Aaah…the good old days

Aaah…the good old days

By Melissa Martin - Contributing columnist

I think that’s why some people like antique stores, Flea markets, auctions, yard sales, and eBay. Items from the past are attached to memories. We remember happy holidays along with what food was served; hairstyles and clothes of the era; television programs and music. Some hanker for the good old days.

The good old days had bad old days as well. Some memories are probably not accurate and are based on how each person remembers it. But individual perception becomes our reality. It seems easy to remember only the good parts of the past and forget about the challenges and struggles. Just like the times we live in now—good days and bad days and in-between days. Each generation looks back on their good old days.

Some like to look back and reminisce about the good old days and others do not. “I don’t do nostalgia. The phrase ‘the good old days’ never passes my lips,” writes Nicholas Haslam.

Maybe it’s an aging thing—the older I get the more I like to listen to and tell stories about yesteryear; the funny, cheery, and goofy memories. Stories are able to transport our mind back to another time and another place.

Philip Pullman declared, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

Aaah…the good old days. And the good old stories.

I met with my aunt Judy and cousin Kim for lunch recently. And of course, we got around to reminiscing about some of the humorous happenings during the good old days of childhood and beyond. We laughed over grocery store stories. Shirley, my mom and her sister, Judy piled the cousins into one vehicle and drove into town to stock up on food. The grocery carts would be crammed full of bargains.

Before being squashed into the car to go home, the moms opened a loaf of bread and slapped a slice of trail bologna on it (without condiments) and we ate lunch in the parking lot.

Then the two hurry-scurry sisters squeezed the kids in the car and packed grocery bags into the trunk and every crevice. Each kid held a bag of something with bags at their feet, over their heads, and in-between each other. “Don’t mash the bread!” yelled one mom. “Don’t you dare open that bag of cookies!” yelled the other one.

“I don’t have enough room!” yelled one kid. “Move other!” yelled another one. And you hoped nobody passed gas, burped, or picked their nose.

We rushed home before the frozen food had a chance to melt. And then the bags, boxes, cans, and cartons had to be separated. And again we heard, “Don’t mash that bread!” How many times did I hear that phrase growing up? Hundreds.

Laughing at shared memories of loved ones that have passed can be medicinal as well. And seems to lessen grief.

Aaah…the good old days.

Shirley, my mom and her sister, Judy shopped at the secondhand shoe store downtown. Pairs were different sizes—that’s why they were so cheap. The right shoe would be size 6 and the matching left shoe would be size 6 1/2 or 7. And searching through the boxes and bins of shoes was comical. Buying shoes for a bunch of kids can be expensive. Nonetheless, our feet survived. And this story is one of my favorite narratives.

We tell stories about the times of yore with affectionate ears and eyes. And with chuckles. Any embarrassment as long since faded.

Every generation has their own hometown memories. Every family abounds with tall tales and embellished anecdotes. Homemade humor—that’s how some people made it through the good old days during the not so good times.

“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days,” writes Doug Larson.

Aaah…the good old days.
Aaah…the good old days

By Melissa Martin

Contributing columnist

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in southern Ohio. Contact her at

Melissa Martin, Ph.D, is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in southern Ohio. Contact her at