Perfect title for a blog post. 

For a long time I wanted to use that word for a headline, and considered what the content might be. Pelted by Nicaraguan monkeys with fruit from a palm tree? Returning from a night out at the movies and a Big Boy restaurant in high school?  Or..

Better to go with the obvious.  The world tends to see us in the era we came from.  Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes it just is.  

A barrage of senior photographs on Facebook honoring this year’s graduates who won’t get to finish their studies on campus has prompted memories of the way things were.  Of hair, of clothing, of thinner faces and whiter teeth.  Many of us have crossed the bridge of seeing the difference in ourselves then vs. now.  I commented to a friend that he looked the same almost 50 years later.  “I wish,” he replied, but it was true to me.

When does something go out of fashion?  Not only clothing, but music, architecture, furniture, art, TV genres?  I remember one time the press hyped President Reagan for setting a new style when he wore a dapper suit.  Surely well-dressed men would follow.  Then he simply told them, “It’s an old suit.”

Take being cooped up at home, like most of us have been in the last month.  Is it dated to put together a puzzle, talk more to family, write letters, send packages, invent new games, and read what you put on the shelf two years ago for lack of time?  Notice I did not mention cleaning out closets.  If you did that, you’re on your own.  Cleaners and avoiders each stand the test of time.

What’s never out of style is noticing sunrises and sunsets and marveling at spidery leaves of a crocus among its lavender blooms.  Spotting red cardinals, blue bluejays, and hearing woodpeckers hammering on trees in the distance.  Looking at photos of wedding cakes and videos of baby giggles.  And rediscovering the echo of a train moving through a crossing nearby.


Vintage Schwinn Girls Bicycle


Objects on The Antiques Roadshow, American Pickers, and forgive me, Pawn Stars, date us when we recognize them as from “our time.”  Are they antiques?  I had a bike like that!

The black-and-whiteness of time discrimination dissolves a bit more, and turning off media reports helps, too.  When we get to get together again in person, may we keep in mind that the inside of all of us is more important than the outside.  And it is a privilege to have lived in whatever time from which we came.



Old School

When a school building has outlived its original purpose, it can be sold for apartments, a single family dwelling, or torn down.  My old brick high school in Angola, Indiana, was bought by the county for $1 in the 1990s and has a new life today, housing government offices and agencies.  Though many of the old classrooms have been partitioned off, there are features recognizable to former (notice I didn’t say “old”) students like me.  While visiting my mother this week, I took a walk through the well-maintained tile and terrazzo floors.

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The main stairwell from the front entramce continues up to the second floor.  Clamoring feet and ringing tardy bells come to mind when I see this shot.

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Ascending to the main hallway, the three doors to the auditorium still greeted me.  I remember kids flooding in for convocations, club meetings and play practice.

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Detail of fresco outside auditorium doors.

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Who doesn’t recall the view of the attendance and principal’s offices ahead?  And the porcelain drinking fountains…still there.

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As in Shel Silverstein’s book, “The Giving Tree,” the old place keeps offering more of itself to students who walked its floors.

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The Steuben County Extension Office continues to support the tradition of 4-H.  The old home economics kitchen downstairs, where I first cooked a meal of boxed macaroni in the eighth grade, is still intact and used for demonstrations, etc.


A page from the 1920 Key, the Angola High School yearbook.