The catalog from the Vermont Country Store arrived in the mail today. Immediately, I’m plunged into a warm bath of nostalgia. Turning the pages puts me on a New England beach, munching on paper-thin ginger cookies, the only treats my mother would buy. No American company manufactures them today, but the Country Store has discovered some from Sweden. Remember fly biscuits, those flat cookies filled with squashed raisins? Nabisco quit making them, but here are some called Garibaldi Biscuits that look identical. Of course you have to buy five packages and pay seventeen dollars plus shipping, but it’s worth it. Take a bite, close your eyes and you’re back swinging with your best friend.
Want a stainless steel percolator to burble away on your stovetop? A straw broom made by the Amish or vinyl bowl covers that look like shower caps? All these are available in this catalog of old favorites. They’ve brought back things you didn’t even know you were missing — a Big Ben alarm clock, a Slimline phone and Pears glycerin soap. Seeing these homey, familiar, and useful items makes me wonder why they ever went away.
If you’re speculating for what age this catalog is intended, turn to page 41 and check out the pink underpants that stretch down to mid thigh. Or the long-sleeve nightshirts for men. A fashionista would not covet the flowered muu muus or the shapeless jumpers, but they’re great for covering figure faults. Check out the fragrance page, and I bet your throat will tighten with memories. Arpège by Lanvin. Oh, that lovely scent! If you’re female, you or your mother wore that one. There’s Yardley’s lavender, a young girl’s first scent. The catalog also offers Jungle Gardenia, according to them, a favorite of Barbara Stanwyck. Would anyone younger than I even know who Barbara Stanwyck was?
Anyone hankering for Maine lobster cakes, watermelon pickles or a selection of penny candies, can just put in an order and wait a week for a package to arrive.
There are two pages of Natural Tonics….now there’s a New England phrase. How about Black Cherry Juice for Arthritis and Gout? Or Dr. Carlton’s Organic Elixir, which claims not only to be anti-inflammatory, but to boost your immunity. A picture of a horse and buggy over the ad makes me wonder if the good doctor will trot up to your door, bottle in hand. I’d like to think so.
Not sure the catalog’s homeopathic drops can really cure cataract, but I can attest to the quality and true value of their thrice-milled soap. This year, they added baby powder and egg to their scents of lemon verbena, geranium and rose. I pick up a pen to order a box. Each time this delightful catalog arrives, I try to buy at least one item. It’s my way of repaying the company for the joy and memories that come with each delivery.