Nostalgia

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Nostalgia has been hitting me hard lately, and not in ways you would think. Lots of people take trips down memory lane and experience happy fond memories to the point of thinking those times were better and its a shame everything has changed. But I am not so sure.

I follow Ryan Lawless on Youtube. He is a coach both for sports and life. I know him from Edmonton’s running community and have always found him wise. He now has a biweekly vlog that challenges me. His perspective is sometimes the same as mine but like me, he questions everything. His vlog about nostalgia felt like a punch in the gut. He said… well a lot of things, but what stands out for me is this “nostalgia has purpose”.

I have memories that give me a sick feeling. I want to forget but for some reason, I can’t. They play over and over unless I practice mindfulness or distract myself with something. Everyone has these memories. The kind that pops into your head until you squeeze your eyes shut and change focus. A lot of my memories circle around bullies, but a lot circle around fun vacations and holidays. The fun ones are classed as nostalgia.

nos·tal·gia
/näˈstaljə,nəˈstaljə/
noun
  1. a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Lately, people from my past have been popping up into my life flooding it with nostalgia.

  • An old friend and I went for drinks. We were in the trenches as young mothers. We helped each other through everything. We will get together more frequently now but at the time it was almost daily and I loved every minute of it.
  • A co-worker from back in the day when we felt like we were the only people who weren’t crazy. When I saw her at the farmers market, we gazed into each other’s eyes and embraced for a long time. Her hug was giving, not taking. I love those kinds of hugs. I fondly remember her because, without her, I would have been lost.
  • A friend I have known since we were three and lived in Sherwood Park. We pop in and out of each other’s lives every few years. We joked about not seeing each other until we are in the same senior’s home in the future. She was always a lovely human, kind and thoughtful.

I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking over the nostalgic moments. There is something healing in all of the memories. From overcoming bullies to remembering how good things felt. I think I agree with Ryan’s assessment of nostalgia having a purpose. While it’s fun to trip down memory lane, it is better to see how far you’ve come.

 

 

Flashback

Friday night I delivered some items to my old neighbourhood. When the woman gave me the address I became unusually excited. I dive by this neighbourhood occasionally, not frequently because I don’t have any reason to travel to Sherwood Park any longer, but every now and then it makes sense to use the facilities there. I lived out my childhood school years in Sherwood Park and while most of the time spent out there was not a happy time, there are pockets of wonderful scattered throughout. My parents provided my siblings and me great sheltered freedom to explore. I call it sheltered freedom because while it felt like we were alone and independent, they kept a watchful eye on our shenanigans.

Before my family moved to Yellowknife, we lived in a rental complex in the late 60’s/ early 70’s. This remains the best inclusive childhood memories where my imagination was rich and plentiful, the friends on the block matched my interests and there was very little influence from outside forces. I wasn’t fully aware of much other than things that focused on me. I was 2-5 years old.

This was the place where Danger Girl and I had interchangeable personalities. I was her and she was me. I wasn’t influenced by male superheroes to the point of I wanted to be them. I wanted to be my own superhero so I created her. She wore a cape and could fly. I would climb to the top of this shed that used to be 7 feet high. Now the same shed stands at 5 feet. Clearly, it shrunk over time.

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I remember my brother wanting to climb up with me, but I would never help him. My friend Tanya (who was also a Danger Girl) Sat on the roof with me while we waited for the help call to rescue citizens in peril. Once the call came, we flew off towards the woods. DEEP in the forest, we would rescue the Ghost family and their daughter Lucy. Lucy was my invisible pal (only seen by me) until I moved to Yellowknife. She didn’t move with me but stayed in Sherwood Park, close to her sister.

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I remember driving into Edmonton for Dairy Queen night in our pajamas and watching Bugs Bunny and eating Kraft Mac and Cheese while my parents got ready to go out. We had a closet on the stair landing that was filled with toys, but mostly I played with crayons, puzzles, Fischer Price Little people and my cape.

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My room was the top right window, my brother’s was in the centre. It was simple and in my mind idyllic. Often I take myself back to that time when my friend Tanya lived across from me and my other friend Tammy live down the way. We learned to ride bikes, skip and build forts. On rainy days we would listen to records and build inside forts.

When I had my kids I wanted the same childhood for them. They played outside all the time with neighbour kids and were covered in mud. They still laugh with their childhood friends when they see them. I recently reconnected with Tammy who lived down the block. An incredible gift because the old memories resurfaced. Old memories remembered while my family is making new ones. The perfect Family day experience. *Disclaimer* I remember in vivid colour but the photos are edited because it was dark as pitch – so everything looks sepia just like old-timey photos should.

Happy Family Day from mine to yours.

 

It’s Smash Up Time Again!

Two days before Christmas! I am I have someone wrapping gifts, finished the baking, made my dish for Boxing Day, and I had time to read some blogs! I took a stroll down to Australia to visit my friend The Oracle, he was talking about other stuff to blog about when he brought up favorite Toys. That made me think about the Toys in my Brother’s Closet.

As a kid, we were never showered with gifts during the year. Come Christmas morning we were SPOILED ROTTEN! If it was on the list, my mom did her very best to find it for us. I got a brand new box of crayons every year, usually a new colouring book, new jammies and something fabulous from the Sears Wishbook.

I had great things, like Fischer Price Little People homes, my Baby Tender-Love who I fondly named Baby Tender Loin,everything Barbie and a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine. However, the most favorite toy of all was not even mine. Was it the Six Million Dollar Man with the bionic arm and eye? Nope, that was awesome and my brother never let me hold it, never mind play with it. Then there was his Light Sabre, it GLOWED IN THE DARK! There was only one, and no, I never got to touch it. Then there was all the Star Wars Action Figures, I was only allowed to be stupid Leia with the cinnamon buns on her head. No the Best Toy he ever owned had two parts, he needed me. I was the red and he was the blue. No it wasn’t those Rock’em Sock’em Robots, it was Smash Up Derby!

Awesome isn’t it?

We would sit in the long hallway downstairs next to our rooms. Set the ramps up in the middle and cheer when the cars hit each other, which was seldom. It took FOREVER to put the cars back together. I loved it when he asked if I wanted to play. Being the best blackmailer in all the world, my Brother would say “I will let you play if you set up and clean up or no deal” So I looked in the mirror and saw the word “chump” on my forehead and always agreed. I loved that toy and I would do anything to play with it.

As I think about the gifts my offspring will open Christmas Morning, none hold the same excitement as Smash Up Derby. Well, at least not for me. I have a feeling they will be thrilled with their gifts. Just like every kid who opens up a gift on Christmas morning.