01 February 2009

A Soviet look back


I love looking back at old catalogs and magazines. I could spend hours in a used book store combing though 40-year-old issues of Better Homes and Gardens and Sears Catalogs. I'm old enough to remember that stuff when it was new and it's pretty humbling to look back at how truly fleeting everything is.

Well in that same vein, I came across a website called English Russia a couple of weeks ago, and the guy who writes that blog posted some pages from a 1983 Soviet Look Book. In the old Soviet Union, all household goods were sold by the state and a new catalog came out every year. I suppose it was the Soviet equivalent of a Sears or Penny's catalog from the same era.

It's interesting to get this kind of a look into the domestic lives of ordinary Russians from the Soviet days. When I think back to 1983, I can remember very clearly wondering what life wasreally like over there. I knew the fires of the Cold War were stoked with a whole lot of propaganda --theirs and ours. And I knew that I'd never get a straight answer until I went over there myself. 

Well  that never happened and I never did get my first-hand look into Soviet life. Russians I've come to know over the years have told me enough of their childhood stories that I think I can cobble together a good sense of how life was on the other side of the Iron Curtain. But I have to tell you, this Soviet Look Book from 1983 has really piqued my curiousity all over again. Look at some of this stuff. The appliances in particular are fascinating.











1983 wasn't too long a time ago. Right?


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