Nostalgia - The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form. The word is a Greek compound consisting of words meaning "returning home" and "ache" or "pain". It was described as a medical condition in the Early Modern Period.
I've been dealing with this nostalgia feeling for, well, 20 years I suppose. Recently, though, it's gotten worse. As my children grow and I feel less and less connected to the place where I grew up I find myself remembering things I'd long thought I'd forgotten. I suppose a lot of it has to do with Facebook. As crazy as it sounds, Facebook has catapulted me back to my Catholic school years and my time spent growing up in Illinois. We go back to my hometown on a fairly regular basis, my father and grandmother still live there as well as my husband's children.
On a recent visit, I made it a special point to visit with two of my oldest and dearest friends from my early years. They have remained close friends with each other over the past 20 years. One of my friends even married a guy I introduced her to several years ago. Reconnecting seemed easy, like no time had even passed. We spent several hours over a two day span laughing, telling stories and remembering our innocence from that time in our life. Several names were mentioned that I had forgotten, but I seemed to be the one with all the stories still locked up in my head. We're already counting down the days until our next visit in May. As much as I'd hoped that we could pick up right where we left off and be best of friends again, I know our lives our different and our closeness is something of the past. Luckily, no amount of time or space will ever separate me from the memories of those dear friends. Each day I find a new one lurking around the corner of my mind...and I smile when I recall the fun times we had.
I made it a point to stop into one local establishment that has held a close place in my heart for over 20 years. Downtown is a little soda/chocolate shop that's been in business for over 100 years. Lagomarcino's. Just the name brings the taste of chocolate to my mouth. Our visit was the weekend prior to Easter, so I convinced my husband to take us to the chocolate shop to buy Easter bunnies for the kids. SOLID Easter bunnies!
Once you squeeze past all the delicious candy you find a few rows of old, wooden booths to sit and enjoy your ice cream or lunch in. The moment I saw the row of benches I was reminded of the time my mom took me for lunch here. My jr. high was right down the street and one day our parents were allowed to pick us up and take us out for lunch. My mom brought me here. We both ordered grilled cheese sandwiches. It's a memory that I will never forget. My mom passed away a year or so later. I asked the cashier if they still made grilled cheese sandwiches. She said yes with a huge smile on her face. Next time we're in town I'll be taking Hannah for grilled cheese sandwiches.
Rows and rows and rows of lovely candy filled the glass cases along the entrance of the store. I had forgotten how small the entry way was. When I asked if they minded if I take pictures the lady said, "Nope, lots of people come in just to take pictures." I managed to sneak in between the many patrons crammed into the tiny entrance and snap a few photos of the yummy goodness!
I think every fixture in the store is original or close to original. Nothing had changed from what I could tell. Before we left I closed my eyes and tried to imagine me and my mom sitting in our own booth, me with my Catholic school girl skirt and sweater, her in one of her pairs of navy slacks and plaid shirts. I wish I could remember our conversation that day, but sadly I do not. I cannot wait to take my own daughter back and make some memories of our own.