Kate VanVliet

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 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 filled her swimming pool with dirt to grow a garden. My father used to take me on motorcycle rides to secret beaches through rolling hills and tell me stories about living on Venice Beach when he was a teen. He made 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 may not even be accurate. This memory is an evolving thing; it changes over time and new experiences affect how we remember. 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 medicine, 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 Today we toss the term around haphazardly, attaching it to cartoons we watched as kids and out-of-date trends.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 - somewhere between a little silly and a little sad.