I’m mostly a twenty-first century girl, an occasional slave to technology and modernity, but I have a real weakness for the 1940s. I’m sure there are many reasons for this. My two sets of grandparents were married in 1939 and 1945 (married more than 60 and almost 55 years, respectively) and they played a far more active role in my upbringing than did the grandparents of my friends. I have acknowledged my affection for the great love stories of 1940s cinema, including Bogey-Bacall and Hepburn-Tracy (I will take no arguments on that one; it was complicated and messy but those two had something really amazing that others should stop trying to interpret). I love 1940s fashion, including the curled hairstyles and Victory red lipstick and utilitarian military-styled dresses. These were the days where women unabashedly had curves (there was no Twiggy or size-zero phenomenon). The spirit of feminism was captured by “Rosie the Riveter” and it wasn’t just a cute idea–one of my grandmothers was a real Rosie during the war.
The UK has been quite good for this part of me, providing plenty of fodder for my fantasy life. I’ve mentioned previously my weakness for rail travel. Clothing is eclectic here but formal occasions are frequent and (at least in the circles in which I travel) men wear suits. I don’t recall, at least not anywhere I lived in the US, ever finding a handsome man wearing cufflinks on a weekday. Here in the UK, people still listen to the radio (although admittedly sometimes streaming over the internet!) and I find it’s pretty easy to imagine time standing still when faced with so much history and historic architecture.
So it is within this context that I confess yet another longing for my upcoming trip to my homeland in the US : I want to go to Murray’s — the restaurant that time has completely forgotten. I don’t even eat steak so it’s not about the famous Silver Butterknife steak. I just love the place. The decor is of the pink silk variety and the waitstaff all have grey hair. The music is live and right out of a Bing Crosby movie. Nothing captures my romantic 1940s fantasies better than dining at Murray’s–for one evening maybe I will be able to immerse myself in an era I missed by several decades and feed my dreams for a few more years to come.