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Mid-Century Modern's allure: It's about sentimentality, not style

To the editor: I have puzzled over the growing popularity of the Mid-Century Modern movement. Daniel Engber's piece focuses on furniture, but the movement is about so much more than couches and lounge chairs. Beyond the Noguchi coffee tables and Breuer chairs, adherents fantasize about Eichler houses, Oldenburg prints and Natzler pottery. ("The Mid-Century Modern craze: clean-looking furniture for a dirty world," Opinion, Dec. 27)

And yes, the clean lines are important. One of the selling points for Eichler homes was that they were "dust free," meaning there were no protruding moldings to catch dust.

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But I think there is much more to this love of Mid-Century Modern than crisp lines and simple cycles in style.

I find the style's biggest lovers are from the second cohort of baby boomers, those Americans born between 1956 and 1964. In fact, the first cohort, born between 1946 and 1955, seems less drawn to Mid-Century Modern styles.

Engber hinted at this when he mentioned Rob Forbes' idea that Mid-Century Modern was "comfort food." Indeed, comfort food for those second cohort Boomers who, literally, cut their teeth on it.

For those who embrace it, Mid-Century Modern represents a comfortable time when tomorrow was "just a dream away."

Tony Huntley, Orange

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To the editor: While making good points about clean lines as well as the dichotomy of mixing retro-futurist with farmstead past, I feel the true love of Mid-Century Modern is because of sentimentality. The style harkens us back to our vision of the good old days.

I am a native Angeleno. I was a toddler in grandma's house bouncing on her Mid-Century Modern furniture, a pubescent being driven in a 1965 Ford Galaxie to drop off my stewardess grandma to catch her flights just when the iconic space-age theme building was completed at Los Angeles International Airport.

I was a young teen watching my father paint the Randy's Donut sign off the 405 Freeway and the Tower Records billboard with the latest rock artist on Sunset Boulevard, and pinstriping Steve McQueen's race cars in the alley behind our Hollywood apartment.

These visions of my past include Mid-Century Modern furniture. I believe this is the reason many of us boomers still love it.

Larry Yarchever, Oceanside

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