I love old magazines, mostly for the ads. Nothing captures an era quite like its advertising.
Can you see the print on the circular-skirted shirt dress? It’s stylized evergreen trees, chubby angels and doves. The fifties equivalent of a Christmas sweater, perhaps. Did anyone ever wear dresses like it?
In case you can’t read the fine print—and who could?—I’ll quote it for you:
P. S. to husbands:
She cares about her home, you know, so if you really care about her … wouldn’t it be a good idea to consider a Hoover for Christmas? Prices start at $66.95. Model 29 (shown here) $95.95. Low down payment; easy terms. See your Hoover dealer now.
This ad takes me back to our first Christmas in Whitehorse, only a few months after we moved here. We—husband, wife, baby—came with everything we owned in the back of a pick-up truck. We brought no furniture and had no money.
By Christmas, we’d picked up a few used pieces—a couch and chair set, a stand for the T.V., a kitchen table with chairs, a crib, a bed, and a couple of dressers—but the apartment was still bare. My husband bought me a new end table and an expensive lamp for Christmas, and I was happy with my gifts.
I’d made a few friends, especially one woman who took me under her wings and encouraged me as I learned to live far from family and care for a young baby. She phoned on Christmas to ask what gifts I’d received and I told her. “I wish,” she said, “I could be happy just getting things for the house.”
At the time, I thought her remark didn’t bother me—at least not much—but thirty years later, it was the first thing I thought of when I read the text for this ad. And I could quote her words exactly. It was intended as a compliment, but it took a tiny piece of my joy.
The end table’s gone, but the lamp is here, right now, on the bedside table, reminding me of a husband who loved me and gave me good gifts. I am still happy with my lamp.
This is a redone post from December 2007.