Story Weekend: Nostalgia

I recently had to clean out my closets in preparation for installing hardwood floors, and I came across a box of old slides. I sent them to an online company for digitizing. Wow, what a bunch of memories they brought back! Some painfully sad (people I’ve lost), some hysterically funny (my younger brother was a ham), some wistful  (I had a slender, healthy body I didn’t appreciate at all back then), and most just fun to see after many years. Nostalgia is such a complicated emotion, isn’t it? How does it come into play in your life? (That’s me, my mom, and me beloved grandmom at my sister’s wedding, by the way).

If  you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.

Have fun!


  1. Christina Wible on September 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I’m not very nostalgic for my youth. It was all very complicated and lonesome. And while I wish Plainfield was what it was, I have moved on. What I have not moved on from is the Oxfordian setting in NYC where I did my master’s degree several years ago. In the heart of Chelsea there was a park and trees and 19th century brick townhouses. I’ve spent 12 years now yearning to go back but, of course, you can’t go home again. (Take a look at a few of the images here: and you’ll know why I play the lottery.)

  2. Christina Wible on September 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Sorry, somehow the link (which does work) looks awful!

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      I shortened it, Christina, and I can understand why your heart is there!

  3. Jodi Addis on September 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Interesting because I just finished reading Brass Ring, this minute, and found a similarity in the unreal life created by my parents. To this day I don’t remember what happened, for example, to my dogs through the years. At times, I remember saying but that’s not what really happened! But no one wanted to hear what I was saying. I always thought I had a wonderful childhood but realized at some point that I was ill prepared for reality. Nothing like abuse but an unreality that has taken me awhile to figure out.

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Sounds like your parents were a bit like mine–overprotective. I can understand wanting to protect our kids from the hard things in life, but then they have no skills to deal with reality. Glad you turned out ok?

  4. Gigi Ann on September 8, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Some nostalgic memories that came to mind was my first trip to New York City, back when I was around 12 years old, (60 years ago.) My aunt and uncle visited our family for about a week each summer. One visit they decided to take my mother and I with them to visit New York City. It was the first time this little country girl ever saw high rise buildings. How exciting I was I was awestruck looking up at all those buildings. It was also the first time I ever stayed at a motel. The motels were little cabins with a bed and a little porch. We all set out on the porch and visited until bedtime. Loved those few days with the family, way back then.

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      there’s nothing like seeing skyscrapers for the first time!

  5. Sheree Gillcrist on September 9, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I am nostalgic for the time when I was ‘the Protected’ and not ‘the Protector ‘. A time when a nickel burning it’s hole in my pocket while I placed my sticky fingers on the window of a penny candy shop could only mean true joy. A time when I was protected from the pain of long goodbye’s and sharing the suffering of friends and family and humanity. A time when I clipped my bangs( that I was forever growing out) back with a butterfly clip the colour of pink bubblegum and didn’t give a thought to being judged. A time when loss was about Everything except losing people that I love. My childhood was far from perfect but my parents did everything in their power to protect me from the pain of living and the lessons that it teaches. They knew that I would learn all of that in the turning of my seasons and I have.

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      oh, yeah. beautiful, sheree.

  6. Martha O'Quinn on September 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Nostalgia, for me, is contained in the maroon photo album with black pages, tied together with a gold cord and “Photographs” scripted in gold on the cover. Each black and white photo is secured with four black corner pieces. My mother’s photo album periodically allows a special time for nostalgia. Then I put it away and focus on the blessings encountered since that time. Thinking back, knowing what I know today, would have changed my life completely. That’s impossible so I focus on my life’s experiences, as they are, and the good seems to always out number the bad (or the “could have been made better”).

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      It’s amazing what a stroll through memory lane can do to put things in perspective.

  7. Cindy on September 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Funny that this was the theme for our Story Weekend. We were at my son’s last night and my daughter inlaw pulled out a huge stack of photo albums. You may think that this would be years and years by the stacks of albums…in reality, Wendy has only been part of this family since 2000. She married my son and gave me 5 beautiful grandchildren. Lucky for me, She is our family historian. She has so many first caught on film. She has memorialized each important moment in our lives for the past 12 years. So last night was a great night of nostalgia. She had recorded not only her immediate family, but that of my other 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren. We revisited the birth of each grandchild.
    There first day of schools, Christmas’s, Birthdays We also watched as we got bigger and smaller and bigger and smaller. I am still in my last smaller stage…which is good. Seriously though, nostalgia can hit you at any time. When you are walking down an unfamiliar street and something you see or hear or smell and suddenly realize a moment of nostalgia. Or at Christmas when you are decorating the tree and all the ornaments represent a moment in your life..sometimes happy, sometimes sad..and sometimes we don’t even know what or where the feeling comes from. And that is Nostalgia…And once again.. I write way too many words.

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      What a treasure your daughter-in-law is!

  8. Cindy on September 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    By the way Diane, what a beautiful Mom and Grandma you had. Your Grandmother’s hair reminds me of my Ma. She always wanted Red hair and so as long as I can remember, she was buying hair dye and coloring her hair. She has been just about every shade of red. And what a beautiful dress you have on. I hope you got to wear it and the hat many times over.

  9. Diane Chamberlain on September 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Cindy, it was a bridesmaid’s dress, so it never saw the light of day again. lol. My grandmother dyed her hair red nearly until her death at 95. I like that I’ve become more of a redhead, too. I can’t go to the bright red extreme that she did. She owns that color!

    • Cindy on September 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      I figured that about the dress…but as bridesmaid’s dresses go… I think at least the Hat was fashionable.

  10. Kathy N. on September 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Diane,
    I just found you out!!! Where have I been? I am on my fourth Diane book and looking forward to all the remaining ones. It should keep me busy for a long time. I am currently in Nostalgia mode. My younger sister finally copied all my parent’s photo albums for me and I have been reminising my childhood memories with my brother. My parents are both gone at 12 and 3 years ago. I just completed a Frendh Memory Board to hold the many black and white photos that I have printed and will treasure always.

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      Kathy, I’m happy you found me! And good for your younger sister for getting those pictures together. There seems to be one historian in every family…if your lucky. Enjoy your new memory board.

  11. Heather C on September 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I used to be invincible; a dreamer, believer, optimist unhindered. My young self could do anything I imagined. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become cautious, more hesitant, more thoughtful. The woman who is afraid to fly is the girl who went skydiving for fun; who said “watch me” when told it was impossible. I look back with nostalgia and hope internally to find that brave girl again; to grow into an old woman that will turn heads and leave the world thinking “Wow, look at her go!” Looking back helps me to look forward. My younger self has much to teach me.

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      I love this, Heather. Good food for thought!

  12. Margaret on September 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I seldom write with a pencil any more, so when I smell one freshly-sharpened, I’m immediately transported back to grade school and Blue Horse notebooks!

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      oh yes, Margaret!

  13. Nancy on September 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    My retirement a few weeks ago after 40+ years of working is bittersweet. I love this time in my life and embrace this new journey, but it has also made me reflect on times gone by. I remember when getting up to go to work was second nature to me. I loved the hustle and bustle of the work day and the challenges it brought. I look back with fondness on all of the many people I have met throughout my work years. I may not remember all of their names, but I remember their faces, and the impact they had on my life. Now that part of my life is over. That young girl going off to her first job with hopes and dreams of the future was a lifetime ago. I wonder…. Where has the time gone?

    • Diane Chamberlain on September 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      It does fly, doesn’t it? what wonderful memories you have though. I hope you’re embarking on a wonderful new adventure.

  14. Lisa on September 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Nostalgia hits me every time I see a beach scene, or smell suntan lotion, or hear ocean waves. I spent my childhood summers at Folly Beach, S.C. My aunt and uncle owned a beach house on the very front row. I use to walk the beach carrying my transister radio and dreaming of that one true love to come along. Thats the beauty of nostalgia. You can day dream and look back at the good memories and your senses are aroused. Even today I can smell that salty air and remember the sound of the ocean as I napped on the front porch. So relaxing. I so miss those summer days.

  15. Diane Chamberlain on September 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Lisa, that sounds so wonderful! By the way, have you read Karen White’s FOLLY BEACH? I think you’d love it.

  16. Lisa on September 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Yes I have. I love books with a beachy back drop. I have read most of Karen White’s book as well as yours. Keep em comin.

  17. Steph Walford on September 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    My tribute to nostalgia has a name. Anna. When Christmas came round the little girl knew not b be excited. Living in war-torn Poland,under Communist rule, little children were told to expect, and receive, nothing. But that morning was diferent. Wrapped in shabby papey the fire-place was a little wooden doll. She had a rather quixxical expression on her face, blue eyes, and perfectly plaited blond hair. She stood less than 8 incles tall, but her legs and arms moved, and she was wearing beautful clothes, crafted by nimble fingers in the gloom of wintry evenings. Anna was loved and admired, but felt she had a special place of importance in the heart of the girl who chatted to her before school and then regaled her with tales of the day as she prepared for bed. Anna was kept safe from small brothers, and guarded somewhat jealously by the now growing child, That child is now preparing to downsize, and after a family has grown up there’s a lot of ‘clutter’. Anna had by now ‘escaped’ Poland as her family sought a new and safer life in Chicago. Sorting through, sorting out, thrift stores, recycling, what do we keep for the grandchildren….? The nostalgia benefitted me because I found Anna on Ebay. She’ll soon recover from her jet-lag to join a family of about 60 other Polish Dolls. And me? It’s been one Paypal transaction too far for my husband, so I have to reign in my bidding.

  18. Steph Walford on September 14, 2012 at 6:33 am

    note to self……use spellckecker after consuming a large glass of Vintage red!

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