Saturday, December 7, 2013

Life Lessons Month of December: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

 Hi Ellie!

The other day I went rooting through every room of this house in search of your 0 to 12 month age appropriate toys.  Poppy and I wanted to bring them out for Will to play with when he is ready.  But for the life of me, I was having a difficult time finding their hiding place.  At one point I ended up in the small storage room in back of the garage.  It was there that I found two very old large brown barrels that we had brought to State College from Philadelphia 25 years ago.  Curious as to what was in them, I immediately forgot what I had originally set out in search for and instead got a screwdriver and pried the lids off of the barrels.  To my surprise one of them was loaded with oodles of your Poppy’s old baseball shirts, a hanging tiffany lamp, a few toddler holiday outfits that belonged to your Mommy and Uncle Ryan, and an ankle length coat.  (Whatever was I thinking when I packed that barrel?)  Anyway believe it or not it was the ankle length coat that caught my attention!  Ellie, it was plum purple, filled with lots of goose feathers and enough seams to make me look like the Michelin Tire Man!   As I stood there in awe (and a bit stinky because those ‘stuffed quackers’ had been sitting idle for over 2 dozen years), it was at that moment that I knew what my blog was going to be about!  Ready?

Life Lessoned Learned #40:  There is something wonderful to say about nostalgia.

El, first let me explain the meaning of nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.  With that being said, ‘nostalgia’ was all around me this past week.  The ‘coat’ was just the beginning.  As I held my breath in 30-second increments (remember I said the coat smelled), I couldn’t help but go in search of a mirror.  And upon finding one, it wasn’t the Fruit of the Loom Grape man that kind-of stared back at me (that came later), but rather an image from 30 years ago when your Aunt Phyllis and I would spend an early December day at a huge and extremely fun outdoor flea-market called Englishtown.  I wore that purple coat to keep warm as we trudged up and down aisle after aisle in chilly weather looking for great bargains in what would become Christmas gifts for family and friends.  Now I know I only had that coat on for a few minutes, but it seemed a lot longer as I reminisced.  And for whatever reason, unbeknownst to even me, I took that coat to the dry-cleaner in hopes of it becoming clean and fresh.  Will I eventually wear it?  You’ll know the answer to that question if a picture of it shows up in a future blog!  Anyway, on to more nostalgia.  On Friday as I decorated our Christmas tree I came across a few special handmade ornaments given to me by your Mommy and Uncle Ryan.  The first one I picked up was a royal blue tin heart with x’s and o’s etched into it along with To Mom From Ryan.  I believe he was in second grade when he created that one-of-a-kind masterpiece that this very Mom fell in love with.  The next original creation came from your Mommy.  It was a 4 inch baked plaster candy-cane painted red and white with a K. R. on its backside.  In another bin I found 2 small plastic Christmas trees obviously colored by small hands with crayons.  On the front of each tree were a picture of your mom at age 7 ½ and your Uncle Ryan at age 5.  As I stared at those precious photos, they took me back to the days when Wheeler Street was our life.  It was a wonderful time Ellie where everyone watched out for each other.  It was a street like no other… always filled with excitement, stories and laughter.  Ahhhhh… those were the days.  There was another nostalgic moment on Wednesday Thanksgiving Eve.  You helped your Mommy make your Great-Grandmom Bubbles’ stuffing recipe that she had been making for the past 60 years.  You know El, every time I bite into a spoonful of that delicious dressing; it brings back happy memories of so many Thanksgivings gone by.   

Oooooo… I just remembered another nostalgic moment.  On Saturday morning Poppy asked me if I would like to go to the State Theater, and of course I said yes.  He wanted to take you, but you had a prior commitment with your family.  The theater was showing an hour of Looney Toon cartoons for free.  We watched Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and the Roadrunner all of which I think were made in the 1940’s.  Ellie they were hilarious and corny.  I think I most enjoyed the Roadrunner because that was my Dad’s favorite cartoon.  It brought back memories from when I was a child.  Faithfully every Saturday morning when we awoke, my dad would be watching the TV in his recliner and laughing as the scheming coyote with his bag of Acme equipment could never catch nor outsmart the crafty roadrunner!   Remembering my dad during a nostalgic moment sometimes brings tears El.  And yes, they are tears with a bit of sadness because I would love to still have him here.  You see my dad was a gentle soul and when he laughed even his eyes smiled.  But those tears are also tears of gratefulness for at least I have some wonderful memories of him.  You know Ellie, if I really took the time; I think I could walk from room to room in this house and pick up something nostalgic in each one.  I know there are oodles of nostalgia in the photo albums downstairs, and I’m sure I can find some utensils in the kitchen drawers that hold a family memory too.  And a guaranteed place to find something nostalgic would certainly be the closet.   But what you need to remember is this; it is not so much the item itself that is important; it is what memory the item brings with it.  And it is because of those memories, the ones with great sentimental value, that make us want to create new ones for those we love (maybe yours and possibly Will’s nostalgic moments Ellie will come many years from now when you pick up an old faded Disguised Turkey from a new tradition that we started at your home this very Thanksgiving!).

So Ellie, I guess the lesson I have learned this week is that we all need nostalgia in our lives.    And when a nostalgic moment comes upon us, we should give thanks for those memories past and take great care in shaping future memories for those who come after us.

I love you Merry-little-one!



  1. Mickey I love your story. It is true we all have lots of special memories from the past byt you writing them down for future generations is just priceless. You have such a gift writing stories I am glad you share them with others.

  2. LOVE this, Mickey, it brought tears to my eyes. Nostalgia is brought forward by the good memories we make now.