All you dry fly fishers were possibly expecting another post on fur and feather or something from Wile E. Coyote. Sorry to disappoint you but stick around anyways, you might find this entertaining. "The Way We Were" was my first idea for the title but after thinking it over decided I'd miss my demographic and attract those pesky Streisand fanatics instead. Ephemera is Greek meaning short lived such as a mayfly. It's also a collector's classification for anything produced with a limited useful lifespan such as tickets, posters, newspapers, and catalogs etc..
Ever since I was a little goober I'd had an unusual affinity for "goofy old stuff". Coin collecting was an obvious pursuit...I mean if you're going to collect anything, collecting money sure seems to make a lot of sense and it made my parents proud to see me diligently researching and saving for my future. What did concern them though, was my love of ephemera, particularly magazines and catalogs. Their worry was that I was exhibiting signs of becoming a hoarder, long before it became popular with the advent of "reality TV". What they didn't understand was that every slip of old paper gave me small glimpses into the world that came before me.
We live in a time where a click of a button connects you to retailers around the world and your purchase arrives a few days later with no cash exchanged, so for some it may seem incomprehensible that a few generations ago, mail order catalogs were frequently the only way to access the goods you needed. I still remember the thrill of opening Sears, Simpsons, and especially Canadian Tire catalogs back in the '60s. They fueled the dreams of generations of kids, It was a candy store window transported to our front door for our microscopic inspection, lovingly dog eared and fiercely protected in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
At a lawn sale several years ago, I picked up a wrapped bundle of paper being sold for a buck. On the back page was a full page ad for Tiffany& Co.. No brainer! Upon opening the bundle I found the Tiffany ad was a singe page which I regrettably gave away before scanning. The rest of the bundle contained several building supply and farmers catalogs from the '30s and '40s.