The Past is Our True Home Town

Anytown High School here – sigh. Immediately after I wrote yesterday’s piece about an old Atlantic City-style beach town I was  invited to join a Facebook page called “I Remember Revere When…”  I don’t in fact “remember Revere when” but I’m glad for all the people who do, as I see them happily writing about their bikes and their hangouts and the brightly striped tube socks of the era.

Last Sunday I spent the better part of an hour on a page called “You Know Your from Lowell when…” and yeah sure it bothers me that whoever put up this page misspelled the short form for “you are” but it seems mean to point that out, the site being full of so many tender memories.

Turns out I’m very nostalgic about the place where I came of age and have been since long before Mark Wahlberg made The Fighter there. Before Ricky Gervais and the dimpled Jennifer Garner filmed The Invention of Lying on its streets too. I wrote about both films, one at the end of December of 2010 and one nearer to that month’s start.  

Lowell became my home when I was 9 and I lived there until the summer after freshman year in college when a prescription for diet pills so altered my judgment that I was walking eight miles to my job every day, madly cleaning the house when I got home at night, and generally living like a combination over-achieving social worker/nun and a speed freak. (I swear all the doctors who gave those pills out to people should have been barred from practicing medicine.)

In early adulthood I probably thought the place hadn’t affected me much but it did. Of course it did, though in a graduating class of 988 kids I really knew my neighborhood pals and the other drama-and-chorus nerds like myself.  

We sigh looking back at the fashions of our young years.Whether it was the Princess Grace-style French twist or feathered-back Farrah-style bangs or that signature 80s  look like Jennifer Beals had in Flashdance when her hair rose like a living Burger King crown from the top of the head.

Poodle skirts, saddle shoes, minis, maxis, the images of a hundred styles and ways to be all live in our minds. All are waiting for us, held and kept safe for us in the memories of the ones we are moving through time with. It’s wonderful isn’t it?