good old days, the

the good old days

A past period of better times. Often used to describe a time that one believes was better, simpler, or more wholesome than the current period. Ah, those were the good old days. Did you know I was captain of the football team back then? Were the good old days really that good? I think your memory is a bit rosier than reality.
See also: days, good, old
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

good old days

back in an earlier time which everyone remembers as a better time, even if it really wasn't. Back in the good old days, during World War I, they used real cactus needles in record players. The good old days didn't start until they had indoor bathrooms.
See also: days, good, old
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

the good old days

COMMON People use the good old days to talk about a time in the past when they think life was better. Brad's dead, and sitting around talking about the good old days isn't going to bring him back. In the good old days, the studios were able to look after stars when there wasn't much work.
See also: days, good, old
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

good old days, the

The past viewed with nostalgia. “Last year was always better,” recorded Erasmus in his Adagia (quoting Diogenianus, from his Adagia of ca. a.d. 125). The human propensity to view the past as superior to the present has often been pointed out by philosophers since ancient times, and the validity of this view has just as often been called into question. Consequently, the current cliché is often used ironically or sarcastically. Its counterpart, dating from about 1930, is the bad old days, signifying a less sentimental view of the past.
See also: good, old
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Jury chair Jim Marshall said, "For more than 10 years, I've headed the NEPF journalism awards committee, and while I look back fondly on the good old days, the current crop of newsletter reporters and editors are doing a far superior job to what we did 10, 20 and 25 years ago.