I have noticed the past 3 years since my mom passed away, I have been extremely nostalgic for my youth. I think looking into the past allows me to bring my mom back and the days where nothing bad ever happened.
I have looked up grade school friends on Facebook, poured over old photos and repeatedly relived memories of growing up. My iPod is filled with 70s and 80s wonderfulness that Hannah is already over. I’m drowning in Laverne and Shirley, Little House on the Prairie and Mork and Mindy reruns. I have even looked for episodes of Wonder Woman. Contemplated starting wheresourwonderwomanmovie.com.
I’m constantly telling Hannah “when I was younger” stories and watching as she looks at me with confusion when I educate her on record players, telephones with cords and taping songs off of the radio. I’ve shown her my old houses, my old schools and places we used to shop. She even politely humored me as we watched Back to the Future (still good) and Ghostbusters (not so good) together.
During 6th grade, there was a roller skating (not roller blading!) rink my friends and I went to. I remember that rink being dark with bright colored flashing lights. There was a screen at one end where they showed music videos. We would all gather around when Thriller or Girls Just Want to Have Fun would come on. There was a DJ booth where you could request your favorite songs and a snack bar where you could hang out with friends. Our parents would drop us of there on Friday nights and we would be in our own world for a couple of hours.
So a few weeks ago, I went back. It looked some the same, but a lot different. There was a lot of unnecessary junk added—an indoor playground type thing, some games including that ridiculous claw and mini golf course. The DJ booth was closed off, there were no music videos and they didn’t even turn the lights off when we skated.
Surprisingly, I was able to skate, though not with the stealth of my past. After about an hour and one Justin Beiber song too many, I asked the guy at the counter if they could play something 80s like Michael Jackson or Madonna. The guy hesitated. “So I can feel young again,” I joked. He laughed and said ok. I’m super charming when I make fun of my age.
We went back out on the floor as Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” began playing. I noted that this was 90s MJ and NOT 80s MJ. I mean, did that guy not know I meant Billie Jean or Beat It? Gah! Obviously! I kept skating as I tried to construct a Michael Jackson musical timeline in my head.
Not 30 seconds later, some teenager skates into me and I fall straight back onto the much-harder-than-I-remember-it floor. As I’m lying there, seeing stars, I think to myself “It’s true what they say. You really can’t go back”. I got up and we went home.
I know everyone thinks they grew up in a simpler time. A better time. A time where there was less chaos and more security. And that time is called “before we were grown ups”.