1. the state of being homesick
2. a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition; also :something that evokes nostalgia
—Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
Americans seem to be obsessed with nostalgia, with getting back to some mythical time where things just worked. Those of a rightwing persuasion want to get back to a time when Americans had values. Women were women and men were men, right? Children were the center of the universe, and they respected their elders. Those of the left often lionize the sixties, a time when everything mattered, when change was possible.
Whether from the right or the left, many adults say that things were better when they were kids, that things were different then. I can see reasons for why we hold the past in such misty regard. Things do suck right now. We do seem lost, and it is comforting to think that there was a time when we knew what to do.
I ask you, though, do you really want to go back? Here are some photos from my family’s annual trip to Weston, Vermont, a town that survives on nostalgia. I think you’ll agree that while the past is an amusing place to visit, you don’t want to live there.
This was considered food
Mmm… So was this “Vermont-Style” dish
These popular toys alone explain why so many Americans are in therapy
Children may have known their place in the past,
but they also bowled over bunnies for fun
Do you really want to inhabit the past?
Doesn’t it look just a little spooky?
Top photo: The ruins of an old convenience store. Every year, I look forward to seeing how the decay’s advanced. Here’s a photo of the whole building.