Sunday, March 09, 2008

Adolescent Nostalgia

Legislated Nostalgia:
To force a body of people to have memories they do not
actually possess: "How can I be a part of the 1960s generation when I
don't even remember any of it?"
-- Douglas Coupland, Generation X

My grandmother recently found cards from my mom's 16th birthday. Inside one were the most hilarious prose I've ever read. Because you know that they were written in all seriousness. Maybe times have changed after all. I don't remember envying 17-year-olds' "smoothness."

This is what it said. Capitalization for emphasis is not mine. It's all in the card.

WHAT IS SIXTEEN?

It's a time for looking young, feeling grown-up and being yourself. You can fuss with your hair for hours, spend endless moments over your choice of lipstick, and then go for a long walk in the rain bareheaded simply because you feel like it. You can like record collections, long telephone conversations and BOYS as intensely as you dislike clean sneakers, hanging up and your clothes and bring different from the rest of the crowd.

It's a time for wisdom of a very special kind. For learning the latest slang, the newest dance steps and how to read in the most uncomfortable-looking position.

It's a time for storing memories, the kind that the wilted corsage and the crumpled dance program will always help you to recall. You might have trouble remembering history dates, but you won't forget the date with the cute boy in your history class. You'll be reminded of how your head was in the clouds when he asked you, and how your heart was in your throat before he arrived. But afterwards it will be another happy memory added and another dream begun.

For SIXTEEN is a time for dream; that's part of its special sweetness. There'll be dreams of being famous, of writing a lovely poem, painting a gorgeous sunset, holding a theater audience spellbound. You might envy SEVENTEEN her poise and dream of having her smoothness, but don't forget that SIXTEEN is a magic age that is meant to be lived with eagerness and to be remembered with delight.
I also found this online. It's a reproduction of my mom's paper dolls I used to play with. I'm going to buy this one day. Maybe turn it into an art project of some sort. Retro movie-star cut-out fashions on my wall could be ├╝ber-chic. And nostalgic.


And there's this photo. A friend and I are each going to order one. I owned that dress. My last girlie vintage retrospective of the day:

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