Much of the store was full of furniture that looked like the things that seemed elegant to my mother-in-law in the 1970s. I had to try to imagine someone who didn't have those associations putting this items in a hip, ironic context, and yet... maybe that was more depressing.
But I got extremely absorbed by a stack of Life magazines from 1960. Each issue plunged me into an amazing, weird world that I'm old enough to remember as real and normal. I found it endlessly entertaining. This -- comparing "old" and "new" creamed corn -- made me laugh hysterically:
I bought two old issues, one with a cover photo of John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey campaigning in Wisconsin and another with a smoldering closeup of Sal Mineo staring into the eyes of his "Exodus" co-star. Of course, Kennedy in Wisconsin appealed to me, but why the Sal Mineo? What tipped me toward the Sal Mineo issue was that there was an entire illustrated article about the guiche. And don't Google that word to find out what it means, because that's not what it meant in 1960.
ADDED: From the December 12, 1960 issue:
The GuicheThere was a shortage of hair products then. Nail polish... cellophane tape.... You know there is special hair tape now, but back then, we really did stick plain, shiny Scotch tape on our face to hold the piece of hair out over the cheek.
NOT A DANCE OR A DISH, IT'S THE NEWEST FRENCH CURL
Being on top of the new fashions this winter, at least in Paris, means literally starting at the top. The latest in hairdos is the guiche -- which means "curl" -- a sharp twist of hair curving forward over the cheek. Usually worn with smooth, short hair, sometimes so sort it is a shingle, the new style completely outdates last season's full, big-headed look....
The guiche must be set securely and separately from the rest of the hair... Clear nail polish is sometimes used to keep its razor edge and cellophane tape will keep it in place overnight. For those whose hair won't behave, false guiches cost only $6 a pair.