I heard this thought on television today. They said that nostalgia is things with people you love, know, have known and the relationships you have or had in the past.
If you think about this, it makes sense that our lives are colored by these meetings of the mind that we have experienced with family,
friends and even strangers. Sometimes, we feel that we are cheating the world
of an important part of our self. By that I mean, we may excel in something and
yet we do not let others know we are excellent in this thing. I remember a
lovely lady in my class way back in 1968 at the community college I was
attending part time to get a college degree. She stood up and told the theater
class I was taking that when she was growing up, she had a role in a movie and
that she for a while was what was considered a child actress. She told us her
name then and most of us older folks (in our late thirties and early forties)
remembered that name.
We were enthralled with her stories of her movie days when she lived in California and appeared in about a dozen movies. Some were small parts;
others were kind of large parts. She brought in a movie reel and a projector
and screen and one day, we all watched her from when she was about eight or
nine. If she had not told us about this, we would have been cheated of this
fine and unusual experience. We and the professor urged her to take up some
local part time acting and since she had loved this so much at age eight; she
might really enjoy it now in later life.
He asked us all what we had done that would have been memorable way back then. Everyone was quite modest because we thought we could
not have anything as grand as this lady had back then. He kept urging us and he
gave us one Tuesday afternoon an assignment for the next week. We were to dig
back in our memories for some nostalgic moments and he wanted to hear about
them, even if we thought them so minor, we would not want to talk about them.
The final week, the older ladies and I were the only ones who really had these stories to share; since the young teens really did not
have much like that to talk about, except one teen who said he was an
outstanding football player in high school. He brought in his football
clothing, his helmet, his shoes and photos of some exciting games he
participated in. It was fun to see him speak about the love he had for the team
and the coach and it gave him a thirty minute talk to show us his talent. It
made him feel great and we ladies loved it. It showed him, that he was
important, still, even though he was away from it now and was in college. He
had no desire to play college football and there was none available at this
Another older lady brought in photos of when she was young and she was a wedding photographer and she even won first place in a photo
competition. It was fun to see the old fashioned camera she used in those days
and she really did a great job with it and she brought in her ribbon for the
photo she took. She said after telling us all about it, she might try some
professional work now that her kids were in school.
I brought in my writings and poetry that I wrote when I was twelve for the public library newsletter. I made a framed collage of some of
them and the class was impressed. The main thing we all received from all of
this nostalgia was that we were looking back to the past and reliving it in the
present. We showed ourselves, that we had accomplished important things and
though they were from a long time ago; they were still a valued part of our
The professor was very clever in making us do this for a project and the teens and the older folks all showed that they had excelled then and we could do it now again at that current age. I was about thirty-four, the teens were about nineteen and the in between students were in their late forties. Collectively, we were not
seniors like I am now, but even then, we were encouraged and inspired to go
forth and make as the professor said “some more nostalgia happen again.” He
said “we were no longer cheating the world of important parts of our life and
how we contributed in our ways, the good for the community and mostly for our
I called it a battle of our spirit and we once again were showing our spirit.
Now it is forty-four years later and I am doing the same thing and I urge you all who read these columns to try it too. I look back on my dance competition days when I competed with my teachers/coaches and I went into dance competitions for the purpose of showing how I excelled in ballroom dancing and how I had progressed. Though those days have been over since about 2002 when I appeared in my last dance exhibition before a crowded dance studio program; I still kvell (be proud) of what I endured to get that far and to win fifty-eight medals and trophies. I have them displayed all over my home and this is my reward for doing well in that hobby that I took up in 1977. There are many pictures in frames of my dancing and when I Iook at them, I see a younger me, who is having a wonderful time and having great experiences.
Now I write my stories and they appear on the walls of my home office in frames, on my kitchen shelves, in my son’s former room which is my home office and they are my testimonials to myself of those long ago days and to the present moments too.
When my children would win an award in school, get a good mark on something they wrote or got certificates for one thing or another; I bought inexpensive frames and I framed them and hung them on their room’s walls when they were young. My son had the lead roles in many school plays and the photos of those plays adorned the walls too then.
Now I have my grandchildren’s drawings they did for us framed and hanging on those same walls and also their photos. There is an expression that says “if these walls could talk, how much they would say.” They surely would have a lot
So do not cheat anyone of knowing about your achievements. When my son was Tom in Tom Sawyer when he was in the sixth grade, I took the suspenders he wore in the show, a program of the play and about six pictures we took of him and had a frame store design a frame and the placement of the items in a huge frame. The owner of the framing store displayed it in her store for a week before I picked up the final piece; she told me she got lots of inquiries and a few orders from people who were going to display items in a frame and it would turn out to be a marvelous tribute to the event. It was my idea to do it and when I took the pieces to her, I thought she might laugh at me. Instead, she marveled at my idea. It hung for years on my family room walls. I did this with other items from shows he was in, all the way through high school. I had a gallery of frames, which held these dear items from some very wonderful times.
If you have objects that you love and are lying in the drawer, get a framer to put them in a frame or do it yourself and you will have a piece of art that is very distinctive and that means the world to you.
As the saying goes, do not cheat the world or yourself of a very important part of your life. The nostalgia it brings to you is worth the work and money you will expend. That is why my home takes so long to dust every week, because it is full of frames, shelves and photos of these marvelous moments of the past and present too. An interior designer was written up in a decorating magazine and she showed her walls filled with items from her young children to dozens of photos of the work she did in other people’s homes. She said “your home is your life away from the outside world, enjoy it and fill your walls with mementos of it.” They use to say that the actor Warren Beatty had a very expensive home and he only had bare walls in every room. He did not like clutter on his walls and so his home was
all stark and plain. It was not a very attractive place to visit.
If you love your past nostalgic items, then do not have a clutter free home; just fill the walls, shelves and tables with wonderful remembrances of bygone times and you will have a heart filled with extreme happiness, which is an important part of you. Your heart will have the memories of bygone times, beating with delight and the joy of you, a talented and dear person.