All posts tagged: Nostalgia

At What Age Can I Go Back to Dressing Like a Lunatic?

(Graphic: Kat Borosky/TueNight.com) My first fashion-related memory is of my dad taking me shopping for my first pair of glasses. My mom — perhaps unwisely — had opted to stay home. I was 4 years old and had already developed a magpie-like obsession with anything shiny. So I immediately honed in on a pair of purple, rhinestone-encrusted cat-eye glasses, the likes of which had not been in style for decades. I was utterly enthralled by the sparkles that dusted every angle and the pearly purple plastic that framed my face so glamorously (I thought). My goal in life at the time was to be “fancy,” and I used the word constantly. And to me, those glasses were the fanciest fucking things I’d ever seen. My mom was not thrilled that her small child came home looking like a trashy, cross-eyed secretary, circa 1952. I didn’t care that she was mad. These glasses made me “fancy.” My next fashion-related memory is more utilitarian. It’s of being outfitted for the uniforms my siblings and I were required to …

What the Bullied Girl Taught Me

(Collage by Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight) Reunions are like reflections. At least, that’s the thought I had after a recent high-school class reunion, though I could apply the same sentiment to family reunions, or really any encounter with people I haven’t seen in years. For at least a moment, you flash back to how you remember them — and yourself — at that time. Then there’s the inevitable question, “what have you been doing since I last saw you?” A friend once told me our reactions arc over time, much like our responses. At early reunions, like the five- or ten-year, familiarity still tends to run strong. You’ve stayed in touch with many old friends. They know what you’ve been doing. The range of individual achievements and failures remains fairly consistent. Many graduated college and got their first job; some got married. I was moving to New York. I was on my way up. By the 15th year, though, you start reflecting on the things you had planned for when you grew up. Because now you are grown up. You are what you are going to be. Is …

Matchbook Dad - Pop

Matchbook Dad: A Life of Lucky Strikes

So many matchbooks; a lifetime of memories. (Photo: Margit Detweiler/TueNight) When my parents downsized last year, moving into a smaller cottage house, my Dad handed me three giant plastic baggies of 200+ matches he’d collected over the years. “You can probably figure out something to do with these,” he said. And when I saw those matches, I saw stories — a lifetime of traveling, memories and moments. My Dad has been collecting matches since he was an eight-year-old kid in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. Becoming an Air Force captain in the ’60s, he traveled all over the world while he was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, and, later, as a water utilities executive  in the U.S. So, like many, he snatched up these free, end-of-the-meal souvenirs — here and abroad. “Everyone smoked back then so there were always matchbooks at the hotel checkout desk, in restaurants,” Dad says. “I started collecting them for no particular reason,” he pauses. “Well, looking back on it maybe sentimental reasons.” Each matchbook jogs a memory for my dad, like a physical diary entry …

Losing It: On the Life, Death and Rebirth of My Hair

(Graphic: Kat Borosky/TueNight) If the gods were whirling around looking for a luxurious head of hair worthy of chronicling, if they were going to point a finger down from Mount Olympus and boom out, “You! Tell the other mortals the story of your mane and sing of it,” it’s safe to say I would not be a contender. My hair is ordinary, even a little pitiful. But for all its lack of glamour, my hair has lived and struggled, and lo, gods, whether you like it or not, I will sing of it. Ages 0-7: My hair and I are at peace. Unless a hairbrush is coming close enough to attack, I never think about it. Age 7: Allison Pykett gets a Dorothy Hamill haircut. Dorothy Hamill is an Olympic figure skater whose hair is cut in a famous short wedge, and Allison is my best friend. Allison’s hair is thick, blond and luxurious, just the right texture to create that wedge. When Allison walks into Mrs. Langbein’s class with her new do, Mrs. Langbein …

Then & Now: 5 of Your Favorite Classic Toys Get a Facelift

This past holiday season, classic toys — the ones we loved and played with as kids — were de rigueur gifts for all the children on my shopping list.  I had just finished writing a book on the 50-year history of a classic toy — the Easy-Bake Oven — and decided to limit my shopping list to toys that had made it into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. The good news was that many of the toys on my list were still being produced and available at traditional toy stores and online retailers. What surprised me was how many of the toys from my childhood had been redesigned – resulting in some of the “new and improved” pale facsimiles.  That’s right, I’m looking right at you, Lite-Brite, with your LED flat screen!  Here are my top 5: 1. BIG WHEEL Then: Growing up in rural Massachusetts in the ’70s and ’80s, the Big Wheel was a big deal. On my street this toy “low-rider” with a huge front wheel was …

Looking Back: The House of Saint Fannie

Grandparents Saint Fannie and Nicholas as newlyweds in 1940, at their weekend getaway cottage.(Photo Courtesy Daniella Latham) It was located on a familiar, winding, bumpy road that held the memories of youth. There was always a flurry of activity in our house growing up, along with the daily traffic that cut the tree-lined suburban street and turned it into a raceway. Each driver navigated the sharp curve as if they were Mario Andretti, minus the looks and money that went along with that type of fame. A 1950’s split-level, the house sat a stone’s throw from the center of the universe (Manhattan) and it gave off the feeling that anything was possible. I lived with my mother and my grandparents. My grandfather stood out as the only truly present man in our lives, and his moral center was paired with Saint Fannie, my grandmother, the matriarch who cooked a mean eggplant parmesan and was my favorite person on earth. As a child growing up in 1970’s suburban New Jersey, nothing could touch us. Life was …

My Big ’80s Pink Prom Dress: A Love Story

At the ripe young age of 17, I fell in love. With a dress. While shopping for the prom, this pink sateen confection wooed me in the couture department at Saks Fifth Avenue in suburban Philadelphia. I can’t remember the designer, but in my mind’s eye — which may not be accurate due to my affinity for revisionist history — it was of a Christian Lacroix poof vintage Everything about the dress said “Big ‘80s” sophistication: the above-the-knee length, the strapless, heart-shaped neckline, the shimmery fabric that unfolded in soft layers like petals on a plump rose. Plus, it was pink, my favorite color — and the only color I could imagine myself wearing to the prom. “The Dress.” I had to have it. There was just one problem: My single mom couldn’t afford it the $350 price tag. I was never much of a “girly girl,” but I always loved iterations of pink. It might be because someone once told me that it complimented my complexion. But I also think pink is a happy color. (Plus, it’s …

Cataloguing: The L.L. Bean Backpack

The “old-fashioned” L.L. Bean catalog. (Montage: Kat Borosky/TueNight.com) When it comes to shopping for my kids, thank goodness for the wonderful world of the Internet. There are a dizzying variety of colors, hipster styles, Euro shapes and eyeball-searing prints to choose from. But it’s overwhelming. And personally, I long for the simpler styles of the 80s. That’s, of course, about the time I was buying my own backpack as I entered high school. I already owned one — a nylon Eastpak that my mother bought for me at the Jewelcor showroom. It was fine for junior high, but it didn’t have the cool factor a freshman truly required. Back then, there was really only one place to find the “must-have” backpack: the L.L. Bean catalogue. But this required some work. It’s hard to remember a time when catalogues did not fill our mailboxes unbidden, but back then, you had to request to be on the mailing list, and our family was not. I think I must have cribbed the L.L. Bean address or phone number …