Your (Great-Great) Grandmother’s Sewing Machine

Grandma's Sewing MachineNostalgia?

Grandma’s Sewing Machine
Nostalgia? (this blog host) offers free “Themes” for bloggers. That is, they have ready-made free formats for a blog. You simply choose one of the 200 themes you like, click on it, and, voila! you have a blog in the format you’ve chosen.

I don’t have a clue how it works, but it’s fun to use. It’s akin to having someone decide to structure your life and then falling into that pattern without ever having to think. Much like students in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

I say that lest anyone think I have the cyber-creativity to make this myself. I can’t figure out how to make the optional changes to the format that are allowed. The only change I’ve made is to purchase (for $60 per year) the program that allows me to upload videos as well as pictures (below).

When I wanted a photograph for the top of my “theme,” I thought of a picture of my Grandmother’s White treadle sewing machine. I remember where in my grandparents’ front bedroom it sat through my entire childhood. In the room was also a bureau with a picture on it of Grandma Knight’s mother, Great-Grandmother Huntley. Having Grandma Knight’s sewing machine in my living room is, I suppose, as nostalgic as any item of decor could be.

For my students, Grandma Knight was of the generation that would be at least their Great-Great-Grandmothers. Shocking.

The sewing machine could not be the picture in the “theme” because the picture has to be 960×80 pixels, and it woul d have been a slice so narrow you wouldn’t have any idea what it is. So I opted for a picture of the keyboards of my pipe organ.

Not too long ago I was doing a library database search for some unrelated subject and came across an article by Janelle Wilson. She explains the meaning of “nostalgia.” She sets out to help us understand that nostalgia

. . . oozes out of our popular culture. Even those of us who have not experienced a particular decade (e.g., the fabulous ‘50s or the turbulent ‘60s),find ourselves looking back to those eras with a fondness; we fool ourselves into thinking events of those times affect our own personal biography in a very direct way (1).

We fool ourselves into thinking.

I doubt my recent musings about Senator Robert A. Taft are the result of fooling myself into thinking, but I do (as you do) look back with fondness. That’s the point. “Fondness.”

Sometime in the past, my life was better. It’s not clear when, but I often pretend it was when we lived in the “new house” (the parsonage built to my mother’s specifications next door to the “new” building of the First Baptist Church of Scottsbluff, NE).

Never mind that during that time I realized I was gay and needed to keep that my scary little secret. I knew I had seizures, but when I tried to explain them to my parents or our doctor their eyes glazed over. I was fat. And I had two jobs (child abuse?), sometime organist at the church and shoeshine boy at Jack’s Barber Shop.

The stuff of joy and romance, no?

In 2011 The Huffington Post published a list of what they said were the 10 most nostalgic songs of the 1990’s (list below).

I can’t figure out what the post means. Are they songs that, by 2011, were listened to with “nostalgia?” or are they songs that sound like some music from the past that evokes nostalgia?

You might guess I have never heard of any of the singers, much less their songs. So what is nostalgic about them for me? Nothing.

Nostalgia is weird. Yours and mine are so different, we need a different word. Fred Davis agrees that the
. . . special place accorded the “beauteous” past of nostalgia in feeling and action is further attested to by the fact that, In English at least, there exists no antonym for it, no word to describe feelings of rejection or revulsion toward one’s past or some segment thereof (2).

So here’s $60 worth of my nostalgia for you.

sum link for other blog_____________ (1) Wilson, Janelle L. “`Remember When…’ A Consideration Of The Concept Of Nostalgia.” ETC: A Review Of General Semantics 56.3 (1999): 296. (2) Davis, Fred. Yearning for Yesterday: A Sociology of Nostalgia. New York: The Free Press, 1979 (14).

“Top 10 Nostalgic 90s Songs (VIDEO).” Huffpost Arts&Culture. The Huffington Post. 06/26/11. (Web). 27 Feb. 2013):

Sneaker Pimps, “Six Underground.” 7 October 1996.
LFO “Summer Girls”. June 29 1999.
The Cardigans “Love Fool.” September 14 1996.
TLC “Waterfalls.” May 29 1995.
Soundgarden “Blackhole Sun.” May 1994.
Nirvana “It Smells Like Teen Spirit.” September 10 1991.
Blind Melon “No Rain.” September 22 1992.
Ace of Base “The Sign.” February 21 1994.
Alanis Morissette “Ironic.” February 27 1996.
The Verve “Bittersweet Symphony.” 3 March 1998