Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thrifty Acres - Better Homes and Gardens July 1978

Hello! One fun thing about thrift store shopping is coming across a current issue of a magazine - and then right next to it is another issue of the publication - only it's decades old! Some thrift stores slap a higher price tag on these vintage issues, but I recently paid one quarter for the July 1978 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I was an older teen in 1978 and wanted to see what I remembered - or forgot - from that time. 

Of course, if you were around then, you're likely to remember the favored kitchen appliance color:

Good old Harvest Gold! Wonder how powerful that microwave (seen left in the foreground)was? 

Ah, how quickly we forget - well, at least I had! Seems like so long ago now that we took our film in to get developed at a Fotomat. 

Another blast from the past:

I know that Lysol is still around, but it seemed to me that the last time I checked, the old familiar can, as seen in the ad above, wasn't - instead there were several other colors of Lysol cans. I don't use Lysol, so I don't know what the different types of Lysol mean.

Perhaps these cans represented different scents. One reason why I don't use Lysol is that I never liked its smell. My mom used to spray it around whenever we kids got sick, and I seem to recall that she liked to disinfect trashcans with it too.

However, I don't ever remember my mom packing Lysol to use on a road trip! In the ad, the mom is shown spraying Lysol around motel rooms with great abandon. She seemed especially preoccupied with air, as in the air of motel rooms, motel room closets, and motel room air conditioners. All received blasts of Lysol.

I had to wonder what types of motels the mom's family chose, though, for she's also seen spraying Lysol on the shower floors "to kill athlete's foot" and on the shower curtains, for "Lysol killed mold and mildew..." there. What, were they staying in motels that hadn't been used in years? I mean, wouldn't the housekeeping staff have cleaned the bathroom after the previous occupants of that motel room had checked out?

Okay, so maybe they stayed at the cheapest mom-and-pop motels around. However, there was an unexpected bit of luxury in this magazine - and in a Sears ad, of all places:

The bedspread is described as a "luxurious floral Custom quilted...Everglaze finish. Outline quilted". On sale, the full-size version cost $125.00 (that was $25 off the full price). 

That sum seemed pretty high to me, so I did a little checking online to see what it would be in today's money. According to this site  that bedspread would cost $446 dollars today! And as dated as it looks today, I wonder how much it would sell for at a thrift store? 

Back to a more serious issue:

That's a good-looking scientist there, or so he claims to be one in this ad, which is for the Edison Electric Institute. Nuclear power doesn't seem to be the answer for a lot of folks nowadays. I live about 30 miles north of a nuclear power plant which seems to be having its share of issues. Hopefully it will be kept under control.

A year after this magazine was published, it just so happened that I saw the movie The China Syndrome  in a movie theater located just a few miles from that same nuclear power plant. This movie was about safety hazards at a nuclear power plant, so I thought viewing it in that town (South Haven, MI) quite ironic. 

I've been discussing the magazine ads thus far, but of course there is non-ad content as well! In this particular issue, much of the content was 26 pages of "100 Ideas Under $100". I like to scan such features to see if any of those back-then ideas would still be good today. 

One of the still-good ideas, I think:

This project is entitled "Big-stash sacks" and has an estimated cost of $32 ($114 in today's money). All you do is slip-stitch some sturdy tote bags together with carpet thread. "Arranged on big, bold hooks, the bags can turn any wall into a catchall". Like I said, still a good idea! If I were going to make something similar, I'd look for tote bags at a thrift store or garage sale. 

Then there's the not-so-good idea:

I'm not sure why the staff at Better Homes and Gardens thought that pandas - in a blue and white color scheme, no less - made for good bathroom decor. Not shown is the shower curtain, which is a blue and white checkerboard with a huge panda applique on it. No thanks, I'll pass!

What I've shown off in this post is only a small portion of the magazine, of course. I think I've shown enough, though, for you to see that I more than got my quarter's worth! 

Oh, and speaking of money - this issue had a single-issue cost of 95c. In today's money, that's $3.39. Hmm, that's not bad - I think that single-issue magazines cost more than that today! 

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