Nostalgia is a peculiar thing. I feel like it has been a part of my life ever since I was a little girl.
I grew up watching black and white movies and listening to music from past decades. I always wanted to have been a teenager during the 50s.
I didn’t know there was more to it than poodle skirts and saddle shoes.
The past few years have been very transitional for me. I grew up in a small but very close family. There were only 11 of us over three generations.
We had Sunday dinners at my grandparents house every week, and we’d sit around the table and listen to the same stories over and over.
I never got tired of them. I loved hearing the joy in their voices when reminiscing. But four years ago I lost my grandmother, then 10 months later I lost my grandfather and 5 months after that I lost my dad unexpectedly.
I’ve learned just how precious our time is.
The Internet can be a friend and enemy, but I have been able to discover many things about my family. I located a 1940 census for both of my grandparents that included details about their parents. My great-grandfather was a wholesale leather salesman in West Virginia and earned $1,300 per year.
I also discovered my grandparents established a scholarship fund through their estate at my grandfather’s alma mater, Virginia Military Institute.
I receive correspondence from the recipients each year and updates on their time at VMI. I was not surprised that they added this to their will. It is a testament to who my grandparents were and their passion for education. Both were retired educators. I am honored to continue their legacies.
Just this week, I was searching and stumbled upon an eBay post from a lady selling several copies of the “Virginia Reel” — an alumni publication — that spanned many years.
But one of the copies had my grandparent’s names identified. They were on the cover of the Fall 1958 edition, featuring their wedding day.
The lady still had the copy, which is on its way.
I cannot wait to see it in person, but the quick photo I received showed my grandparents on one of their happiest days, 60 years ago.
I couldn’t help but feel sad that they aren’t here to share this with.
I am truly blessed to be able to hold onto so many wonderful memories.
Everyone has something that takes them back to another time, that makes them long for memories of their past. I take lots of pictures of my family and friends, and have them spread all throughout our home. My hope is that our children are listening to the stories that we tell over and over, and will one day tell them to their kids.
We keep our loved ones memories alive, by telling their stories the best we can and continuing their legacies. I am very fortunate that my boys got to know their great-grandparents, and even though it was only for a short while, they will remember them for the rest of their lives.
Elizabeth Engelhardt is the general manager of the Seguin Gazette. Her column runs every other Sunday.