Monday, June 16, 2014

blast of nostalgia

I was invited to meet with a book club who'd read Kicks Like a GirlUtterly charming group of women!  They came with loads of questions and said the sweetest things about my writing.  I didn't want to leave the table.  Like, ever.  I could have basked in their kind words all day long.  Obviously the Cronies Book Club is one of excellent taste in literature, intelligent and thoughtful.  They invited me to join them for next month's discussion, which I'd love to do, but alas!  The boys and I are signed up for a mud run that same day making it impossible. 

The book club took place in the town where I attended high school.  My family has all since migrated to other places, and it's always a blast of nostalgia when I drive by that town since I'm an infrequent visitor.  The restaurant where the book club met used to be a diner, a real dive called Katie's.  I actually use the old diner as a setting in a book I'm currently writing--the redone restaurant is a slick cafe with espresso and vegan entrees, the hip kitchen staff sports piercings and facial hair and tattoos.  Katie's employees wore hair nets, orthopedic shoes and polyester back in the day--in an unironic kind of way.

On my way out after the meeting, the woman I'd sat next to started talking about her daughter and it turned out her daughter and I went to high school together.  Small world!  As it happens, that same next book club/mud run date in July coincides with a high school reunion (back in the same town) that I also won't attend.  It was a nice connection, though.

I don't often think of high school, current events keep me busy enough.  But then I heard Casey Kasem died over the weekend and it brought me back to the years when I'd sit by the radio and listen to the Top 40 countdown.  Remember recording hit songs on cassette tapes from the radio?  Remember how he'd read those letters during each program, about how a song would give some woman comfort while her husband was in Iraq or a young girl fought leukemia while listening to "Eye of the Tiger?"  The sound of his voice always propels me back to middle school especially--my retainer tight against the roof of my mouth, my boom box plugged into the wall beside my book shelf filled to the brim with Judy Blume, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables and those Sweet Valley High books.  Back then summer vacation meant my ten-speed, a library card, a swimming pass at the local pool and lots of neighbor kids to mess around with.

The sound of Casey Kasem's voice still takes me back there--and so do certain songs.  Over the weekend Mr. G played in a baseball tournament (took 2nd place) and a wedding reception was in full swing in the same park after his final game.  They had a rockin' band and the baseball parents enjoyed singing along to favorite old hits by bands like Eddie and the Cruisers and REO Speedwagon from our spot by the bleachers. 

Makes me wonder what songs will take my kids back to childhood someday in the future.  What will they remember?  Cleats and dust?  Swimming and playing in the creek?  Certainly not cassette tapes!

Spill it, reader.  What sparks nostalgia for you?


15 comments:

  1. I like your post about nostalgia, and cool you spoke at the book club. That is sad how Casey Kasem died, his wife was doing awful things toward the end. Ah, fireflies from my Wisconsin childhood. My one speed Schwinn bike, the raft we girls built in a hidden river bend. When the raft sank with us on it and we found out the river was only three feet deep, thank goodness!

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  2. At this point? Almost everything. But I think I would really get choked up to see a rotary phone.

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  3. I feel nostalgic for childhood (elementary age) any time I visit my parents in Ann Arbor --they are still in the house I grew up in, and sitting on that porch takes me right back to all the time I spent with the other kids in the neighborhood, roaming around until dark all summer. I had such an ideal childhood. The actual downtown and campus area (UofM) of Ann Arbor makes me nostalgic for college days --my bike and feet took me everywhere I needed to go.

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  4. Amigo has a knack for activating my nostalgia buttons. He listens to an online station that plays entire American Top 40 broadcasts from the past. He always tells me the date of the broadcast and asks, "Mom, what were you doing then?" And I tell him stories from my past while we listen to the long distance dedications of songs I knew way back when. RIP, Casey.

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  5. Talking to my brothers. "Remember that time when..."

    And songs. If & when I am an old lady, I will be the one shamelessly singing along to all the old hymns and songs when the Youths come to perform at my Old Folks' home.

    And photos. To write my most recent blog post I hauled out some old photos which made me nostalgic for that time 30 years ago when I knew very little about the real world and was full of naive hope.

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  6. Listening to Don Henley's song "Boys of Summer" will always make me feel wistful and sad. Ditto for the song "Drive" by The Cars.
    Driving around my old neighborhood brings wave upon wave of nostalgia. I've only gone back there for high school reunions (twice) and once so my kids could see it. If I'd had a bike with me, I would have ridden the neighborhood loop just like I did back then. Listening to The Cars hits (especially the one about "My Best Friend's Girl") brings me back to a time when my neighborhood buddy's older brother & his best friend were still alive (they died in a drowning accident in high school). Now, when I see my old friend post pictures of her son (named after her brother), I think of those times.
    Goodness, I'm feeling rather melancholy tonight.

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  7. Ooof, looking back? These very long soft summer days sure do, I wish I could box them up and save them FOREVER! Better than cherries dipped in chocolate :)

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  8. How amazing to have a favorite author come to your book club! Dang! I wish I lived near you. XO

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  9. Oh, and definitely it's music for the nostalgia sparking!

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  10. What doesn't make me nostalgic?

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  11. It's probably music every time for me, listening to Spandau Ballet on the college bus, pretty much every morning!

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  12. I married the boy I dated in high school. Every year, we take a week vacation with a friend of ours from high school and his family. Every year during that week, I get my high school boyfriend back.
    When I take long car trips, I crank up the 80s music to stay alert. All those high school dances come flooding back.
    What fun to go to a book club discussing your book! Good luck in the mud run. I was wanting to do one this year. Before the knee injury, of course.

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  13. Poor Casey. The end of his life was ignominious and the final weeks of family drama will always be a part of his story.

    I can still hear his voice in my head, even though I haven't heard it in decades. I loved his countdown and listened to it religiously all the way through middle school and high school.

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  14. How cool about the book club!
    I have never done a mud run. They always look fun though.

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  15. My suburban San Diego teen years sound much like yours. Almost identical, actually--though we did also take the bus to the beach.

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Spill it, reader.