Look! Life! Time… and The Saturday Evening Post

Yesterday, I cleared out my mother’s last storage space, and now a dozen boxes and the same number of overflowing paper sacks are stacked three deep in my living room, which now resembles the local Goodwill store. I’ve given away half the stuff, but the things that slowed me down are choosing the special items I want to give to relatives and friends, and a stack of old magazines: Look, Life, Time, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Each publication provides a fascinating glimpse into what the world was like decades ago. Mom was very particular in what she saved. History-changing movements like the U.S. political climate and space exploration were high on her list, as well as social change, especially reflected in the magazines from the ’60s.

The Saturday Evening Post from October 17, 1959 is the earliest issue. Nine articles featured everything from the changing role of the family doctor to a profile of F.D.R. There were four short stories and two serials in that issue, too, including a mystery by Erle Stanley Gardner. What a writer’s market it was!

The most recent issue is Life, from January, 1983 which reviewed the most meaningful events from 1982 and covered conflicts in Central America, the Middle East, Poland, Iran and Afghanistan. Sound familiar?       

But, the advertising! Just one peek at what was new and cool back then shows how different our world is today. Here are a few ads for your enjoyment: 
Exciting and New!
Will it work with my IPhone?


Who needs Google maps?

Braniff and Pan American. Long gone.

The convenience of Siri and Alexa is breathtaking, offering information about almost anything in an instant. And we no longer have to plug a lightbulb into a camera to take a snapshot. Too bad we haven’t made much progress on more serious problems that have plagued us for decades.

Bad news aside, at least good old Speedy still has a solution for our everyday aches and pains. Plop plop. Fizz fizz!


Gay Yellen writes the award-winning

Samantha Newman Mysteries including
The Body Business,
The Body Next Door
(available on Amazon)

Coming soon,

The Body in the News
9 replies
  1. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Love seeing the advertisements and magazines…. what a difference time has made and as you noted … has not.

  2. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    My mom saved particular magazines, too. I used to love paging through them in the attic in our old house. Come to think of it, I wonder what happened to them? It's been a long time since I've seen or thought about them. Thanks for the nostalgia trip!

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      Check the attic, Saralyn! There could be untold treasures up there. Or lots of cooties. On second thought, don't. Unless you want to use the adventure in a new piece of writing.

    • Gay Yellen
      Gay Yellen says:

      I'm keeping them for a while, Kathryn, at least until I can spend more time with them and can find a them a good home. the library or the Print Museum, perhaps.

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      I'm so glad to hear that. They are really a treasure and you'll enjoy them until you find the appropriate home!


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