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M*A*S*H in Old Age

A TGB READER STORY: Aaah, the Good Old Days

By Melissa Martin

I think that’s why some people like antique stores, flea markets, auctions, yard sales and eBay. Items from the past are attached to memories. We remember happy holidays along with what food was served, hairstyles and clothes of the era, television programs and music. Some hanker for the good old days.

The good old days had bad old days as well. Some memories are probably not accurate and are based on how each person remembers it.

But individual perception becomes our reality. It seems easy to remember only the good parts of the past and forget about the challenges and struggles. Just like the times we live in now, good days and bad days and in-between days. Each generation looks back on their good old days.

Some like to look back and reminisce about the good old days and others do not. “I don't do nostalgia. The phrase 'the good old days' never passes my lips,” writes Nicholas Haslam.

Maybe it’s an aging thing - the older I get the more I like to listen to and tell stories about yesteryears; the funny, cheery, and goofy memories. Stories are able to transport our mind back to another time and another place.

Philip Pullman declared, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

Aaah, the good old days. And the good old stories.

I met with my aunt and cousin for lunch recently. And of course, we got around to reminiscing about some of the humorous happenings during the good old days of childhood and beyond.

We laughed over grocery store stories. My mom and aunt piled the cousins into one vehicle and drove to town to stock up on food. The grocery carts would be crammed full of bargains.

Before being squashed into the car to go home, the moms opened a loaf of bread and slapped a slice of trail bologna on it (without condiments) and we ate lunch in the parking lot.

Then the two hurry-scurry sisters squeezed the kids in the car and packed grocery bags into the trunk and every crevice. Each kid held a bag of something with bags at their feet, over their heads and in-between each other.

“Don’t mash the bread!” yelled one mom. “Don’t you dare open that bag of cookies!” yelled the other mom.

“I don’t have enough room!” yelled one kid. “Move over!” yelled another one. And you hoped nobody passed gas, burped or picked their nose.

We rushed home before the frozen food had a chance to melt. And then the boxes, cans and cartons had to be separated. And again we heard, “Don’t mash that bread!” How many times did I hear that phrase growing up? Hundreds.

Aaah, the good old days.

My mom and aunt shopped at the secondhand shoe store in the downtown area. Pairs were different sizes - that’s why they were so cheap. The right shoe would be size 6 and the matching left shoe would be size 6 1/2 or 7. And searching through the boxes and bins of shoes was comical.

Buying shoes for a bunch of kids can be expensive. Nonetheless, our feet survived. And this story is one of my favorite narratives.

We tell stories about the times of yore with affectionate ears and eyes. And with chuckles. Any embarrassment has long since faded.

Every generation has their own hometown memories. Every family abounds with tall tales and embellished anecdotes. Homemade humor - that’s how some people made it through the good old days during the not so good times.

“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days,” writes Doug Larson.


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[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]



Comments

Sweet piece. The best thing about the good old days? We were young.

I loved this story. It is pure nostalgia that keeps me alive and trying to make it in this topsy-turvy time.

I think Marcia has it right. The reason we wax nostalgic about the good old days is that we were young. I can cite many things that were not good about the days of our youth. Dental appointments come to mind that resulted in horrible large braces or fillings done without Novocaine (I am that old).

I wouldn't go back for all the tea in China but I do agree that I miss the joys of youth when we didn't have to worry about the bills 0r other adult responsibilities.

I can just visualize the car crammed with adults and children and sacks of groceries. Very descriptive, Melissa, and a good story well written.

Good story well told. When I am honest with myself about recalling "the good old days," the good and bad were about equal. But then, 60 or 70 years later, who needs to be honest?

For me, I am a ‘positive thinker- glass half full thinker!’ My Father would cut the toe end of our shoes out for our summer growth-spurt so the shoes would last through the summer before my parents had to buy us another pair for school to start and our toes didn’t get squished. I admired my Father for this strategy- was a practical, very smart idea. My brother though still is embarrassed about how poor /cheap we were because our Dad had to lower himself to cut toes out of our shoes! Two views of same situation! My family and I do not reminisce much because of the above perspective on our childhood. I love my positive memories and I don’t want anyone telling me differently!

Good story! I think my sister is the only one interested in my good-old-days stories.

My heart and soul are firmly planted in the past. I won’t watch any movie that has an iPhone in it because, aside from the offensiveness of seeing them attached to everyone’s hand in real life, seeing them depicted unrealistically on screen as simply the tools they ought to be is irritating. Plus iPhones take all the suspense out of any hazardous situation. If a person in jeopardy can just Google a solution or find a map or call an Uber, where’s the story?

In fact, my TV is permanently set on Turner Classic Movies, and I prefer them in black and white. Anything in “technicolor” with its glaringly false colors, makes my brain bleed. Only B&W looks real to me. Every time I venture out of my B&W world into, say, an HBO movie or a Netflix series, everything I knew I would hate about them is confirmed and I scurry back to the comfort and safety of my classic movies.

I drive a 33-year old car because I have never found the slightest reason to upgrade. If I could fulfill my real preferences, I would be driving a beautifully rectangular 1935 sedan, with its easily accessed front and back seats and its blessed lack of seatbelts.

I just recently started a blog of sauce called Athol swamp speaks volumes you want something with your soda do I want something with my soda my husband a 56 he is just asks I think I got my soda right here and I want your company with the rest of my soda but I have finishing my movie what movie Christmas movie oh yeah I’ll take one any special I don’t care whatever you bring in

Yes! This. Except we didn't "mash" we "squished" or 'squashed" the bread.

Loved this story!

Especially the part about the shoes!

You painted the scene perfectly.

Keep writing, Melissa.

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