Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2013

This is my second Weekly Photo Challenge entry.  I hope you enjoy it.  I got some nice compliments on my first entry – Companionable.  It was great fun meeting new people here in the blogosphere.  Be sure to click on this link to see all the entries for this week’s challenge – WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

So, nostalgic.  Well, you are singing my song!  I love traipsing down Memory Lane.  But first, let’s see what the definition is, shall we?

a. 1. Of or pertaining to nostalgia; affected with nostalgia.

n. 1. (Med.) Homesickness; esp., a severe and sometimes fatal form of melancholia, due to homesickness.

Yikes!  “affected”  “fatal”  “melancholia”???

I know I am wont to travel the nostalgic highway from time to time, even suffering from a bit of homesickness and longing for the ‘good ol’ days.’   But “fatal?”   No, I don’t think so.  Okay, that definition came from the 1913 Webster dictionary, so perhaps the times were different; or at least the definition was.

This week, I want to share some family pictures.  That should be nostalgic enough, right?  But, how about some pictures that were long lost… then found.

After Mom died, we found seven old rolls of film.  It took a lot of searching to find someone to develop them, but I finally did.  I stumbled upon Gene’s name in a forum as I searched for anyone who could develop old (not sure yet how old) film.  I emailed him and within minutes I got a response:  “Yes. I can develop your film.”  With waves of relief and joy washing through me, I proceeded to make arrangements to ship off the film to Gene.  (Gene develops old film he finds in cameras or that people like me send to him.  Take a look at his work here:  Found Film)

The next weeks proved to be some of the most incredibly nostalgic moments I have ever experienced.  Not knowing how old those rolls of film were, and not knowing at all what was on the film OR if they could even be developed, had me nervous, anxious, scared, and hopeful.

What happened was a journey.  When Gene emailed me with “here’s the first roll,” I was scared.  What if it didn’t work?  What if those rolls of film were too old to process?  Then I thought about how silly that sounded.  After all, they were missing all these years, so if there was nothing there, we didn’t lose anything, right?

Wrong.  The idea of what was possible – seeing images from our childhood that had never been seen before – was thrilling.

I opened that email, clicked on the link, and saw the first image… and cried.  I cried because I was happy to see the images were saved.  I cried because I realized my Mom took those pictures and never saw them.  I cried because I missed those times.

If being nostalgic means being “affected with nostalgia,” then that’s me.  These images were validation.  I was looking at my memories in black and white.  My memories were out of my head and in front of me.  There were images of things I remember but had not seen.  I experienced those moments, but couldn’t assimilate them somehow… until now.  I vaguely remember being in a ballet recital, but then actually saw myself in the tutu my Mom sewed for me and my sister.  I remember the Christmas tree and school program, but now I have a picture of the tree and my brother in his shepherd costume.  I remember my first day of school, but didn’t remember what I was wearing or how I looked.  Now I have a picture to show me.  I remember those big birthday cakes that Mom worked so hard on.  And there it was.

This film was over 50 years old.  The memories have faded, but those pictures brought it all into focus again.  I hope you enjoy my little nostalgic indulgence.

Mom always made fancy birthday cakes.  This is me with my angel food cake.  It's almost as big as I am!

Mom always made fancy birthday cakes. This is me with my angel food cake. It’s almost as big as I am!

A child's Christmas wonderland.  I think now of how much work that was for my parents, and how much joy it must have brought them.

A child’s Christmas wonderland. I think now of how much work that was for my parents, and how much joy it must have brought them.

Birthdays and holidays were wonderfully festive in our house.  Even with 11 kids, my Mom and Dad did their best to celebrate each and every occasion.  We were at the center of their lives.  As I look through the pictures from the ‘found film,’ I noticed (and Gene noticed, too) how all the pictures were of us – the kids.  There wasn’t one photo (unfortunately) of Mom or Dad.  You can catch a glimpse of my Mom’s arm serving birthday cake, or Dad’s arm on the table, but that’s it.  The focus was on us.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures from my years growing up.  Feeling nostalgic can sometimes glorify the past and not present the past in a real light.  Of course, like most people, I didn’t get to live a life filled with nothing but huge birthday cakes and wonderful Christmases.  But, that’s okay.  We all have good times and bad.  But, as I like to remind myself; “You get to keep the good stuff.”  These nostalgic memories are a way to honor the good my parents provided us.

I think that’s what the word “nostalgic” should be about – honoring our past.

p.s.  Don’t forget to click on and read more from the Weekly Photo Challenge right here:  Nostalgic

300-3d-MemoryLanep.p.s.  Being nostalgic often gets me thinking about my Mom’s kitchen.  Because food and memories are so intermingled in my mind, I decided to put my collection of old time recipes together in an ebook – Memory Lane Meals.  This is my way of honoring my Mom and the hours and hours and hours spent in the kitchen surrounded by food and hungry kids.  I hope you’ll take a look.


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10 Responses to
“Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic”

  • Lisa Winkler says: July 6th, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Always great to read about your childhood, Patti. Thanks for sharing.
    Lisa Winkler recently posted..SCOTUS & I Am Harvey Milk: Perfect TimingMy Profile

  • Patti says: July 6th, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Thank you, Lisa, for stopping by and reading. I found the definition of ‘nostalgic’ interesting. I don’t typically feel as maudlin as Mr. Webster would suggest when I’m waxing nostalgic. Sometimes a bit wistful, slightly sad, but mostly warm and fuzzy.

    I also want to take this opportunity to thank you again, Lisa, for including me in your collection of ‘slice of life’ stories – Tangerine Tango – and invite my readers to click on and take a look. I appreciate your support!

  • Ute says: July 6th, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Oh Patti, another wonderful post! You stimulate me to join the weekly photo challenge. I read a few posts and all are presented by fabulous writers.
    What I like so much about your ‘nostalgia’ story is how you draw us into your world, in this case into a slice of your childhood and family life, and how you were pulled back into memory lane through the photos. I felt like being there with you. How you honor your parents, though I can imagine that life with 11 children was not always that rosy, lets all of us who may not have the best memories step back and reflect once more from a mature and wiser perspective.
    That’s what our role is if we want to be a member of the wiser older generation.

  • Patti says: July 8th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you so much, Ute, for your kind words, and for once again taking the time to read, reflect, and comment. I appreciate you so much!

    Oh yes, there were so many good things to remember, but I am not by any means ignoring the things that weren’t good. Life with 11 kids was not easy for my parents – or us.

    There was a time in my life when I was dwelling on the bad stuff. After some great counseling and soul searching, I came up with a mantra all my own; “You get to keep the good stuff.” Those good memories, such as I shared here, are real; just as real as the memories that are not so good. For many years in which depression and self destructive behavior took its toll, I didn’t realize you could have both – good and bad. Now I repeat my mantra over and over to myself – “you get to keep the good stuff” – and it works. I find it (surprisingly) more therapeutic to write about the good times, perhaps because I had times in my life where I felt it was all bad.

    Stepping back and looking at life through a more mature (and hopefully wiser!) perspective allows me to talk about the good, albeit crazy, upbringing I had. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time talking about the bad stuff and wouldn’t allow myself to accept the good stuff. Now I can accept both. I knew I reached this point when I could finally finish the very commonly said statement, “my parents did the best they could do” with the honest ending, “which wasn’t always very good.”

    Thank you again, Ute, for your kind words and for spending time with me here.

  • OSS says: July 8th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    …. and I find it a bit frightening to realize that someday (if they haven’t already) my own children may or certainly will be saying “my parents did the best they could do”. Ouch, it hurts to even type it but that’s reality, isn’t it? I so enjoyed your post, as always Pa’Ann. You do your parents proud.

  • Patti says: July 8th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    awwww… my dear OSS, you make me blush. I hope my parents would be proud to know that I understand that I get to keep the good stuff, too. Sure, it’s tough to think of my own children/grandchildren writing that I did the best I could, which wasn’t so good sometimes. Ouch. Ditto. The only consolation is that their children/grandchildren will probably do the same some day, too. It is what it is, right? Thanks my darling one!

  • Hollie says: July 12th, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    We love photo challenges and for me well I love anything that brings back so many memories. Great to get to know you a bit better!
    Hollie recently posted..BlowMeCool Offers a Blogger’s Affiliate ProgramMy Profile

  • Patti says: July 12th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you for stopping by, Hollie. I look forward to getting to know you better, too. I’m going to wander over to your blog right now… 😉

  • Lyle @ The Joy of Simple says: July 18th, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Wow Patti, what a beautiful gift to have found those almost forgotten moments from your past. And while it is sad that you are not able to reminisce about each photo with your mom, you can offer those memories to your children and grand-children. How cool is that! 🙂

    Thanks for posting the photos you did and I gotta say, that’s a delicious looking cake!

    Take care and all the best.


  • Patti says: July 18th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you, Lyle. It was an emotional moment to see those pictures for the first time. Nicole and I have sat together with the pics up on her big screen TV and scrolled around them, looking for all sorts of little details, so many I had forgotten. It’s been a real blessing, with lots of tears and belly laughs, too. I think I’ll need to blog about that soon… 😉

    Thank you again for taking the time to read and comment. It means a lot to me.

    Oh, yes, Mom did make really fancy cakes (angel food with 7 minute frosting) for us. I remember those angel food cakes turned upside down on top of brandy bottles… but that’s a story for another day. ha!

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