Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 46: The Memory-Making Magic of Music | Everyday Nostalgia

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I’m stage right, peeking out from behind a heavy curtain, waiting patiently for the audience members to take their seats. I do a little twirl and watch my glittery, sequined gown glisten, and when I’m finished, I reach up and smooth down my hair, preparing it for the crown that will surely be placed upon it within a matter of minutes.

Suddenly, I hear the first few notes of my entrance music: The pageant is about to begin.

* * *

Well, at least in my imagination, it is.

In reality, I’m 5 years old, it’s the mid-1980s, and I’m standing in the doorway of my wood-paneled living room, wearing OshKosh B’Gosh overalls and purple Velcro tennis shoes. My audience members are my mom and my 9-year-old brother, Kurt. While my father is there to enjoy the show as well, he’s also in charge of the audio/visual components. In front of me is my plastic orange and yellow Fisher Price shopping cart, and inside it, a wide variety of my toys. Continue reading “Week 46: The Memory-Making Magic of Music | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · family · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Week 45: I’m failing at dinner—but not as a parent | Everyday Nostalgia

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It’s 7:48 in the evening, and my daughter, Zoey, and I are almost finished with her bedtime routine.

Almost.

I close the chapter book we are currently reading, set it on her nightstand, and turn off her lamp.

Darkness fills the room, and I feel the bed shift beneath us as Zoey finds her way over to me. She lifts my arm and settles into the spot on my chest she has come to claim as her own.

“Know what time it is?” I ask.

“One of the best parts of my day,” Zoey replies. “I’ll go first.” Continue reading “Week 45: I’m failing at dinner—but not as a parent | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 44: The Magic Between the Past and the Future | Everyday Nostalgia

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I’ve been feeling awfully introspective lately, and a little bit sentimental, too.

Perhaps it’s this time of year, where we are perched precariously between seasons: in a few short weeks, the last of the leaves will fall, leaving us with the gray, barren branches of winter, the ones that always, for some inexplicable reason, make me think of my childhood.

I spent my grade school years growing up in a quintessential, suburban Colonial house in South Carolina. Aside from being adorned with pink heart wallpaper and furnished with my mom’s girlhood 1960’s Dixie White and Gold dresser and desk, my second-floor bedroom was equipped with a large window that looked out over our sprawling front yard.

In that yard, a tall, strong tree stood, one that waved us away to school in the morning and welcomed us home in the afternoon with outstretched branches mimicking a massive set of open arms. My dad helped me move my desk in front of the window so I could sit at it and look out at that tree as I read and colored and drew and wrote in my little turquoise diary with its tiny, plastic, silver lock. Continue reading “Week 44: The Magic Between the Past and the Future | Everyday Nostalgia”

Commentary · Nostalgia · Stories

Losing Nostalgia… And Finding It Again

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November 1978

Snaps and crackles emanating from the fireplace combine with clicks and pops from the album that rotates round and round on the old console record player in our living room.

It’s getting on towards Christmas.  Well, okay… really it’s just the start of November and the Christmas tree won’t even be going up until after Thanksgiving. But as a kid, November was the start of winter, and winter meant snow, and snow meant Christmas.

So, yeah, it’s getting on towards Christmas. Snowflakes are falling beyond the picture window in a silent dance to Earth, and I’m listening to the new Carpenters Christmas Album, combing through the Sears Wish Book Catalog.  I flip past the housewares and lingerie sections to get to the good stuff: train sets… slot car tracks… Tonka trucks… Star Wars figures.

This was the year Santa was going to bring me a Tyco train set—the one with a diesel engine, a couple of brown boxcars, a long passenger car, and a red caboose. It was my dream to start building a monster railroad layout, and this little set was going to be the start to fulfilling that dream. 

It was going to be magnificent. Continue reading “Losing Nostalgia… And Finding It Again”

Nostalgia · Stories

Week 43: A Dog Named Dexter | Everyday Nostalgia

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I was against the idea from the beginning.

“A dog?” I had asked. “Like a real one?”

Having never grown up with pets, the thought of owning one slightly frightened me—they just seemed like so much work. Aside from that fear, there were also all the reasons that floated around my head, the ones that told me why getting a dog would be so irresponsible: There was the house we lived in, the one that was already too small for us to begin with. There was the broken fence, the one that certainly wouldn’t be able to keep a four-legged friend contained in the yard. There was the fact that no one would be home to let it out during the day. There was the added expense of the pet deposit and food and all of the other costs associated with owning a dog.

Like I said, I was convinced this was a terrible idea.

Yet here I am, holding a three-pound puppy in my hands, staring into a set of midnight-drenched eyes that stand out so starkly against a sea of fluffy, cream-colored fur. It yawns, revealing a tiny eraser-pink tongue, and then happily begins to lick my hand. It feels like sandpaper, and it tickles. Continue reading “Week 43: A Dog Named Dexter | Everyday Nostalgia”