Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House on the Prairie books to preserve the stories of her childhood for a younger generation of children and to help them to understand how much America had changed during her lifetime. I’m working on compiling a list of things that I remember from my childhood that make me feel old. (“What’s a VCR, grandpa?”) What makes you feel old? Here’s a list of defunct sports teams I remember to get this thread started:
- Montreal Expos
- St. Louis Cardinals (the football team)
- Miami Redskins
- Quebec Nordiques (what the h is a Nordique?)
- A crapload of men’s college teams (thanks, Title 9)
- Ohio Glory
- Tidewater Tides
- Washington Bullets (the murder rate in D.C. has dipped significantly since the name change)
- Capital Fighting Lutherans (I don’t really remember that name, but it did exist
As with most things on the Internet, Flickr can be very fun, provided that you have a fast enough connection and stay out of the seedier nooks and crannies. Randomly browsing strangers’ photos may sound creepy, but we’re all a little creepy. And besides, that’s why they’re available. If people didn’t want us looking at pictures of their travels, birthdays, and family reunions, they wouldn’t put them online, or they would at least have a 14-year old teach them basic access control.
I’m not starting a new thread to encourage your voyeuristic tendencies though, but to house links to interesting pictures found on photo-sharing sites (although I suppose this could also become a catch-all for all discovered images in general).
To get you started, try searching Flickr for your birth year. My search turned up this beauty shown here.
Anyway, go ahead and let yourself randomly flip through strangers’ online photo albums, tinker with searches, and post any interesting finds here.
And also, if any of you have legitimate albums of your own (on Flickr or elsewhere), feel free to share those too.
I grew up in a small town. Actually out in between two small towns, but you get the point. Now this may only be applicable to those of you from smaller towns, and not so much to you city cats, but why do so many people look to “escape” their hometown? There seems to be a popular belief that if you wind up staying in your hometown you’ve somehow failed. I remember a senior category from the school yearbook, “most likely to hang around town” — or specifically “on the bridge,” since back in the day folks used to hang out on the bridge over the canal, down by the traffic light. It just seemed like for most of us the expectation was to go off to college and not come back.
I’m reminded of the song Someday, which Shawn Colvin covered:
By Steve Earle
There ain’t a lot that you can do in this town
Drive down to the lake and then you turn back around
Go to school and you learn to read and write
So you can walk into the county bank and sign away your life
I work at the fillin’ station on the interstate
Pumpin’ gasoline and countin’ out-of-state plates
They ask me how far into Memphis girl, and where’s the nearest beer
They don’t even know that there’s a town around here
Someday I’m finally gonna let go
I know there’s a better way
I wanna know what’s over that rainbow
I’m gonna get out of here someday
Now my brother went to college cause he plays football
Me I never even got through high school at all
But I got me a ‘67 Chevy, she’s low and sleek and black
Someday I’ll put her on that interstate and never look back
So why is escaping your hometown considered progress and staying to help maintain the community that raised you considered stagnant? I do realize that we can’t all stick around or it’s not exactly going to be a small town for long. But I hear other people speak of their hometowns with disdain and relief to be off to better things, and I just can’t help but wonder why so many feel this way.
So we’re into our final week before Christmas. There’s probably a lot of shopping yet for some of us, cooking, entertaining, traveling, and certainly eating. We have a couple Christmasy threads on the site, for Christmas movies/cartoons/specials, Christmas carols, and just general Christmas humbuggery. But this here shall be the official Christmas catch-all for years to come, or at least until my site breaks completely and laziness prevents its resurrection.
Some things that I don’t think have been brought up elsewhere:
Favourite Christmas memories (or worst, I suppose)
The typical Christmas gauntlet for you and yours
Preferred holiday foodstuffs
The glorification of obesity through Santa Claus imagery
Thoughts on decorations/using mistletoe to snare love interests
The effects of unregulated toy factories on the polar ice cap
Advances in caribou nasal oncology
These subjects should be discussed in great detail, as well as any other related topics you can think of. Holiday well-wishing and general online merrymaking is encouraged here, and of course links to anything humorous that in some small way can be connected to Christmas.
A teacher and friend to many on this site — and many, many more elsewhere — has passed away, and I’d like to take a minute here to salute him.
Marlowe Brainard, Millersport’s long-time band director, died this morning after a long battle with ALS. He was a good guy and a part of many great memories for me and my friends. He taught me a lot about music and was always willing and eager to be much more than just a teacher to us kids, and I’m very thankful for that. I feel very fortunate for having had so many awesome teachers at Millersport, and Marlowe was certainly one of the best.
I’d like to point out a few things in particular about Mar, El Hombre, The Chancellor, etc. Actually, the monikers here make a nice segue. One thing I of all people have to note is Mr. Brainard’s patience. He was always such a good sport, which if you’re familiar with me and my cronies of the day you know says a lot. He was always one of our favourites, and that affection manifested itself in some bizarre ways. We gave the man way too many nicknames, spent way too much time jotting down, compiling, and organizing his quotes, and just generally let our good-natured fun get out of control on a regular basis. Looking back as adults we know now that he was much more savvy than we assumed, and that he let us get away with murder. He was a catalyst for so many great times, and he was always willing to be a direct or indirect part of that. I know I wouldn’t begin to have the patience to put up with a group like us, nor the balance to ride the line of friend and authority as he did for so many kids. It’s one of those things you appreciate after the fact, when you’re mature enough to look back and understand.
We’ve had a couple good, large family fun days this summer. I thought about just posting about those events in particular, or mentioning them in the Summer of George thread, but then I thought we could stand to have a generic thread for tales of family gatherings and whatnot. So I’ll go ahead and spell out the characteristics and merits of family fun time for you, and then if you ever have anything applicable you can throw it in here.
First off, family fun time involves family. These are the people who couldn’t get away from you if they tried; they’ve resigned to this and accept it as best they can. Your ties go back as far as you can remember, encompassing all holidays, major accomplishments, and memorable televised sporting events. Their voices sound more natural on your ear than your own. Most of these people remember vividly how much of a brat you were when you were younger, and have the right to remind you of this. Siblings and cousins revisit childhood disagreements and rekindle age-old rivalries purely out of instinct. This is all part of the beauty of family and it will never change. Nor should it.
I’m not much of a reader. Well, I like to read, I enjoy reading… I have an English degree… but I’m still not much of a reader. Maybe that just means that I’m not good at it.
I think my problem is that I’m a slow reader. I read and re-read things; I’m afraid I’m going to miss something. This is much more of an issue if I really respect the author. If I appreciate the writer’s style, their wording, their thought process, I’m afraid I’ll miss something. I’m the same way with music. If I’m listening to an artist, producer, or player I’m particularly impressed with, I’ll listen (and re-listen) very, very closely to make sure I don’t miss anything. And so when I’m reading — even when it’s just whoever — I generally take a long time to get through it.
But enough about the details of my own reading process. I wanted to start a general thread about reading, books, authors, magazines, columns, comic books, etc. Anything you enjoy reading. For a site with a lot of text, we don’t talk about reading much…
And speaking of the Bookmobile… I have fond memories of our local Bookmobile. I don’t know if we were genuinely excited about reading, if it was some infatuation with a specialty vehicle, or if we just wanted to get out of school for a while, but we loved seeing that book-toting bus pull into port (pun?).
And on a related note, the Simpson’s idea of a Book-Burning Mobile is hilarious on a couple levels. Obviously the thought of a van/bus that drives around collecting racy books to burn is funny, but the idea of a flaming, gas-powered vehicle full of old paper is really amusing.
So there you have it. A half-hearted effort to get some book talk started. Actually I just had a couple comments to post but no place to put them…
When you’re young — like, high school, middle school — it’s quite hard to see beyond the present. Well, I suppose that’s always a little difficult, but the older you get the more you can see from experience that you can (and do) grow out of some problems, and what seems so important at the time will often look trivial in the rear-view. But as a teenager, it’s particularly hard to see outside of that adolescent bubble, no matter how many people tell you that life really begins when you get just a little bit older.
There’s a Lyle Lovett line that sums it up nicely, I think. His lyrics can be rather complex, but in this case he seems to realize that simplicity is sometimes the best vehicle:
I went to high school and I was not popular
Now I am older and it don’t matter
I think the same would be true whether you were popular or unpopular. It’s a different world, and ultimately I don’t think there’s any direct correlation between school and the real world. Some folks were wildly popular in high school and not so much now. Others were wallflowers when they were younger and are now surrounded by people as adults.
Are you familiar with the smell of cedar? What does it make you think of? Sweaters from a closet? Cigars? The hold of a ship? King Solomon’s temple? My yard? It makes me think of toys.
Growing up, we had an old cedar chest that served as our toy box. This poor thing got beat up as we hastily threw our toys back in, so eventually it wasn’t much to look at, but it always had a bit of that cedar smell, which clung to our toys slightly. Plus all we had were the old fashioned wooden toys, so there was a lot of that smell anyway. But I wish I still had my chest full of toys.
So I guess I was just lamenting over the toys I don’t have anymore, and wondered what toys you all had in your cedar chests growing up, which ones you still have, and also what you have to say about the toys that are out there today. Some of you have kids so you get to play with toys all the time. The rest of us have to draw the blinds and lock the door before we’re allowed to set up our command base and launch attacks against the forces of evil from Couch-Cushion Castle.