I can’t get enough of this song.

Here’s a popular country pop song that has more meaning than most current offerings in this genre. I posted the lyric video because I think they’re special. There are those times in our lives we remember many years later because they still remind us that sometimes even the most humdrum life can surprise us with moments of perfect happiness. Those memories keep us going even when the present and future look bleak.
If I played guitar I sure would love to learn how to play this song.

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Maybe not the oldest thing I own.

clock_radio_1983

Quite possibly, this GE clock radio maybe among the five oldest things I own (not including photographs). I know it’s not the oldest thing I own but it’s damn near it anyway and the only one I still interact with everyday.

I’ve had the thing since 1983 and it still works like the day I bought it or acquired it or stole it back in the day when I was still called “a kid.”

I remember when my kids were little, they liked to play with it, and that meant dropping it on the floor and pretending it was a factory being hit by a Lego hailstorm.

In spite of their abuse, its sturdy brown plastic housing that’s as firmly attached as a carapace has held up, its cord is supple and undamaged, and its red numerical glow never burned out or faded away. The GE clock still keeps the time and wakes me up with modern country or indie rock instead of Boy George or Cyndi Lauper or Asia.

For 33 years, it has kept up with the changing musical landscape that filters through its tiny but powerful speakers, its tinny sound wafting through my eardrum and finally lodging itself into the long-term memory sector of my brain which transforms the sound into long-forgotten recollections and emotions.

I bet that clock will still be waking me and making me remember until I’m dead and can’t hear it anymore.

Things just aren’t made to last anymore. In 1983, of course, we all said the same thing.

“Simpler times.”

record_player

I remember growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s, I always heard grown-ups talk about the 1950s, which I don’t remember because I was born at the tail-end of that decade. People of my parents’ generation talked about how much simpler things had been in the decade of poodle skirts, The Honeymooners, Chuck Berry, and suburban conformity.

I remember my record player that I got when I was about 6. It was one of those boxy plastic affairs inside an aqua faux-leather box and had a pearlized plastic and chrome handle. It had a dial that said 16-33-45-78. Even back then, 16 rpm and 78 rpm records were pretty much obsolete, but one of my favorite things to do was obsessively play my children’s records on the various settings. My favorite was 78 rpm because it made everything sound like the Chipmunks. It made me laugh. The 16 rpm setting was scary because it made voices sound demonic–like the death metal which was still far off into the future. I used to wonder if there was even a such thing as a 16 rpm record? If so, I never saw one. I do remember a babysitter gave me a molded plastic album filled with her old records from her childhood, which included 78s. They were very small and came in colors other than black. I should have kept them; they would probably be worth something today.

My first album was The Monkees. I was obsessed with the TV show and in love with Mickey Dolenz. I used to play “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville” over and over, and kept scraping the needle back over the record to hear those songs again. All the other little girls I knew were in love with Davey Jones, but he just never did it for me. I look at old pictures of Mickey today and wonder what my 8 year old self saw in him. He really wasn’t that cute. One time a babysitter and her boyfriend played a joke on me. She had her boyfriend call and pretend he was Mickey. She handed me the phone and with a twinkle in her eye, said “it’s for you.” I half-believed it was true. I wanted to believe it was true. But when she told me it was a joke, I just said, “oh, okay, I knew it was a joke anyway.” I’m not sure if I did or not. I was so gullible back then. I went back to my room to play my Monkees album again.

the_monkees

I remember the orange and white plastic AM transistor radio I got for Christmas that same year. I was so proud of being able to keep up with all the hit songs. It made me feel so grown up, almost like a teenager. It seemed in those days new songs stayed on the radio for a shorter period of time than they do now–the maximum was about 3 months. “American Pie” was one of the few that remained in rotation for 4 or more months. I lost my radio about a year later when I failed to rake the leaves. When my father found out, he took me out to the garage, told me to bring the radio with me, and as I stood there, he smashed it to bits with a shovel. I was inconsolable. I would have rather been beaten.

I was in my teens during the 1970s and graduated to a real stereo. It was a one-piece console but still a stereo and I could get FM radio, which was considered much cooler than AM. Stereos were a big deal in the 1970s. Outside of fancy stereophonic equipment and color television, we didn’t have a whole lot in the way of entertainment technology. That wouldn’t happen until the 1980s with its VCR and personal computer revolution.

The advances made since the 1980s have been staggering. In the 1990s the Internet was introduced to the public and at first people dismissed it as a fad that would soon pass. Ha! Little did I know that in two decades, it would completely change my life. The Internet was like manna from heaven for socially awkward introverts like myself.

There were also the first cell phones (which almost no one had due to the expense and they didn’t work too well). The turn of the century ushered in the communications revolution, with cellphones beginning to supplement or even replace the old landline phone. The Internet is barely recognizable from what it was in the 1990s. When I look at videos now of the early Internet, it looks so primitive, like something from 100 years ago. It’s hard to believe it was only 20 years ago it looked like that. Things are changing with dizzying speed and time itself seems compressed.

netscape

When I look back on the 1960s and 1970s now, they seem so innocent. Kids didn’t have computers and TV was still pretty limited because so few people had cable TV yet. But what we did get was free. Watching TV became a something families did together after dinner, instead of each family member going off to watch their own show or play a game on their own TV or computer. Kids played outside, because, well, there was nothing else to do. In a technological sense, the 1970s weren’t a whole lot different than the 1950s, even though attitudes had changed pretty drastically.

The 1970s to me seem like another lifetime, not merely 40 or so years ago. Now I hear people talk about “those innocent 1970s” and I laugh because when we were in them, no one thought they were that innocent at all.

With all that said, I’ll leave you with this:

Narcissists and sentimentality

family_portrait
Not my family, just a nice random portrait I found.

Narcissists can put up a good front of being sentimental if they need to. For example, if a narcissistic man is trying to win a new conquest for a source of Narcissistic Supply, he will shower his woman with candy, gifts and flowers (sometimes purchased at her expense, as mine did to me) but as soon as he’s conquered her attentions, any shows of sentimentality come to a screeching halt.

It’s my observation, at least in the narcs I have lived with, that they are angered, annoyed, or bored by nostalgia or genuine sentimentality.

My MN mother was notoriously unsentimental. Besides the matter of ditching her first two daughters to their father when they were two and seven years old (which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to them), our home was always sterile–not just of dirt (she was a huge clean freak, which many narcissists are) but also of any evidence of sentimentality. For example, family photos were consigned to bedrooms because to display them in public areas was, in her mind, tacky and declasse. Better yet to keep them in albums and safely tucked away in the attic or on the bottom of a never-used bookshelf.

Not long ago, I emailed my mother about obtaining some of the family photos (I have very few) and never heard back from her. I emailed her again about it, and she said she didn’t know where they were, but she might have thrown them away.

THROWN THEM AWAY? Who DOES that?

When my parents divorced, my mother decided our Christmas tree would be decorated with white lights with red bows and silver and red ornaments ONLY. Anything else was too tacky for her. All my childish creations that my father had hung so proudly from our tree went into the trash. Our tree looked as sterile as our apartment, like a tree in the lobby of a bank.

nostalgiasucks

Narcissists have no feelings of nostalgia for past times or good times shared. That’s because they can’t feel love or the warm and fuzzy feelings that other people do. Or it’s too painful for them and they don’t want to feel that pain.

My MN ex husband was like this too. He couldn’t stand it when people got nostalgic and said nostalgia was “creepy.” (Slight correction: he was creepy). That even extended to listening to old music from our teens and early 20s. He told me once he thought nostalgia was stupid. We had a huge fight about that.

He hated “period” movies or TV shows, especially those that focused on decades during his own lifetime (the 60s, 70s and 80s). He made fun of me for liking “The Wonder Years” and ’80s music. He accused me of living in the past.

He never even liked to look at photos of our two children when they were younger. Although he started out as a wonderful dad (he turned out to be anything but), he told me he hates babies and that’s why he didn’t want to look at their baby photos. These are his own CHILDREN! He got annoyed when I wanted to put some of their old baby and school photos around the house in frames. I have no idea why he had such a strong reaction to my doing this. It was weird.

He doesn’t even like to TALK about the kids when they were young. If you try, he just tunes out or acts irritated.

Once when I asked him why he reacted so strangely to sentimentality and nostalgia, he actually gave me an answer that made sense. He told me it was because his life was always so miserable he didn’t want to remember anything. The past reminded him of his own mother (she was malignant too and very abusive)–even his past with me and our children. The good times we had in the beginning of our relationship were dismissed in his mind as bad times and somehow associated with his mother. He just became enraged if you reminded him that there were good times. In his mind, life was just excruciating in general and nothing was worthy of remembering fondly. ALL memories were tainted by the malignancy of his abusive, cold mother, in his mind.

I think he envies those who are able to feel nostalgia and look upon the past fondly, so he feels the need to denigrate and make fun of them for doing so.

Even I can find joys in my past, as dysfunctional, painful and stunted as it was.

I find it extremely sad that he could never do that.

Fivehundredpoundpeep posted a similar article today so I am linking to it here. She has a wonderful blog.

Anyone remember Merrimints? Well, they’re back (sort of)

merrimints

As a child, my mother used to purchase boxes of Delson’s Merrimints for bridge and dinner parties. I wasn’t allowed to eat them, since they were for company, but I knew how to get to the high shelf in the butler’s pantry where the sweet forbidden treats were kept and ate them anyway, much to my mother’s annoyance.

The original Merrimints came in boxes with a cellophane window, and included orange, lemon, wintergreen (pink), peppermint (white) and spearmint (green) mints. They were shaped like discs with ridges on the underside and had a unique and wonderful consistency. If you’ve ever eaten maple sugar candies, they had almost the exact same texture: a thin crystallized surface but they would melt in your mouth like butter, becoming immediately almost liquid. They tasted like heaven. They were about the size of silver dollars, perhaps a bit bigger.

merrimintsad
A magazine ad from the 1960s or 1970s.

Merrimints have not been made since the early 1970s. Here is the story of what happened to them: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/The-truth-about-Merriments-finally-m272386.aspx

People haven’t forgotten Merrimints though, and people all over the Internet who remember them lament their demise.

Several small candymakers, responding to the continued demand for these crystal-to-creamy confections, have attempted to recreate their own “Merrimints,” and they do taste almost exactly like the originals.

Oliver’s Candies has made their own version, very true to the original, but are missing the orange mint flavor (apparently this was the least popular flavor, but it was actually my favorite).
You can order them from their website: http://www.oliverscandies.com/index.cfm/product/110_10/pastel-mints–merrimints.cfm

closeupmints
A close up of Oliver’s “Merrimints”

The Vermont Country Store (almost everyone probably gets their catalogue during the holidays) also offers their own version, “Pastel Mints.” These are also missing the orange mint flavor, but I have tasted them and they are exactly like the originals, although they may be a tiny bit smaller.
The Vermont Country Store also offers red Pastel Mints in cinnamon. I haven’t tried these, but they sound intriguing so I may order some.

You can order both the Cinnamon and regular Pastel Mints from VCS’s website: http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/productDetail/Food_&_Candy/Sweet/Candy/Pastel_Mints/65414
There is even a photo in which you can scroll your mouse over it to zoom in for a closeup. Unfortunately I’m not able to copy the photo here.

I did find one recipe for Merrimints-like wafers. I haven’t tried it, so I have no idea how true to the originals they taste, but I’ll go ahead and reprint it here, in case any nostalgia candy buffs want to try to make them.

“Merrimints” recipe (from Allrecipes.com):
2c. sugar, 1c. water, 2tbs. cornsyrup or 1/8 tsp cr. of tartar flavorings dissolve sugar in water &syrup, cover and cook slowly for 2-3 minutes’remove cover and boil without stirring til it hits 238 (soft ball stage) remove from heat and pour on large platters until lukewarm knead until creamy, leave in a tightly covered container overnight to make the merrimints, melt some of it in top of double boiler add flavor and color, drop by tsp. onto waxed paper, cool, peel off and turn over and let dry, store between pieces of parchment”

EXCITING UPDATE! https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/03/10/incredible-news-for-my-merrimints-fans/