Guy Lombardo, Canadian-American band leader from the 1930s on, wrote "Seems Like Old Times." It was a love song of its time--1946--when love affairs ended and all people were left with were memories.
This post is not about a sad ending to a love affair. It's about wonderful remembrances that come around when I experience certain iconic phenomena. Such as:
A 1955 Ford 4-door hardtop convertible
[The pictures I searched don't do it justice. Hardly any of them were 4-door and only one or two had the hardtop convertible feature; and those had only 2 doors. ]
This was my second car--the first was a '49 Ford that served me well for a couple of years before my dad got the itch to trade it in for this classic beauty. Mine was gold and black. Had dual carburetors and rattled windows all the way down 6th Street in my hometown.
This picture reminds me a lot of the one in my hometown, where I spent a lot of time from age 8, when I was allowed to receive a library card and take out two books at a time. During the summer, I walked to the library, checked out my two books, read one on the way home, and read the other one that night. Next day, back to the library. (Clearly, this is the beginning of my addiction to the written word--still reading in the 50-book challenge.)
Nowadays, I can take out an unlimited number of books--oddly, I almost never check out more than three at a time. I want to read them all before I return them.
Carpenters working on houses
Any time I see a house being built, I think of my dad. He began building houses shortly before I was born, and continued as a builder until his death forty-some years later. In the early days, he did everything--dug the foundation, put in plumbing and electricity, installed a furnace, finished the house inside and outside. The only thing I know he never did was plaster the inside walls.
For many years, we never lived in a finished house because Dad built the house to a near-finished state and sold it, using the money he got to start another new house. In that way he was a practical man, as well as a creative one.
Fresh-baked apple pie
My mother learned to make pie crust from her mother, my Grandma Jenkins. I don't recall that they used lattice, but this picture looked so delicious, I knew it was the best illustration for one of the juiciest memories I had growing up.
Mom never used green apples--Granny Smith hadn't invented them yet, apparently. Just thinking about Mom's pies makes my mouth water.
These icons trigger strong happy memories for me . . . but they don't make me wish I still lived in the old times. For instance, I don't want to give up my car (going on 18 years old)--I'd miss power steering, power brakes, a/c and reliable heater, the magic of defrosting windows (front and back) at the touch of a finger on a button. Creature comforts have their appeal.
My childhood library had steps (similar to those in the picture)--nowadays I can still do steps, but I appreciate a hand rail. The library I patronize has a long L-shaped ramp, plus shallower steps (with handrails). There's even a button to push when I don't feel up to pulling open the heavy doors.
I do wish--if I could go back to old times, and if it were possible to have a do-over--I do wish my father had made a better end to his life--he died resigned to die; and to my knowledge never accepted death. I found that sad, especially as he and my stepmother had found a church home 20 years before his passing.
My mother's end-of-life experience was spent in a hospital for six months (this was in the 1950s, when that was possible). I saw her every day . . . she was lucid, interested in life (mine, the nurses', friends' and family's), and she sneaked a cigarette if she had a visitor. She could still laugh and smile, even as she lay dying. What a legacy to live into!
Memories make "old times" come alive for a few moments, or hours. They're where I visit, but never live. Memories show me how far I've come, how much I've learned; they make me smile at the young, naive girl I was, or shake my head in wonder at near misses.
No regrets here. Just memories of times long gone. Celebrate your memories. They're who you are, and why you are.