The D&M: A stroll through nostalgic territories

It’s claimed that everything in life comes with a sacrifice of something else. One of the prices I paid by growing up barefoot and carefree in Auckland in the early 90’s was that I didn’t have my grandparents around. I never related to kids who said they were going to Nana’s for the weekend or that Grandpa and Grandma were coming to stay over the summer.

In truth, this did not particularly bother me. When you’re young you live for the moment. You live for the playground at lunchtime, cartoons and Maggi 2-Minute Noodles after school, and rollerblading around the cul-de-sac before bed. As the sentimental thing I was (and still am), of course I missed all my grandparents and would have liked to have them around, but as a kid you adapt to whatever is thrown at you.

What you do miss out on, and only realise later, is a heightened ability to understand your family. Spending quality time with people who had a hand in shaping your parents’ lives teaches you something about how your family works, how your parents came to be the way they are, and even gives you a glimpse at another side of yourself that you were previously blind to. These realisations are difficult to put into words as they’re more of an intrinsic appreciation and personal to everyone individually.

With each realisation comes a wave of what I can only describe as ‘awkward familiarity’, best likened to that feeling you get the first time you see a film in which the characters have Kiwi accents instead of American ones, or art-house films in which crying scenes are red-eyed and snotty rather than comprised of fraudulent single tears that leave make-up intact.

But one thing that’s never awkward and I can’t get enough of is seeing old photos. One day, when time machines are invented I’ll go back and see my parents in all their 70’s glory, complete with Mum’s heavy eye-shadow and long, straight hair and Dad’s dark beard and thick glasses. But until that day comes, I’ll be content in leafing through collections of faded, sepia snapshots of the past.

4 thoughts on “The D&M: A stroll through nostalgic territories

  1. Raquel says:

    I certainly turned red-eyed and snotty after reading this! 🙂

  2. Ronald says:

    Solange, nicely expressed! My eyes didn’t turn red but something melted a bit inside me and it made me think about past and present. I liked it! chausito…

  3. Judy says:

    Solange, how well you write!A little of me returns to my childhood, which was like yours, somewhat devoid of grandparents and all that they bring! Though I remember my Uncle well and the little pink smoker sweets he always had in his car. How we would rush out to meet him at the sound of his arrival, sometimes surprising us with Hokey Pokey ice-creams!Later in my life, and being naturally curious, I wanted to know mums’ stories and encouraged her to tell me about her life. It helped paint a picture (yes I’m a visual) of her family life, their experiences and how this may have impacted on her life. I was particularly interested from a women’s perspective.Stories were often prompted by looking through old family albums. Personalties would unfold as she talked and walked once again through her life. True, there is nothing quite the same as leafing though old photos in an old photo album, it tells a story in itself.

  4. Esther says:

    Great post Solange! Sigh… there are some fabulous 70s shots of my parents too, complete with Mum’s giant sunglasses and wavy blonde hair. I know what you mean about the ‘can’t get enough’ feeling – I could gaze at them all day.

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