Here’s one courtesy @KAN – a NYTimes story about nostalgia and why it can be healthy.

But first, I’m going to link to the article so as not to plagiarize the writer, btw who reads to be a Gen X person so just substitute your favorite MLC memory in place of his.  You can read the article here:

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane.  It Can Be Healthy.

Okay, so what’s your take?  Nostalgia was originally “immigrant psychosis” a form of “melancholia” and a “mental repressive compulsive disorder“?  Nah, good thing they came to their senses and deemed nostalgia as something positive.  “And most people experience it once a week, and some more than that.”  Like us!

Nostalgia help bring your psychological state back into balance.  It elevates your mood and your deflated self-esteem.  Researchers say you come out of the experience with a stronger sense of belonging.”

I’m not sure if this is what he means but there was a time that I was going through major depression due to the break-up of a long-time girlfriend and without family or friends to turn too.  I felt like almost every sad love song was written for what I was going though.  It was brutal.  But I recovered from that.  And when I hear those songs now – I can say that I overcame this hurdle – with a stronger sense of belonging, like the article says.  And I welcome these songs taking me back to that challenging time.

The article mentions visual and audible triggers and I can’t agree more.  But one the biggest triggers for me is olfactoral (I just made up that word).  Scents – like the scent of Zen perfume takes me back to slow dancing at socials.  And the scent of mechanic hand cleaner reminds me of my lot-boy job.  The scent of sex wax reminds me of surfing days.  I could go on and on.  Oh, here’s one more – the scent of the mei sui lan blossoms.  When I was attending KCC (Pensacola campus), there used to be a couple of these trees right between the business building and the student cafeteria.  Whenever I smell that scent, it reminds me of my college days walking to class in the cool early mornings.

What is nostalgia to you?

Thanks for the blog idea, @KAN!




27 Responses to “Nostalgia”

  1. 4G says:

    I’ve been thinking about this topic for a little while. There seems to be something that I want to say, but I can’t quite figure out what that is. LOL

    Nostalgia deals with feelings from the past, but seems to concentrate on positive feelings from the past. Perhaps another key is that “yearning” for these feelings is also part of the definition of the term.

    I guess my twisted mind goes to, “What is the complement to ‘nostalgia’?” I.e, what do we call negative feelings from the past? The only things that come to mind are terms like “flashback” and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Those seem a bit extreme. On the other hand, who would really want to “yearn” for such negative feelings from the past?

    Then again, many of my nostalgic feelings tend to have a twinge of melancholy associated with them. I don’t really mean “melancholy” in the strictest definition of the term. There seems to be just a touch of sadness – and, not in a bad way at all. It’s as though that touch of melancholy is an integral part of the positive feelings associated with nostalgia.

    Okay, maybe “melancholy” is not quite the right term. “Touch of sadness” also comes to mind, but I don’t think that quite says it, either. Again, I don’t mean “touch of sadness” in a negative sense. Maybe it’s that this touch of melancholy is caused by the reality of “you really can’t ‘go home’ again” – you can’t turn back the hands of time.

    I do know that for the most part, the good memory is likely a lot better than the reality really was. This thought brings to mind a line from “Kodachrome” – “I know they’d never match my sweet imagination . . .” LOL

    I dunno . . . .

    • Rodney says:

      Or “Circle Game” – “We can’t return, we can only look – behind from where we came, and go ’round and ’round and ’round in a circle game”.

    • KAN says:

      4G-maybe bittersweet is the word you’re looking for? I think I know what you mean.

    • KAN says:

      The guy I dated before Sweetie in my opinion looked at the past with overly rosy glasses. (And we were in our twenties at the time! He didn’t have a lot of past to look at!) It used to annoy me. You can’t do much about the past, and while it can be helpful to remember it, why are you romanticizing it so much?

      Now that we’ve been broken up for over two decades and he is married with two kids, my guess is he looks at his college days with undue fondness and forgets he was broke, in debt, and hated school. (I hope he doesn’t remember ME that way–I was a big pain in the butt. And I stayed that way.)

  2. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Speaking of the Termite Palace, hearing Howard (Hiroshi) calling out, “Popcorn, peanuts, chips, coke” in his unique way. He lived right next to Kaimuki High’s track and we’d see him almost daily, riding his large three-wheeled bike (trike?) around the outer lanes while we ran during practice.
    Also remembered the tall vendor with bushy red hair:

    • 4G says:

      I remember Howard – never knew his name back then, but I can still hear his voice in my head, “Popcorn, peanuts, coke . . .” Had a “hotdog” in there somewhere, too, right? 😉

    • Seawalker says:

      Thanks for the read, @sameguydifferentchannel. Reminds me of my paperboy days. We were paid a flat rate per customer per month. Someone still lives at the Iolani track, no? Japanee buggah with a mustache. Whenever you walked by, he would sometimes waive. Thought he might’ve been the maintenance guy for the school or something.

  3. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Take Me Out to the Ballgame

    When played on an organ, takes me back to the 7th inning stretch of a Hawaii Islanders game at termite palace.

    And the organ going “chooka chooka chooka” when the ump bends over and sweeps home plate. LOL

  4. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    The sound of rain falling on a ‘totan’ roof + the smell of mosquito punk burning = Hilo. (what I remember as a kid)

  5. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Moonlight Feels Right – Starbuck

    A couple summers later, working at the Electric Shop at Dole Cannery, I recall this song playing loudly in the warehouse where they were canning sodas. These two songs instantly takes me back to Dole.

  6. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Takin’ Care of Business – BTO

    Hearing this song takes me back to Dole Cannery, where it would be pounding in the men’s locker room before we started at 6 am during those peak season, 12 hour shifts.

  7. DancingBear says:

    pikake = proms

  8. walter says:

    The scent of guava, liliko’i and mountain apple remind of summer back in the seventies. And then there’s that very distinctive smokey resiny smell of pakalolo especially of average Columbian weed. I don’t smoke it now but every so often I catch a whiff from some where off and it takes me back to high school daze. And then there’s the Sears popcorn aroma as one used to descend the escalator to the basement level at Ala Moana Ctr. That takes me back to the sixties.

  9. KC fan says:

    R.I.P. Adam West, the original Batman.

  10. KAN says:

    Rodney, I’m glad that NYT article was useful!

    The Japanese word “natsukashii” means nostalgic and is used often. I don’t know if the Japanese are more prone to nostalgia than Americans, but I can identify with it.

    I like what Rodney said about songs taking him back to specific eras. Certain songs take me back to specific happy times in my life. “Old Days” by Chicago reminds me of driving on Kauai with my high school speech team during an outer-island trip. “Call Me” by Go West reminds me of speeding down Kalakaua Avenue in my friend’s car in college. “Manhattan Skyline” by Julia Fordham reminds me of the first long road trip I took with Sweetie after we started dating.

  11. dihudfan says:

    The smell of Gardenia… always remind me of hana buttah days… the flagrance reeked thru our home in the mornings… a bush right outside my mom and pops room… just wonderful!!!

  12. 4G says:

    For me, I think just about anything can trigger a feeling of nostalgia. I think that’s why I mainly like oldies music – for the nostalgic feelings it triggers.

    Seems to me that there are degrees of nostalgia. For example, I believe that I experience frequent, brief nostalgic feelings rather than long, intense episodes.

    I can see where dwelling too deeply and long in the feeling might not be the best thing, but I have a hard time relating to those very intense and negative physical symptoms the article attributes to those Swiss mercenaries. It’s as though those mercenaries were suffering from more than what we consider nostalgia. It seems like the feelings that we attribute to nostalgia have evolved over time.

    Oh I guess that was the point of the article?


  13. adobo says:

    Early elementary school we still had the old wooden buildings. I recall that 1st day back, that certain smell, was it the old wood, paint? Years later worked a outer island job, an old school building still in use. Walked down the hall and I remembered that smell. After some old buildings were torn down my elementary class was also the first in the new concrete buildings. I still remembered that fresh concrete smell, again years later on another job at a new building I thought back about elementary school.

  14. Seawalker says:

    In the article it said, “…And then there’s Star Wars (always Star Wars), which has managed to somehow evoke nostalgia for over four decades.”

    Have to agree with them on this. The next Star Wars movie is set to hit the big screens this coming Dec. 15th. Can’t wait. Everything fades over time, especially our memories and more so our hairlines and ability to all-out grind food. But Geo(r)ge Lucas got it right when the first Star Wars came out in the 70’s.

    May the force be with you!

    • Seawalker says:

      Did I ever mention Luke Skywalker was a distant cousin? He’s got the air covered and I got the water covered. 😆

  15. mows says:

    Cigarette smoke and A\C = 1970s-1980s bowling alley.

  16. mows says:

    Scent of stale beer, cigarette smoke and perfume = Nickel Hana or Worse.

  17. Seawalker says:

    Speaking about plagiarism, @UR, saw some of your writing verbatim on one of your recent topics on another blog. Hana-okole-le, shame on them for not giving you da credit!

    Nostalgia? Me, I’m a visual kind of guy. Or maybe I should say I’m a neanderthal-at-heart who likes to look around while dragging my knuckles and beating my chest all in the quest for food.

    Seeing things make me remember. At’s why I loved the discos and nightclub. When you finally get a chance to slow-dance with that good-lookin’ girl or score a phone number, it makes your night. The beer taste all that much better. The cover charge at the door seems like nothing. The sauna-feel of the joint becomes bearable.

    Like I said before, all you can take to your grave is a chock-full of memories. But I’ll have a few dollar bills on me just in case they give me ride with a BMW chariot to heaven or in darkness. Hehehe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *