Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia’

I’m not really sure what tone this post should take.  It could be sad or happy.  The best word would be bittersweet, I guess.

The times they are a-changing, and with those time we too must change, make adjustments, and relinquish physical objects that hold many memories.

It was a big day at my parents’ house, Husby and I were there to give support and provide assistance.  I could say it was the day the music died, but it’s more accurate to say it was the day the piano found a new home.

The piano cost $400 when it was purchased new.  I have no idea what year that was.  It was owned by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the nuns who taught school and gave the children of St. Mary’s school piano lessons inside the convent.  Oh that convent!  That’s another story though.  The sisters eventually passed it on/sold it to my mom’s aunt and uncle.  I have no idea how long they had it, but at some point, almost five decades ago the piano was given to my parents and found a place in my childhood home.

It’s an old piano and a very big one at that – a Stark upright grand.  The room in which it was housed was dubbed “the piano room.”  My mom played that piano for pleasure for many years and taught me and my sister how to play until we got so good we needed instructions from other people.  Oh the countless scales I practiced, and moved from reading music for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to the works of Chopin, Bartok, Bach and many other great composers.

Alas, the time came when the piano room must once again become a bedroom, which it was before the piano arrived so many, many years ago.  In order for it to become a bedroom again, the piano had to go.  Away.  Out of the house.


Skinny hallway

Donated to Keys for Kids, easier than selling and given to a wonderful charity, the piano left my childhood home.  The moving guys were fabulous and did the job without a nick to the walls or dirt to the carpet, and in record time.

Piano movers amaze me.  I know they do it every day, but still.  One of the guys moving the piano injured his back on the last job – he got to carry the bench out to the truck.  But he also got to be the spotter/reinforcement as the piano was wheeled down the ramp.

I had a little chat with one of the mover guys, telling him I learned to play on that piano.  He told me a couple of stories about the pianos he’s moved.  One was of an old woman who’s husband played, and when he died she donated the piano to Keys for Kids.  She cried the whole time they moved that piano out of her house.  It was as if the last remnant of her husband left her house with the piano.  My heart nearly broke.  The mover guy said they see lots of cases like this, and I feel like they’re compassionate and gentle when they move these pieces of history and personal attachment.

Away goes the piano of my youth.  I wasn’t overly emotional about it as I have two pianos in own my house.  The thing is, I haven’t played in years.  I was damn good at the keyboard, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t bring more music to my house and to my life.

The digital. A college graduation gift from my entire family, which saved my sanity and brought me joy in hard times. Plus, it has a plug for headphones for practicing!


The big one. Similar to the one donated by my parents. This one was given to me by a friend who gave it to me for the cost of moving it from her house to mine. It’s not been tuned since I received it nearly twenty years ago. Who cares? It’s a lovely piece of furniture and sounds really old-timey.

This event, my witnessing and support of the removal of the piano of my childhood, has inspired me to take to the keyboard again while I’m able.  Music is divinity, and I think my parents would be happy and proud to see me play again.  After all, it was their piano that introduced me to the glory of music.

P.S. to Mom and Dad ~  After my time with you during the piano removal I saw a black squirrel run across my back yard.  Seemed to be a sign.  Diggy says make that room into a bedroom again.  It’s right and good.



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A Reflection

…and to all a good night.


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It is a silent night for me tonight. The day was spent by attending my great Aunt Margie’s funeral. She was buried on the same date as her brother, my grandpa, who died a few years ago. Seems people in that family like to spend Christmas together. According to someone in the family Aunt Margie said she was ready to go onto the next realm. I hope she’s happy, dancing with her husband and spending the season with the many members of her family who entered that realm before her.

A Distant Memory by The Crooked Camera

When I returned home from the funeral I spend a half hour gathering my thoughts and went on to make preparations for the annual Christmas Cheer party I have for my family. I did some cooking and baking and preparation for the most festive entertainment event I have every year. I’m preparing new recipes and also some tried and true ones, the libations are stocked, and the old victrola is ready to play some of the old 78s that were listened to by generations before me. Christmas is a time of nostalgia, a time to remember Christmases past and to romanticize Christmases before our time.

The house still smells of the buns I baked this evening and I wish they were the buns my grandma used to make. Mine were made from store-bought frozen dough, thawed and baked. Delicious, but not the same as those made from scratch by Grandma Mabel. Some day I’ll make them as well as she did; I have the old recipe complete with instructions out of her head rather than precise measurements and sure-fire techniques. Oh, to have the time to perfect her wonderful buns.

I find myself remembering Christmases of my past on this silent night. Christmas Eve on Jackson Street with the great aunts and uncles on my dad’s side. Christmas mornings at Tug Lake with a roaring fire and presents galore. Grandpa Mike looking out his picture window, telling his grandchildren Santa’s sleigh had been sighted by the weather men at the local TV news station. Grandma Harriet with her glorious Christmas Day meal. Yes, Christmas is all about nostalgia for me. And every year I build upon the nostalgia of future years.

Via Google Images

Great Aunt Margie had a lot of Christmases under her belt. Ninety-five of them. Sharp as a tack until the day she died I wonder what she would think about at Christmas time. Did she reminisce about Christmases she spent as a child on her parents’ farm? Did she miss the years gone by, or did she embrace the holidays as they came?

On this silent night I think about the generations past and the generations to come. I also think about right now. That in a few hours my family will gather at my house for food, drink, and merriment. As we celebrate the season and ourselves we’ll also be creating memories. These are the memories I want when I’m ninety-six years old like my Great Aunt Margie.

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Nostalgia. Sometimes I think I’d rather live in the past instead of now, but then I think of Norma Desmond on Sunset Boulevard and how living in the past isn’t such a good idea after all.

I can’t help feeling nostalgic when I hear music from my past. I was sitting at the table working on my bottle cap magnets and Husby sat down at the computer and started playing around on YouTube. He was finding all sorts of songs from the ’70s and ’80s and playing them for me while I worked. After a few of his favorites he started taking requests. Out of the recesses of my mind came a tune and I blurted out, “Stephen Bishop, On And On.” I forgot all about that song until that moment; funny what feeling nostalgic makes you remember.

Now the song is stuck in my head. That’s not a bad thing because 1) I loved the song when it first came out and 2) now that it’s unburied I love it again. Do you remember On And On? If so, here’s your blast from the past.

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Do you remember Tiger Beat magazine?  I never bought a copy but would look at it when I was buying candy at Reed’s Drug Store.  Tiger Beat was (and still is from what I understand) all about teen idols, music, and fashion aimed primarily teenage girls.  Back in my day the popular heart throbs on the cover of Tiger Beat were Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, and Donny Osmond.  Which one of those was your favorite?

I was more of a John Denver fan myself, but nothing beat the coolness of the David Cassidy and The Partridge Family.  Remember that show?  I didn’t really think Keith Partridge was that dreamy, but I though Laurie was just about the coolest with her long straight hair.  Of course Shirley was the best mom in the whole world, always knowing what to do.  And when they were performing she always dressed like Austin Powers.

Why oh why couldn’t my family be that groovy and travel around in a painted school bus to sing at Holiday Inns around the country?  Well, a young girl dreams. 

Now that I’m not so young The Partridge Family adorns my wine glasses once in a while.  A set of Partridge Family drink charms are available in my Etsy shop for you too!  If you really want to go all out, pair them up with a set of The Brady Bunch charms and you’ll have the most far-out party ever!

Come on!  They’re all so sappy they’re cool!  These charms are a retro gift any child of the ’70s would love.  See you at the shop!

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The year was 1970.  I was in 4th grade.  What little nine-year-old girl doesn’t need a BFF?  I was shy, so I couldn’t presume to think the likes of Barbie V. and Mary Claire N., the populars, would call me one of their own.  I was scared of Julie K. and Joni B. ~ they were kind of tough and floozie-like.  I zeroed in on Patty V. and Terry W.  One day I walked up to them on the playground and asked if I could spend some time with them.

Patty V.:  Do you like the carpenters?

Me with a very confused face: Well, yeah?

Patty V.:  OK, you can be our friend.

I grew up in a house that listened to WCCO (The Good Neighbor To The North and all talk) and 1010 Polka Radio.  I knew nothing of popular music.   It was weeks before I figured out the carpenters had nothing to do with men who build things.  When I deduced The Carpenters were a “singing group” I decided to ask for one of their records for Christmas.  Then I was a real fan.  I had to be if I wanted to hang around with Patty and Terry.

For a couple of years I was the biggest Carpenters fan there was, because I thought it made me cool.  Give me a break, it was the ’70s and I was a total nerd.

Fast forward to the year 2012.  Husby and I got a new car, now known as the Space Pod.  With our new car came three free trial months of Serius radio.  I was tooling along listening to the ’70s channel when to my great surprise I heard The Carpenters.  The problem is, through the many decades since I was in 4th grade I decided I didn’t like The Carpenters anymore.  What’s worse, I don’t think I ever did!

Oh sure, I floated back to the playground of St. Mary’s of the Lake school and remembered making new friends by confirming my acceptance of carpenters, but not The Carpenters.  It made me laugh a little.  Except this dang song has been in my head for three days now.  I decided to share it with you, because if you listen, you can be my friend.

Actually I thought if I put this story and song out to cyberspace it would also get out of my head.  Check back with me in a couple of days to see if it worked.  Please don’t hate me for doing this and possibly dooming you to days of sha-la-la-la-la in your brain.

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If there’s one thing that inspires me it’s nostalgia.  I usually romanticize the past, thinking how marvelous it would have been to live in those times.  OK, so I don’t know if I could ever live without some of today’s conveniences, but there is definitely a comfort in “the good old days,” even if those days were before my time.

I’m so glad I found the Etsy shop of one of my fellow HandmadeMN members; it takes me back to those good old days in the form of textiles.  Gingham Life caught my attention and my admiration.  I’m completely in love with the aprons!  (Click on the pictures – they’re direct links to your purchasing pleasure!)

Handmade Smocked Apron, 1960s Pattern and Vintage Gingham

How much do I love the smocking?  Much!  And smocking paired with gingham has got to be the cutest thing there is.  Such fanciness for such a useful accessory!  Gingham Life is contributing to the rebirth of American-made aprons and clothes and uses vintage and repurposed textiles.

Floating Hostess Hand-Smocked Half Apron, Vintage Gingham and Hankie

This next apron is cute enough to be a dress!  (Except don’t do it because the back is completely open and you’d embarrass yourself terribly in front of your guests.)  How wonderful, the pink and brown, the buttons and pockets ~ I think it’s just adorable.

Handmade Apron, 1960s “Country Calico” A-Line Pattern, OOAK, Vintage Fabric

Not only does Gingham Life offer aprons, there are vintage linens and patterns, clothes, and other accessories made from repurposed fabrics.

The things at Gingham Life make me feel nostalgic, and even inspire me to do the vacuuming in one of these great aprons and high-heeled shoes, just like June Cleaver would.

This article will soon be published on the HandmadeMN blog, a blog I’m sure you will enjoy. Not only do they publish my Featured Shop articles, there are lots of giveaways and interesting articles presented by many Minnesota artisans like me.

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