1. RECORD ALBUMS It’s a niche market, but when the millennial crowd starts buying and playing them, you know it’s not just about nostalgia. I love pulling the record out of its jacket, placing it on the turntable. I know this from doing it at my daughter’s apartment.
2. RECEIVING A REAL CARD Again, this is a niche market, but I am seeing the most wonderful cards at some small but beautifully curated shops where you can buy stationary and gift wrapping. And once in a while I will get a lovely and thoughtful handwritten card in the mail from a friend, and it will make my week.
3. BUTTER Just as Julia Child predicted.
4. CREAM IN COFFEE Ok, just pretty much everything full fat, and I will throw egg yolks in there, too.
5. CHILDREN PLAYING OUTSIDE I hear them in my neighborhood after school, I don’t think this is just anecdotal, I believe this next generation of parents are rejecting, at least somewhat, the over-programmed, playdate culture in which I raised my kids, and some of it for healthy selfish reasons. Understandably exhausted parents don’t want to drive their kids, but they also don’t want them spending hours in front of screens, so suddenly it will occur to them—hey, why don’t you see what Trevor across the street is up to?
6. NO HOMEWORK FOR YOUNG CHILDREN Schools are taking their time embracing this, but new studies show what our mothers or definitely grandmothers suspected, that kids learn more from play or exploring their own interests, than formal homework in the elementary grades.
7. FARMER’S MARKETS Buying food from the person who grew it. And just in general eating less food out of a package and being more aware, like our grandparents were (actually my English grand-parents grew almost all their vegetables in their backyard garden) of where our food comes from, how it was fertilized, etc. In other words, reclaiming the connection between ourselves and what we eat.
8. KNITTING Or crocheting, or quilting, or jewelry making or anything crafty that can be done alone, as a Zen way of calming the mind, or in a social circle, sitting around knitting while chatting and catching up and picking up pointers from others. You can join a quilting circle. Yes, these things exist even, or maybe especially, in cities and some of us are getting in touch with long dormant creative talents and discovering the satisfaction of making something in a way we have lost for at least two generations. Isn’t getting an imperfect homemade scarf from a friend just the most amazing thing?
9. TYPEWRITERS Okay, few of us type on them anymore. But we have incorporated them into home design, and I for one think some of the older ones are just beautiful. Further, living with them reminds us of what has come before, it is so interesting to look at a typewriter from decades ago and wonder about its history, the letters, stories and work correspondence that may have been written on that particular machine. And to think that people kept typewriters for years and years, it was often an object that the writer felt related to in a way we can’t with our laptops. Maybe we feel that for our smart phones, but even those are usually replaced every few years, and it is the content on the phone, the texts, the photos, etc., not the individual machine itself that we may feel an attachment. Do you remember the feeling of scrolling in a beautiful, crisp white piece of paper after installing a new ribbon? How that first key strike would produce the most gorgeous, black letter on that white background? I do. You were literally making your mark. A clean, white screen isn’t quite the same, when you are done you click a button and it disappears, whereas with writing on a typewriter you are actually making a product. Oh my God, writing this makes me want to go out and get a new (old?) one!
10. GRANDPARENTS Like everything the Boomers do, we have managed to make it hip and relevant. I love Hilary Clinton on the trail bragging about her grand-daughter, and Lesley Stahl’s new book, “Becoming Grandma.” I missed out on having meaningful relationships with my own grandparents, and for different reasons, so did my kids. I can only hope that we can break this run in my family and give my future grandkids, if I have them, that opportunity. And get to have it for myself, of course. Our generation is more active in the raising of their grandchildren than we have seen in a long time. Some of it is economic, with both parents working and the retired grandparent having more time. But it isn’t just that, and I am seeing more and more that even older people who don’t have their own grandkids are often interested in mentoring children. This used to happen more naturally in a neighborhood, and now we may need to make this more structured. But the whole idea of joining up a preschool with an assisted living for seniors is a total win win and I think we will see these kinds of programs happening more and more.
What do you miss that has come back in some form or another?