Saturday, September 18, 2010

nostalgia is the best invention

When I was a kid, my parents were members of the Moose Lodge in Rockford, so we spent a considerable amount of time in the basement bowling alley. I think early on, before my sister was around, my grandmother came along to keep me occupied. I remember having a collection of coloring books, notebooks, magic slates to keep me busy. How exciting it was to get Cokes from the bar and snacks from the vending machine (the old style pull handle ones). There were old school pinball games I sometimes got to play, and later, arcade games that were just appearing. While I was confined out of the way to the tables at the back, sometimes they would let sit in the colorful seats up near the lanes with the fancy drink holders. I looked up a pic of those lanes this morning and they were so small but seemed so vast at that age.

I dreamed about them last night, about the entire lodge, although in my dream, it was much more lovelier than it actually was. In reality, it was the 80's, and there was a big circular bar upstairs, a couple of ballroom/dining rooms where they held receptions, dinners, and once a year, a much looked forward to kids Christmas show with magicians and Santa and those stockings filled with hard candy. (I can barely eat a butterscotch button and not think of this.) There was a comfy lobby with a central fireplace and one of those table pac-man games, and somewhere a sideroom with a pool table. The bathroom had some sort of lounge area outside it with a couch and chairs (I remember this and there are photos of me as a toddler that seem to have been taken there.) So much of my childhood is pieced together like this (thus the great unsolved alien baby movie mystery). My parents are little help, and my sister was too young to remember much.

I was thinking earlier how much I've no doubt lost to shoddy memory. There is an entire span of years that contain things that may have been real, but also may have been dreams. Odd snippets, bits and leads that don't make alot of sense. I feel like they are getting foggier the further away I get from them. I found myself wishing I'd had some sort of diary as a child to record things. Nowadays, so much is documented (facebook, video, blogs) that there are more relable sources than the human mind for retaining them. I have a few photos, my own odd disjointed fragments.

In last night's dream, they had re-opened the lodge (which closed about 10 years ago completely) and we had gone to visit the basement and I was hit with such a gleeful sort of nostalgia I was almost in tears. Upstairs, though, was totally different from the actual, but a bright glitzy sixties cocktail lounge with sunburst wall decor, all rhinestones and yellow and aqua, a dance floor, and blue drinks in martini glasses that seemed to glow from within. It was definitely more Vegas than Rockford Moose Lodge, but it was so gorgeous it also made me cry in the dream for being something so lost and unreal. (and yes, I have been known to get overly emotional about vintage design).

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