Tag Archives: nostalgia

Glimpses of yesteryear

Many of us become nostalgic from time to time, especially as we grow older or face uncertain periods of life. High school and even college may seem like a distant memory to many of us, but it can be interesting to flip through a yearbook or photo album and remember the person you once were.

I have no desire to return to those days, but when Ancestry.com sent an email saying it had made available more yearbooks in their collection, I was curious to see if I could find my mother’s yearbook. While I have all of my mother’s school photos because she painstakingly took good care of them, I don’t have her yearbooks.

Mom school

Unfortunately, there were no yearbooks available for her years, but there was one available for 1950, just before she would have been in high school. I flipped through the yearbook in its entirety, as it was a fascinating snapshot to a different place and time. I recognized the names of some of the teachers, as my mom had told me stories about them over the years. I got to see photos of the school building itself, and places inside the school, such as the cafeteria.

It was interesting to read about the different groups that were popular in school back then, such as Future Homemakers of America and Future Farmers of America. For many students of that time period, education would end with high school, as they would soon marry, have children and the husband would work while the wife cared for the family at home. How much the world would change in a 20-year span.

I wondered about some of those kids, the valedictorian and the ones picked most popular, most athletic and most courteous. What became of their lives? What became of their dreams and aspirations?

My mother’s life did not evolve in such a typical fashion. She left her hometown, became a working woman, then went into the Navy, and didn’t marry and have a child until her mid-thirties.

Mom never made it to a class reunion, but for the most part, I think she would have been proud of the woman she became and what she accomplished.

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Trying to grab the elusive prize

I was browsing through some popular smartphone apps and saw one that was a prize claw game. I remember those enticing, frustrating machines from my childhood.

Normally, I would hit my parents up for a nickel or quarter and choose something from those toy and candy dispensing machines that are in the front of stores. Most times I would get a brightly-colored gumball that I could barely fit in my mouth. Sometimes I would get sour candy of some sort, which would come out in a rush from the dispenser, and would often go spilling over my tiny hands. I also collected dozens of tiny toys stuffed in plastic capsules from those vending machines. I always had the bad luck of getting something I already had.

The claw machine that I remember was located in a restaurant geared towards kids. It was a destination spot for birthday parties. I remember my parents and I going to get ice cream one hot summer afternoon. As we were leaving, the claw machine captured my attention. A little boy watched eagerly as his dad worked the claw and magically grabbed a stuffed animal. He squealed with delight and ran off to show his mom what hero Dad had captured.

I had doubts Dad could recreate that magic. Dad was not mechanically minded, and as it turns out, neither am I. As an adult, I would never attempt to work one of those claw machines, as I know I would just embarrass myself. Even though I was filled with doubt, I begged Dad to drop a quarter and win me something. He obliged, but was completely confused about the controls and how to work them. He managed to move the claw an inch and grab some air. Game over.

So much of our lives are spent going after the prize, but it’s the effort and the reason why we try at all that should be celebrated.

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