Monday, July 25, 2011

Pure Nostalgia

In the last week a giant dose of nostalgia jumped up and punched me in the face. Hard. It started with the anticipation of my Ten Year High School reunion and it just grew from there. It's been exciting, fun, happy, and tear jerking and sad all at the same time. I am exhausted.

The Reunion
Ten years?? Holy crap. I don't feel old, at all. I don't hate the idea of being close to 30. I feel like I've done a lot in the last ten years and am more than happy with where I am in my life. But the idea of attending my reunion was... daunting. I am SO not the same person I was in high school, yet I worried I would become that person again when I was around all those people. And the old high school hang ups... yep, still there. So I did my best to just go with it, not over analyze myself nor the situation prior and just be. It was a success. We didn't have a huge turn out, which is a little sad considering we didn't have a huge class to begin with, but it was fun. Like, really fun. We laughed that if you had taken a picture and compared it to a high school party, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. To be honest, very little aging has gone on!! Wooo! For some reason, I really have no pictures. Lame. And no "I partied till 6am" kind of stories (not lame) like some people!!! I left feeling happy to have gone and seeing everyone and actually anticipating and wondering what the 20 year reunion will be like?? Still jeans and hoodies and flip flops and Beersbie and pools and fires and BeerPong (or a lame excuse of beer pong)? Will there be more "other half's" and kids?   I now  feel the need to listen to Summer Girls and sort through old photo albums.

My fourth and sixth grade Teacher
I admittedly had a favorite teacher in elementary school. She was my favorite for reasons that are important to a nine and eleven year old. Like she let me keep the tattered copy of my favorite book in grade four. A Brother for the Orphelines.


I read it not that long ago. It took half an hour. She also gave me one of those little rubber things for the end of your pencil that are supposed to make it easier to hold. I thought they were pretty much the cats ass and she let me have one. I felt like the coolest kid in class (little did I know, it probably made me the least cool, but whatever). She also used to trade me for my (in my mind) crappy (but actually really were delicious) homemade cookies for her (in my mind) SO awesome wheat crunch. My mom would never buy that stuff, so I traded for it, "trade for homemade" as we fondly referred to it as. Oh what I wouldn't give to have someone give me homemade cookies every day now. haha. Through the magic of facebook, I managed to re-connect with Mrs. Remmer seven years after seeing her at my high school graduation for the last time. We always said we should have coffee when I was home for a visit, but it just hadn't happened, so this time in my state of ohmygodtenyearshasgoneby I decided to try and get together with her. So it all worked out and my mom, Maizey and I went to her house for coffee. I told Maizey to call her Mrs. Remmer, which she scoffed at and told her Nana Bev was better. Umm, she's a teacher, we don't call teachers by their first name!! I realize now that as a student, we really don't know teachers at all. We visited for almost three hours and very little of that was about school or people we had in common, but more about funny stories like her falling off a wall in England and trying to act casual about it while her glasses were obviously broken and sat on her face at a weird angle that was noticeable and hilarious. She has become more than just my favorite teacher from grade school. She has become my friend.


The Cookbook
With the passing of anyone, comes the inevitable cleaning out and getting rid of their stuff. My mom and aunt and uncles are in the middle of this with my Grannies house. For as long as I can remember, the house looked the same -- the same pictures stayed on the same walls, the furniture rarely made any moves, the cookie tin always beside the fridge, the little blue chair sitting at the little wall between the kitchen and living room, with the picture of my brother riding a bull above it. I expected it to be different when I walked in there yesterday, but it wasn't, and I really wasn't ready for it. Maybe its different, easier in some way, for everyone that has been to the house multiple times, but for me it was a shock. She was supposed to be there.
My mom asked if there was anything I wanted or needed. I don't need anything, but there were two things that came to my mind immediately, that I would love to have if they hadn't already been spoken for. The little blue chair was one. I can vividly remember sitting on it at the coffee table in the tv room. We were probably watching 'Are You Being Served'. I can picture my little brothers sitting on it, and now I see Maizey sitting on it. It seems out of place, yet right at home since I brought it in my house last night. I have debated painting it, but I don't think I will. Not yet anyway, for now it needs to remain the reminder of great childhood memories.
Then there was the cookbook. The red and white checkered Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that I'm sure everyone's grandmas and moms own.


There isn't a person in my family that doesn't associate good cooking and delicious food with my Grannie. We all called her on a regular basis to ask for recipes or directions on something cooking or baking related. This cookbook is taped together at the spine and has pages falling out. It has a few little pieces of paper stuck in it with other recipes or directions. Some pages look worse than others, like the whole section of cakes and the section on making candy. The page that teaches you how to preserve tomatoes is splattered with what I can only assume is tomato juice. It's ragged and worn and well used. I love it. I may never make a single thing out of it, as I just looked at a buttermilk pancake recipe that called for 5 tablespoons of shortening, but that's ok. For me, it really is only about the sentiment it has. She took it off the shelf and sat at the kitchen table looking for recipes, hundreds of times. She prepared many of meals and cakes and cookies and desserts with love. I will remember that when I too, take it off the shelf and sit at the kitchen table flipping through it. Even if all I am doing is taking a minute to remember her.
I was having a hard time taking anything. I told my mom it just didn't feel right. she reminded me what Grannie would say. Don't be ridiculous, no sense this stuff just sitting here. Take it and use it, that's what it's for.
So I did. I brought a little piece of her home with me.
 And I'm happy I did.

Feeling very thankful for all the people and happiness that has shaped my life this far. It's good to remember and feel sentimental and nostalgic about it.

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