If you are old enough, or if you have grandparents of a certain age, you learned the word nostalgia early on, and Joe Franklin (the self-proclaimed King of Nostalgia) curated it in the form of magazine articles, newspaper columns, radio and television shows, and even a small museum.
Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, as Yogi Berra is often attributed as saying (he didn’t, but that’s another story).
Social media and Internet culture have brought a completely new dimension to nostalgia and these days one of its bigger proponents are: TBT and a series of websites to share memories and reminisces.
TBT or Throwback Thursday gives everyone the opportunity to share usually images from years before – which document childhood, earlier relationships, school days…
But nostalgia is a larger trending movement with more than a handful of websites that allow demographic groups to share their thoughts, memories, stories about usually artifacts from their past. The concept is that generally it involves things that are not seen as often (or at all) in these modern times…
On these websites, you’ll find galleries of toys, fashions, tools, and even music. There is even an app that prompts you to share memories – perfect for the romantics or the liars trying to pass as romantics, as the case may be.
Memories date you, and with these websites, you find like-minds or at least souls who’ve been where you’ve been.
We’ve all seen the images on social media and, I rarely participate but do read the comments for interesting stories.
Today, a friend posted this photo:
My mind was immediately transported and I became this girl:
My grandmother and I were with my godmother and her husband. We’d stopped at a small store in Santurce (the metropolitan area in Puerto Rico). On the floor, leaning into a display, was a sole corn popper. It was the perfect size, just my size. It was shiny and pretty and I touched it. Its wheels accelerated its movement, the “kernels” popped and jumped in the dome, and it made popping noises!
I was shocked and exhilarated and I stepped back for a second. The adults had walked ahead. I touched it again, tested it in place, and took off to hear it pop. I may have squealed.
My grandmother turned, saw me pawing the toy and warned me to put it down. Ordinarily, I did as she said. But this thing was awesome. Did she not understand that when the kernels popped, you felt the vibration up your arm, and it echoed in your head, and if you pushed it, you could build speed!!!
She came after me to take the toy away and I did the only reasonable thing a toddler could do. I ran for it! I giggled and squealed and ran in and out of aisles, my little legs trying to catch up to the accelerating dome ahead of me. I thought we were playing. Until she caught up with me and threatened my tiny life.
She wanted me to apologize to the shop owner, who took me in his arms, looked into my amber eyes and took pity on me.
He turned to my grandmother, flirted a little with her (assuring his shock that she could not possibly be old enough to have a grandchild), and said, “Ay, señora, let her keep it. That toy is the display one, it’s all scratched up. I was never going to sell it. And nobody is ever going to enjoy it more than she will.”
He begged, I gave her puppy eyes, until she acquiesced.
That Fisher-Price Corn Popper was one of my favorite toys ever. Yes. I remember it. I remember it well.