In Greek, nostalgia literally means, a pain from an old wound. In someways, this blog has been about nostalgia. Even those topics of current inspiration draw life from the past. You never escape where you came from or who you were. We change, we grow but somehow the past is always with us beckoning us to remember.
I think the pain we feel as we recall the past is cause not by the wound by knowing we can't go back. We see visions of the past and we want to go back. We want to go back not because we made some horrible mistake and need a do-over. Rather we want to go back to experience the joy, the wonderment, the excitement, or any of the myriad of human emotions that can explode at anytime. While a small substitute for time travel back to that moment, a memory can cause us to relive such joy and sometimes such pain.
I've shared a lot of my painful past with you; the first marriage, the death of a granddaughter, molestation, the marginalized woman on welfare , the young woman staring out a window - so many snapshots of pain. You journeyed with me as my mother was laid to rest on a dreary cold winter morning. I've shared the pain of the present as well.
I have been cut off from my past for many year.. My past was cut off by many moves - to various places in Missouri, to North Carolina, to Connecticut, to Tennessee, to South Dakota - each place, I've left a piece of myself. Each place resulted in some loss and some gain. It's hard to be cut off from your past. it's hard because no one can echo as I share my memories. For me, the distance from the little girl in Brooklyn skipping, jumping, and bouncing her spauldeen, is very long. When I speak of her, it is like an old picture found at a thrift store - you wonder who they are, but you have no connection.
This morning I felt the joyful pain of walking to Sunset Park pool with my panties wrapped in a towel clutching my nickles. My husband listened patiently as I counted the number of blocks I walked and how I dug for the long blue ice in a freezer paying for it with my last nickle. I'd snip the top and hope that the long tube of sweet goodness would last as the sweltering pavement undid the coolness of the pool. When I got home, my tongue and mouth would be blue. He could only smile. He could not provide the echo of adding to the story. He could not talk of sitting on a stoop later in the evening as the sunset playing tag, hide and go seek, mother may I, statutes, or listening for the jingle of the Good Humor truck or the the melody of Mr. Softee.
I often feel that my memories seem unreal. I know they are true but no one shares them with me. No one else was there - no one can answer back and say yes, and do you remember this? My memories had no echo. Of late, I've seen pictures of me at Sunday School picnics, ice skating at Prospect Park, getting ready to sing a special at church - oh how precious to see me at these places again.
|I'm in the second row, the fifth from the left sitting next to the leader in the middle. |
Somehow, I managed to be the only girl whose face is partially covered.
I have echoes on Facebook. A mixture of people with the same memories of egg creams, black & whites, good pizza, and who understand me when I speak of my childhood. They can echo and I can echo, and together we form a symphony of nostalgia.
Yes, nostalgia brings pain, but it also brings joy.