Why does the past seem so far away? In part, because we so often see it in black and white.I think that lots of us have seen so many old pictures--taken during a time when black-and-white photography was the norm--that it's easy to forget that the world itself really was in color back then.
If you have a lot of time, go visit this collection of color photos of various places in America from 1939-1943; the pictures bring that era to life in ways that black-and-white simply can't do, so you're seeing that point in time through new eyes--through the eyes of those who were there, for that matter. (And if you have just a little time, go to the Power Line post linked above, where he's included a few of the pictures as well. But really, the big collection is worth your time if you're into such things.)
And of course, if you do like the old black-and-whites, there's no better place to go than Shorpy, perhaps the best vintage photo blog ever.