A rose-colored look at the past
I have been in a fever of writing about my childhood and this piece is splendid. I love the food references. In fact, yours reminded me very suddenly and out of the blue of my favorite: chocolate frosted devil's food donuts. O.M.G. How could I have forgotten those. Thank you for this glorious memory piece about hometown and the wonders of memory with all its holes and epiphanies.
Theresa , this is so beautifully written and crafted from your memories. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every bit of it. I relate well to this because I have written a number of similar nostalgia pieces over the past 25 years and posted them at Open Diary and Prosebox. You grasp quite well the ways in which memory anchors us to a past we want to recall and remember.
Your description was such a nice remembrance of Jed’s Mud House, the coffeehouse where you spent so much of your free time during your early 20s. The photo of the upstairs rooms with bookshelves and velvet Elvis is priceless! Such a shame the building is not there anymore.
Great description of the Jiff-E-Mart sub sandwiches which you and your dad used to enjoy together, same as with the soft-swirl ice cream cones, which were my favorite type of ice cream. I used to get them at Dairy Queen back in the 60s. It sounds like you and your dad were quite close when you were growing up. How fortunate you were to have that!
My hunch is that the celery and dip at AJ’s Pizzeria was a token veggie to help customers absolve some of the guilt they might be feeling from eating huge, slices of greasy pizza (nothing better in the world). However, the dip should have been vinaigrette or low fat blue cheese! :)
You pose an interesting question: “How much of what I do remember is actual memory, and how much is pieced together from disparate impressions?”
My partial answer to that question, which has intrigued and beguiled me all my life, is that, yes, they are actual memories of actual disparate experiences, not a collection of gauzy impressions. Over the years they may get a bit hazy and more difficult to recall, but the concrete and real essence is always there, as long as your faculties hold together.
Here are a couple of nostalgia essays I wrote about the the early businesses I remember I my neighborhood in the late 50s and a reminiscence on old-fashioned dime stores written 20 or so years ago, and more recently updated.
Traveling back to 1960
Elegy to the old -fashioned dime store:
Don't change a thing in this beautiful piece.
This reminds me of one of my favorite movie lines from the film, "An Affair to Remember." Debra Carr tells Cary Grant in one scene while discussing their own childhoods, "Winter must be so cold for those with no warm memories." This piece sings with incredibly charming and sweet warm memories that I'll bet will last a lifetime for you and your friends. This is so heartfelt and touching. :) Thank you so much for sharing!
Great job, Sam, what a wonderful memoir. As usual, your writing has stirred up memories of my own hometown (which is only 20 minutes away from where I currently live, but much has changed). Thanks for inspiring me to press life's pause button and record some of those memories, as you've done here. :)