When we finished helping Bob tell his life story, the title for his book just had to be, “It’s been a blast”. He was living in rural PEI when at the age of 15 he signed up to join the military. Bob was selected for ammunition training and headed off to Montreal. He never looked back, working hard, always seeking opportunities to learn and rising in the military ranks to Chief Warrant Officer head of the military bomb squad. But he wasn’t done yet. After he retired he started one of the first UXO clearance companies in Canada and with his positive attitude, had a blast doing it all.
The image above is one of the 150 pages of visual storytelling we created in the telling of Bob’s life. We covered a lot of territory. Bob had a lot to say. His daughters knew that if they didn’t get his memories collected they would forget what they have heard over the years and the stories would be lost. Bob has a fantastic memory for details; it must be the military training. He also experienced something that is common in this memory collecting world, remembering and connecting to long ago stories that get revealed once someone starts turning the mind to the past and visualizing and thinking about what was. People retrieve poignant details they haven’t thought about in years. I like to think of it as memory synapse, some may call it tapping into our nostalgia.
The dictionary defines nostalgia as ‘a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, home, family or friends; a sentimental yearning for happiness of a former place and time.’ It would be wrong to suggest that anyone’s whole life would be all happiness, because that’s not life folks. That said, this article “Look back in joy: the power of nostalgia” in The Guardian suggests that nostalgia helps us feel connected and satisfied with many aspects of our life. I was fascinated by a concentration camp survivor reflecting on how nostalgia worked as a coping mechanism. I could relate to how we as parents use nostalgia to help our children get through hard times. It’s a good read, based on studies done in the UK. The Nostalgia Quiz at the end of the article is also fun to ponder.
Not surprising, the article talks about the affect of music. Check out this very fun website called the Nostalgia Machine. Put in your birth year or any year and see what tunes pop up. Feeling stressed? Take a moment to listen to a song from a happy period in your life and I’ll bet it puts a smile on your face and maybe a tap of your foot.
I don’t know about you but I think most people get pretty nostalgic about their first car. Bob certainly did with a fun story to go with it. His favourite car was a Camaro which was really funny because that was both my first and my favourite car. Living the fast life there for awhile.
Speaking of nostalgia, I know whenever I arrive at Yellow Point Lodge I certainly feel like I’ve stepped back in time. Life is simple here. Eat, sleep, read that’s been the motto since the early years. No wifi, no tv, no worries. Definitely a great place to recharge your batteries. I have done work with YPL for a number of years. Here is a map brochure for the model of the solar system on the property and in the neighbourhood. It’s humbling how small planet Earth is. Oh yes and you’ll see how nostalgia is alive and well here, we’ve kept Pluto as a planet, due to past service.
So tell me, what are you nostalgic about? Maybe you know someone who often reflects back on their stories. Drop me a line if you want to collect those memories.