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Book Review

Remembrances of Times Past, by Marta Hiatt (Northern Star, 2006)

Here’s a chance to completely immerse yourself in pure, unspoiled nostalgia. Anyone who has been alive over 30 years, as well younger folks who wonder about the past, will constitute an unlimited cast of interested American readers.

In Remembrances of Times Past, Marta Hiatt has arranged a fascinating assortment of vignettes – most written by herself – reminding us “how it was” in years past. These are arranged in broad groupings like lifestyle, sex and social mores, households, entertainment, fashion, etc.

And, for those of us who believe we don’t need any help remembering, just try this set of facts from Marta’s research: “At the beginning of the twentieth century, only fourteen percent of homes had a bathtub, and only eight percent had a telephone. Most women washed their hair only once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.” This fact is amazing for US citizens (but would hardly come as a surprise for countries where poverty prevails today).

Hiatt includes photos and quotations that bring back the actual scenes she describes and allow readers to react to yesterday’s world with Hiatt’s carefully researched facts and delightful observations. Occasionally she spices up the printed page with formerly “shocking” photos that would seem commonplace in modern media.

I recommend this colorful volume to anyone having a bit of leisure time and a desire to look back and explore that treasured time tunnel with the help of a knowledgeable and friendly guide.


- Bruce Cook, Ph.D.

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