"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


They say you can't go home again.

But I disagree.

This coming from a woman, of course, who makes the trek back to her hometown and does her level best to recapture her youth one week at a time just about every summer.

Thanks to Facebook this week, however, many of us took five minutes, journeyed back to a simpler time -- our childhoods -- and we never even left our chairs.

Did you happen to catch the video making the viral rounds?

I'm talkin' bout hide and seek at dusk
Red Light, Green Light
Red Rover....Red Rover.....
Playing kickball and dodge ball until the first...no...second...no...third streetlight came on 
Ring around the Rosie
London Bridge
Hot potato
Hop Scotch
Jump rope
Kick the can
Parents stood on the front porch and yelled (or whistled) for you to come home...

If you grew up in the late 50s and 60s, the above words can't help but bring a smile -- and perhaps even a tear -- to your eyes.  The video -- a rolling list of our most memorable childhood pastimes set to a 50s ballad --  certainly  moistened my baby blues.

I discovered the video on a friend's FB wall, and felt compelled to post it on mine.  Wow!  The response was amazing!  So many comments.  So many trips down memory lane.  And apparently, no matter where we grew up, our younger days shared so may similarities.

Bottom line:  We had it made.  Not financially, necessarily.  But when it comes to having good, clean, simple fun, we had it all.

The sky was so blue...
Mother May I?
Hula Hoops
Seeing shapes in the clouds
Endless summer days and hot summer nights (no A/C) with the windows open
The sound of crickets
Running through the sprinkler
Cereal boxes with that GREAT prize in the bottom
Cracker jacks with the same thing
Popsicles with 2 sticks you could break and share with a friend...

They really were "The Good Ol' Days".

We didn't know it then.  But we know it now.

Oh, but to hear my Dad bellow "ANNNN JENNIFER!" from the front porch one more time.

About 20 years ago, my friends Kim, Helen, Tricia and I  -- then in our early 30s -- tried to recapture those cloud contemplating days of yore by actually laying in Tricia's backyard, staring up at the sky, and naming the shapes in the clouds. Taking in all the wonderful blue.

But we couldn't do it for long because there were children to tend to, dinner to fix...responsibility galore.

Life seems even more complicated today. And so damn dangerous.

I remember making it a point to teach my son Daniel the fine art of Mother May I? and Red Light, Green Light when he was little.  I suppose I did it as much for myself as I did it for him. I watch him spend hours playing Call of Duty with his friends now, pretending to kill zombies or masked terrorists or whatever...

Hope to God someday he will think back to a simpler, safer, more innocent time in his childhood and play Mother May I? and Red Light Green Light with his kids when they are little...

In the meantime, I will relish my fond childhood memories.  Not that my childhood was all great.  Whose was?  But that's the beauty of nostalgia. Selective memory.  We only seem to recall the best parts. Otherwise, why would we so yearn to go home again?

They say nostalgia -- Greek roots "nostos", to return home or to one's native land, and "algos", referring to pain, suffering or grief" -- was once described as a clinical condition associated with a myriad of physiological and psychological symptoms.

In other words, those "afflicted" with nostalgia were often thought to be trying to return to the womb. And it seems that nostalgia strikes most often during tough lifetime transitions.

Thus explaining, I suppose, why so many of us Boomer Facebookers in our 50s and 60s, staring the retirement years and other future uncertainties in the face, watched that dang video more than once.

Talk about a tidal wave of homesickness.

Waxing nostalgic even as I blog.

Yup.  Those were some of the best days of my life...

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