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anne mikolay 2012 120For Facebook users, “Throwback Thursday” presents a weekly trip down memory lane. I have no idea who invented Throwback Thursday and suspect there might be a psychological twist to such infatuation with days gone by, but it's fun to reminisce and share personal stories. Throwback Thursday is just a nostalgic stream of consciousness, so kindly indulge me as I partake in this social media trend.

Autumn stirs childhood memories for me. I remember a little ditty my kindergarten teacher taught me: “Autumn leaves are now falling...red and yellow and brown...autumn leaves are now falling...see them tumbling down.” Years later, I taught that song to my young sons and to my little pre-k students, who greatly enjoyed tumbling down like the autumn leaves. I remember wearing a burgundy pea-coat as a child in October and November; my dad raking leaves; my mother hanging cardboard scarecrows in the windows beside plastic, lighted pumpkins. When the evenings were cool and crisp, my dad and I walked to the stream and tossed pennies and wishes into the water. My mother collected S&H green stamps and enlisted my assistance in licking the stamps and placing them in the required booklet. S&H green stamps tasted gross, but earned me my very first stuffed animal, a white bull dog I named “Princess”. Today, Princess is carefully stored in a trunk in my attic; my mother's plastic pumpkins are in my basement.

Some things from my days gone by no longer exist, like Korvettes, Grants, and Robert Hall department stores. A big shopping excursion in our family meant a car ride to Korvettes where my dad always bought my sister a glazed donut from the vendor outside. I didn't like Korvettes and much preferred Robert Hall, which sold only clothing and no housewares to bore little girls like me. At Robert Hall, my dad bought me a beautiful gray, striped dress with white ruffles down the front, my absolute favorite dress ever. On Saturday mornings, my sister and I, our pockets filled with our weekly allowance, walked to Grants to buy record albums or 45s. Sometimes our mom came with us, and we had lunch together, but the day always ended with my sister and I laughing and listening to our record albums.

Ah, Throwback Thursday...what else do I remember? Go-go boots, the height of fashion when I was in the second grade; thermoses with glass linings that shattered when dropped; chocolate egg creams from Sedutto's Ice Cream; Sixteen and Tiger Beat Magazines; The Brady Bunch; the TV Guide; only thirteen channels on the black and white television, and cinemas that played one movie at a time. I remember my sister liked Tom Jones, and I did not; she read every Cherry Ames book published, and I did not; she enjoyed vanilla cupcakes; I did not. I liked Donny Osmond, read Nancy Drew mysteries, and ate only cupcakes with chocolate frosting. And Devil dogs, Yankee Doodles, Fudge-town Cookies, and Hostess cupcakes (two in a package for twenty four cents).

My days gone by were happy, safe, much appreciated. Now that I am older, I realize that sense of security and bliss had nothing much to do with the social, political or economic environment of the time and everything to do with parents who made my sister and me their top priority. Alas, we can't spend all our time looking backward or we never move forward, but it certainly is a comfort to me when Throwback Thursday rolls around, and I look behind me and smile.

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