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time was (when)
there was a time when; at a time in the past. Time was when old people were taken care of at home. Time was when people didn't travel around so much.
Formerly, in the past, as in Time was, the city streets were perfectly safe at night. [Mid-1500s]
There was once a time: "Time was when [urban gangs] were part of a ... subculture that inner-city adolescence outgrew" (George F. Will).