The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Nostalgialistic

The hurt and healing of reminiscing about the past
Nostalgialistic
Photo by Marisa Valdez

Sometimes, when I think too deeply about the past, I get stuck in it. I find myself missing the places, the memories and the people. Some of them I can still visit. Others though, are gone.

I have found myself using spare moments to reminisce. As a result, I have come to realize the memories I miss most are sleepovers at my grandparents’ house.

I grew up on the outskirts of a small city in South Central Wisconsin. I lived less than a mile from my dad’s parents. I would ride my bike over to their house quicker than I think I ever could now. 

Their house was nothing special — a fading yellow color with dark brown shutters, and an interior riddled with memories. I loved it. It was what a home was supposed to feel like.

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I spent most of my time with them in the summer, so my days with them typically followed the same structure. But regardless, I was never bored. 

My dad’s side of the family is outdoorsy — they hunt and fish often. Though I could never bear to release an arrow, I did love fishing.

After being dropped off by my parents for the day, my grandpa would immediately tell us to put down our things and go outside with him. There was a garden in the yard, one that my brother and I would help to plant and take care of.

Once finished, we would go fishing. His red Jeep was rusty at parts and almost too high up for me to jump into myself. The drives were peaceful and usually led to one of our normal spots.

The results of our fishing trips varied. Some days, we came back to the house with five fish, some days with 30. I still pride myself in being better than my brother at casting the line out, though I was never brave enough to take a fish off the hook.

My grandpa did a lot of the tasking work. He loved doing it, he loved me and he definitely loved fishing. He braved solo trips no more than a month before he succumbed to his cancer.

When we returned from our adventures, my grandma would always be in view, whether it be in the living room reading or in the kitchen baking. 

If she was baking something, I would always join her. If not, I went outside to sit with my grandpa as he got the fish ready for dinner.

We always ate dinner together. Usually fish, bread or fruit of some sort. If my grandma and I had baked, it would usually be something made from rhubarb from the garden. 

After dinner, the true fun began. My grandparents had a stereo in their living room. It played the radio, as well as CDs and cassettes, which were stacked on each side of the stereo.

The most frequent selection was my favorite: “Pure Imagination” by Michael Feinstein. I still have it, and the songs, though technically for children, are still amazing in my opinion. 

Once selected, I would put the cassette into the stereo and press play. I would dance around the living room to “Swinging on a Star” and “The Jitterbug.” My grandparents would sit in their chairs to watch, and my brother would join me in acting out “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.”

I felt untouchable and unjudged. The atmosphere of that house is one I miss dearly. Joy filled the rooms more than air did. Joy became my air, and I never felt short of breath.

Once the sky darkened and our eyelids became heavy, we were put to bed and usually slept right up until the moment we were picked up to go home. 

I feel both a longing and a comfort. To know that those days of simple pleasure are supposed to be over is difficult, but memories last forever.

Since my grandpa’s passing, I haven’t gone fishing once. I don’t think I could. I hold onto him however I can. I play my cassette often and am reminded of all the good that I forget to appreciate. 

People can’t stay forever, but memories can.

Braun can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Elyse Braun, Chief Copy Editor

Elyse Braun is second-year journalism and psychology student. This is her second semester on The Spectator. If you can't find her she's either reading a book, getting coffee with friends or hanging out with her mom.

Marisa Valdez, Graphic Designer
Marisa Valdez is a second-year graphic design and multimedia communication student. This is her first semester on the Spectator team. She is active in the University Honors Program and UWEC InterVarsity. Additionally, she is employed at UW-Eau Claire's Learning Technology Services (LTS) as well as Printing Services. When she's not engaged in academic-related activities, she loves to crochet, watch movies, talk with close friends, hammock, hike, practice yoga, dance or read!

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