Things I Cherish That Give Me Nostalgia

Nostalgia can be a bittersweet feeling for most people because it reminds them of things they enjoyed in the past, and things that they wished still existed in their present lives. It can also be a warm and precious feeling for those who hold onto pleasant memories of their lives. For me, it can be both, but I am grateful to have had certain things in my life that put a smile across my face when I think of them. 

For starters, I grew up with VHS cassettes. I had a huge collection, and I worked tirelessly to try to expand my collection every time I went to the store. When I added a new movie, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. I still watch them, since most of my movies are VHS. I love the sound of the cassette popping in, and the rewind noises. 

I also have music cassette tapes. I became interested in them because my dad has a huge collection. I recently started my own (props to Armadillo Music)! They remind me of when I was younger, because back then, my dad had a huge stereo where he would play all his cassettes at full blast, and the music sounded richer than CDs to me. I liked taking the cassette out and looking at all the work that was put into creating the covers and sleeve.

Disposable cameras and film were also a big part of my life. The first time I got a disposable camera I thought I was so cool, and all my friends wanted to get their pictures taken. My father gifted me several, and I was always so excited to go develop my photos and see how they came out. As a child, I was restlessly waiting for the two weeks they took to process. We have albums and albums full of pictures that date back to when my parents were young, and I just love the quality and overall look and feel of the images. I recently started getting back into film. I found my dad’s old film camera and I have been snapping pictures of things I want to document in my life. Film reminds me of my childhood, and that’s why it’s so precious to me.

Image Source: Nicola Perantoni

Despite my love for older technology, something else I miss doing as a kid is playing outside- no cellphones, no technology, just kids being kids. I can say I was lucky enough to grow up when phones were not in use, and as a kid I would play outside every day. These are wonderful memories that I am grateful for, despite getting the occasional scratch and bruise.

I especially feel great affection for the times when my father and I would go to the grocery store early on Saturday mornings. I don’t exactly remember how it started, but I am glad that it was our own little tradition. Instead of going later when the lines were long and exhausting, my father and I would wake up early at 7 am, drive to the store and do some early grocery shopping. I was the only one willing to accompany him, because as a kid I would wake up early (wish I could do that now). He would knock on my door softly, peek in and ask if I was awake – knowing well that I was –  and ask if I wanted to go with him, to which I would eagerly say yes. I would throw on whichever pair of pants and shirt were available and run to meet him. 

On one trip, we were welcomed to an empty store except for one or two other customers. But the best part of the whole trip was that he would always let me get a snack I wanted. It was like my little treat for accompanying him, and looking back it makes me smile wholeheartedly. Now whenever I am in a grocery store by myself being an adult, I remember those times and miss them.

Image Source: NeonBrand

Another memory that I share with my father involves my elementary school self. On certain days, my father would get special permission from the school to come distribute school supplies to the children in my classroom, including myself. He would come unannounced during his lunch. My classmates already knew him and were eager to see his face, because they knew they were going to get small gifts. Looking back, it was such a genuine and selfless gesture, and it made me realize that my father was doing so much more than giving gifts. He was making everyone’s whole day that much better. To this day, he collects pens and tries to give me new ones. Even though he’s given me so many, I still accept them. 

I could go on and on about the things that give me nostalgia, but then I would have a whole book. Nostalgia can be bittersweet, even a little teary-eyed, but it can also be something very beautiful.