Article by Wendy McCance
Yesterday I went through a nostalgic phase. For the life of me I can’t remember what triggered the walk down memory lane other than a curiosity to look up a memory from my childhood. When I was a kid our family did a lot of travelling. We used to live in Montana, and had visited South Dakota to see some friends. While we were in Rapid City, we went to this quaint park called Storybook Island. The park has all of these storybook characters and great stuff to climb on and see.
I took to the internet and looked it up. The place had opened in the 50’s and was still there. Thanks to the internet I was able to view pictures of the place. I saw quite a few new additions that weren’t there when I was a kid. The astonishing part, though was how many things were there that I remembered. There was a blue whale whose mouth you would walk through, the three little pigs and their homes and snowwhite and the seven dwarfs.
It was such a good feeling to be transported back to a happy memory from so long ago that I went in search of old movies my mom had taken. All of the movies she had taken had been on an old video camera that had no sound and could barely be called colored film. It was more like a dusty greenish, orangish tinted film. The film had been put onto cd’s in recent years, but still had a lot of moments where we were all moving in a very fast paced way and the film was pretty jerky.
I was able to view quite a few trips that were taken to places like Yellowstone National Park, Cyprus Gardens in Florida, Mount Rushmore and many trips back to Ohio to see relatives. More than half of the people in the films were no longer living. Seeing them felt so familiar and normal that it didn’t seem real that they weren’t around anymore.
There is something about watching an old movie and being able to travel back in time that snaps you back into that aha moment of this is who I am. All of these old feelings came rushing back. I felt myself in a way that I hadn’t in years. All of my adult history seemed to wash away and I could feel my kid self again.
When I was done watching the old movies, I had a slight shift in the awareness of me. There was something about being able to get a glimpse back at what my life was all about that seemed to reset my feelings. I had that feeling of the bigger picture. I haven’t seen relatives for the most part in years. When I was a kid, we would go visit relatives, all of whom lived in other states or countries on a regular basis. When I grew up, my parents had divorced and extended family fell by the wayside.
I have 3 children who haven’t seen or even know more than maybe a handful of relatives. I had grown up so differently than my own kids. There was a strong knowledge of where you were from and what you were truly made up of from knowing all of the relatives so well. How could this have happened that there are dozens of cousins the same ages as my own children, but they aren’t aware of each other.
This seemingly innocent exposure back into my youth triggered an awareness of the importance of all the family around you. Now I am on a mission to make sure that my children have the opportunities that I had as a child and get to know the people connected to them.
How can you have the ultimate in happiness if you don’t have the strong bonds of family around you? If you don’t have that complete sense not only of who you are but where you come from, how can you feel complete? For me this is a wake-up call to get my children more involved and aware of all of the family they have out there. Hopefully, meeting and getting to know the family will help them to feel a more complete sense of themselves and in turn, create more happiness in their lives.
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