Thursday, July 25, 2013

Things That Make Me Nostalgic

This past weekend Jack and I joined my brother, my sister and my sisters two kids on a road trip to visit our hometown. There is something about going home that makes me nostalgic. We reminisced about the past, visited old haunts and remembered the good times. 

Here are a few things that reminded me of days gone by:
1. Driving across the Mighty Mississippi and being greeted by the "Welcome to Arkansas" sign. I know that when we see the pyramid, and cross that great river, we are in the final stretch of getting home.

2. Breakfast at Bobby's (now Maddie's Cafe). Unfortunately Bobby's (it will always be Bobby's to me) had a 40-minute wait. With kids in tow we decided to head over to Main Street Cafe instead. I started going to Bobby's in college. It has been my benchmark of what a country breakfast should be. I have had so many intimate conversations in the booths there. It will always hold a special place in my heart. Main Street Cafe is a good back up plan, though we were disappointed that they didn't offer real cream for our coffee. I'm sorry, but powdered cream does not cut it. #firstworldproblems

3. Blackberry Cobbler. My brother requested that we make cobbler during our visit. My mom makes a really great cobber that has a biscuit crust, but Mark specifically wanted the pie crust style cobbler like our Grandma used to make when we were kids. She would always make a little extra crust that we could eat plain or with ice cream once the actual cobbler was finished.

4. Playing in the Lily Pool at Harding University. When I was a child (over 25 years ago), my mom would take me and my siblings to play in the old fountain in front of the Administration Building at Harding. On this trip, we took our kids there to splash in the rebuilt fountain. 

The Lily Pool is also where we would meet (during college) for ring ceremonies – a special time to share your engagement story with your social club. Per tradition, after the ceremony, the engaged couple would be thrown into one of the fountains on campus.

I have so many fond memories associated with this fountain and the university. I made some really great friends during my time here; and more importantly, this is where I met Daniel (on a caving trip no less). The school isn't perfect but overall my experience here was a great one.

5. Swimming at Heber Springs. My family has been going to Heber since I was about 12. I have so many memories of swimming by the dam.

Once we were old enough, we persuaded our parents to let us jump off the (10-15 feet high) cliffs at the Swimming Cliff area. This is a rite of passage for anyone living in this part of Arkansas.

When I was in high school, I got brave enough to jump off the really high cliffs (Tree Top Cliff is approx 20-30 feet high). I can't imagine letting Jack do this, but trying scary things is part of the fun of growing up.

In high school I learned how to water ski at Heber and I have many fond memories of tubing and riding jet skis on this lake.

6. My Dad building sand castles. At Heber, my Dad showed the kids how to make sand castles by dripping wet sand out of his hands. The kids thought this was pretty cool. I remember him doing this when we were little. I have photos from Papua New Guinea of him showing me this technique when I was about Izzy's age.

7. Learning about jobs Grandma had during her life. My Grandma is currently confined to a bed. She is living with my parents, so we all spent time visiting with her and hearing about her life. 

One of her first jobs was raising chickens. She had 200 and collected and sold their eggs every day. During WW2, she had a job inspecting airplanes that were being assembled (think Rosie the Riveter). As she got older she spent many years teaching about sewing, cooking and homemaking through the Extension Club.

She and her husband, Herman, also maintained a huge garden for many years after they retired. From when I was a kid, I remember learning how to shuck corn on her back patio and making ice cream that we all had to take turns cranking with a hand crank for hours. One time she even showed us how to make butter in a very old butter churn that she had.

I am sure there were other bits of memories that were stirred as we visited. These are just a few that stick out to me. 

It is amazing how I forget things, but just a sight, smell or sound can bring those memories flooding back. I am thankful that with a new generation of children in our family, we can share our old memories and also make new ones.

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