

Elizabeth Taylor and truck driver Larry Fortensky were an item, as was Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. Cigarette companies were still running competitions, and the latest innovation was a rechargable vacuum with a torch on the end! There were no hair straighteners, only curlers and crimpers.

August 28th, 1990

Nicole Kidman was 23 years of age, and engaged to Tom Cruise. The movie Ghost was a hit and reduced-fat foods were becoming popular. Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland were going out and fridges that automatically defrosted were beloved. Forty is considered old! Apparently, Mick Jagger-at 47- is exhausted from touring and at his advanced age, is looking forward to being home with Jerry Hall and the kids!

 

Beaches and Visiting the Past


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We met up with some families this week at Bondi Beach. It’s a lovely trip by bus from the city, and you get to meet some real characters. On our last trip, we came across a regal ninety year old woman, dressed to the nines. My daughter still talks about her, and she has provided a point of reference for the possibilities offered in older age. I had put 50+ sunscreen on my daughter, and myself, though I neglected my neck, to my peril. It was cool and overcast when we arrived, a dangerously deceptive combination. It didn’t take long for the sun to burst forth, in all it’s sizzling glory. There was something special about being at Bondi Beach, particularly when you don’t have the hassle of obtaining parking. A bus is the way to go! The kids had great fun, alternating between the beach and pool.

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The next morning, we got up and did it all again, this time going to Balmoral Beach. On the way, we had cupcakes and ice cream at The Classic Cupcake Co. in Double Bay. Oh my goodness! Made from natural ingredients, they were a taste of heaven. I had the Midnight Mint Cupcake.

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As we made our way to the beach, we witnessed a near-collision in Double Bay. An inch more and the cars would have hit. The woman who had nearly caused the accident decided to come into our lane in her ostentatious car. My friend beeped at her to warn her that we were too close behind, and the other driver made some very rude gestures! She was perfectly coiffed, aged in her fifties and old enough to know better. Money can’t buy class! The kids ran to the water, whilst we ordered chips and potato scallops. I smiled as seagulls gathered around. I fancy myself as a Bird Woman, whom understands their secret language. “I will give you a chip or two,” I smiled. “Just let me open the box.” Out of nowhere, a seagull swooped and its claws scraped the side of my face. Another one followed suit, and it pecked my face as it searched for a chip. “Little buggers!” I cried! “P*%$ off!” They were vicious; intent on stealing chips, and there were so many gathered that we were forced to move off the beach. I had never seen anything like it! Normally, birds love me! They followed us to a table, and fortunately, a Pomeranian named Romeo gallantly chased them away. The brave little dog received lots of pats from the kids!

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We caught a train to an inner-city stop, and as we waited for my daughter’s dad to drive us home, I decided to show my little girl where we once lived. It was a semi-detached house in a grand old street, shaded by towering trees. I got a real kick out of pointing out where our Aboriginal neighbour lived, as well as two elderly sisters, now departed from this world. I stopped at the gate to our former abode, picturing myself at 20. I was writing and had started my business here, creating art for shops in Newtown and the city. I had also started my journey of infertility here, having been given a strong injection which was promised to slow the progression of endometriosis (which they hadn’t determined I had). Instead of making me feel better, it caused side-effects so violent that I was bed-ridden for a good year. It was here I feared I would never have my daughter, and it was here I wished with all my heart that I would.

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As I glanced up at canopy of trees, I was appalled that I had ceased to appreciate them properly at the time. They don’t preserve streets and grand architecture as they used to; like they did on this particular street. My daughter was taken with the street art, and the park at the end of the street. As I watched her roll down a hill and perform cartwheels, my throat constricted with emotion. The amount of times I sat on that very hill in that little park… Dreaming of having a child, and of what life might be.

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I sat next to her, and told her of the life I lived long before she arrived. I talked of my hopes and dreams, and also of my fears. I hadn’t been back to the street for many years. I can still hear the mail being dropped through the slot in our door. I can still feel the warmth from the old gas oven in the kitchen I painted turquoise. I can see me. I haven’t changed that much, except that I am weathered. We all get weathered along the way, to varying degrees. Distressed and shabbily chic. I am glad I thought to take her back. I hope that the girl on the hill could feel our visitation through time and space. I hope she could sense that she was going to be okay. I hope she could sense the little girl doing cartwheels nearby. I am glad I got too see the canopy of trees, as if for the first time.