Tag Archives: nostalgia

I Miss Fall

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cool, crisp air, the glorious yellow, orange and red colors, and especially the tangy scent of wood smoke. I remember bobbing for apples, hunting for pumpkins to carve and decorating and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters for Halloween. I grew up in the northeast area of the U.S. and I guess it’s nostalgia that evokes these thoughts. I lived in a medium sized town, but my parents had a vacation cabin in the woods on a lake in northern New Jersey.

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Mom and Dad and I used to drive the family car up to the lake on weekends to rake leaves in October. I, of course, had to make my own huge pile, and then take a running leap into it. What a joy that was. When all the leaves were gathered, we burned them by the side of the road. It was hard work, but also a lot of fun. I miss the smell of those burning leaves. There’s nothing like it. Afterwards we’d sit by the fire in the cabin, drink fresh apple cider and reminisce.

My parents are gone now, the cabin’s been sold and I live in Florida, but those special memories live in my heart and always bring a smile to my face.

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Today, my sister, Joanie, who lives up in the Adirondacks, knowing my feelings about fall, sent me a few photos of the season from up there. Seeing them brought a whole host of happy thoughts of days gone by. Not only of my parents, but of happy times with her and her family. Thank you, Joanie!

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So after an unbelievably difficult week where just about everything that could have gone wrong, did, I’m sitting here in my office with a huge smile, grinning ear to ear, without a care.

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I hope some of you readers get the same lift I did by seeing these photos. Happy fall!!!!

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My New Word for Nostalgia

This is the time of year many of us have musings of a bygone time in our lives and we call it nostalgia. I always thought “nostalgia” was a sad word, because it brought to mind events of the past that we could only relive in our memories, of a time already gone that we could not visit again. The dictionary says nostalgia is a longing or homesickness for something far away or long ago for former happy circumstances. That longing is what gives sadness to the word.

To remedy this, I made up a new word. “Hearthy.” To me, hearthy is a happy sounding word to start with, and it illustrates the mood or moods of this time of year. When I ponder on the word hearthy, I think of brightly-colored falling leaves and shuffling through them on the way to somewhere; bobbing for apples; lounging on a braided rug in front of a fireplace all aglow; watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV; looking up at the stars on a still, crisp night; listening to the carols of the season; catching the first flakes of snow on my tongue. These are not just memories of the past, but things that can be experienced year after year. Now, and in the future. That’s what makes hearthy — happy.

In my office, I have bookshelves on either side of my desk that are filled with photos of my family and friends. When I enter each day I am greeted by them and often I find myself thinking about and remembering favorite times with them. Granted, some of those people have passed away, but I have made peace with that, and only think of them in happy terms now. Although they are part of nostalgia, I prefer to think of them when I am doing something hearthy and they become part of my hearthy life rather than my past nostalgia one. I have no idea if that makes any sense to you, dear reader, but for me, it’s a way to remember without being sad.

So, here it is November. I’m probably one of the few who still sends out Christmas cards to almost a hundred people each year and I’ve got them all ready to address and to write a little note in each. I’ll start putting up Christmas decorations soon and make my power company happy for the next couple of months. As I decorate the tree, hearthy thoughts will fill the room as brightly as the hundreds of lights that sparkle on it.

Hearthy holidays!

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Home is Where the Mama Is

I’m in the midst of selling my childhood home. As nostalgically sad as it may sound, I’m not having a problem with it. On this path, I look neither left, right or behind; I keep my feet pointed forward.

The roses were in full bloom a few weeks ago. A solid line of red blossoms climbed along the side of the house as bees busily buzzed in and out. I checked the permanent nine-year old bird’s nest to see if any new babies were in it, but it was empty this year. The coalition of mother birds had moved on to other places.

Maybe it was a sign.  Not a sign for me, though. I don’t have sentimental attachments to structures I own.  The sentimental attachments I carry are for the structures I build.

My relationships are my buildings. My family and close friends are my houses. I furnish my homes with my heart, and, though I may move from place to place over the course of my life, I carry the hearth with me. I have always told the kids, “Home is where the mama is.”

Lately, world events have dominated most conversations. Beginnings and endings over the past several days give one pause to reflect. Selling my childhood home is an ending and a beginning. I know what the ending means; the beginning, eh, not so sure, yet.

At the beginning, I write a book. At the end, the book is published. I see it on its way and then I don’t look back. I’m sure that’s a character flaw for a writer, but it’s how I am. Rewrites? Oh, yes, I’ve had my share – before the novel flies out to the publisher. After that, it’s pretty much, goodbye, baby bird.

All of the things happening around me, in my own world and in the bigger one, remind me of a line in a song by The Three Degrees:

Is this my beginning
or is this the end?

Although the sentiment is slightly morbid (considering the world is scheduled to end next year – guess I better get busy . . . or not), beginnings and endings are necessary for the entire scope of the human experience.

With the Monterey Pine, fire serves to end and begin the life of this tree. The cones stay closed until the heat from a forest fire pops them open and scatters new seeds upon the burnt ground. Our own personal fires signal our starts and stops throughout life.

Goodbye, childhood house. May your next journey take you on as many adventures as the first family who lived within your walls did. You and I will never cross paths again in this life, but I will speak of you fondly to those who ask. Goodbye and godspeed a quick sell.

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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