When I was six years old my parents moved me, my brother, our dog, and all of our things across the country in a big yellow school bus. We lived in a haunted family farmhouse for a year. I still have nightmares about that place, even though it's now in the center of a sea of McMansions. My grandmother built dollhouses out of eggshells and broken bits, and filled her swimming pool with dirt to grow a garden. My grandfather, who was very quiet, spent most of his time buying and selling stocks when I knew him. I found out after he died that he was an American spy in East Berlin after WWII because his name was Van Vliet and he spoke decent German. My father used to take me on motorcycle rides to secret beaches and rolling hills and tell me stories about living on Venice Beach when he was a teen. He built sculptures from old farm parts, and rebuilt motorcycles from scratch. I remember, on a camping trip in California before my family left, soaking in a hot springs in-ground tub that was lined in soft, green moss.
We all have one-line stories like these, anecdotal and part of our personal history. Some of them may not even be accurate. Memory is an evolving thing; it changes over time and our new experiences affect how we remember the old ones. Conversation has always been important. I've been curious about mundane ritual too, and how routines shapes the narrative we tell. Part of this is nostalgia - it is a word I find incredibly interesting. "Nostalgia" isn't the same as it used to be. Recently discussed in 19th century medical books, it was a category of disease, describing a ‘vehement desire’ to get home. Symptoms included loss of appetite, restlessness, and feelings of gloom. Today we toss the term around haphazardly, attaching it to cartoons we watched as kids and out-of-date trends. I want to find that sweet spot between the classic and contemporary perception of nostalgia. Objects can be powerful. They tell their own stories, and inspire people to tell theirs.