Sweet Nostalgia

So we went to see the Simpsons last night on the big screen. I can’t say that I LOVED the movie, but I did enjoy going to the theatre with my little family. Let’s face it, there’s not a big crossover of activities in which both children can take pleasure. A 5-year old’s idea of a good time differs widely from that of an 11-year old. Up to this point, I have dropped off the eldest and dad at the theatre, and the littlest and I head to the playroom or library or anywhere else really. I think B liked eating the popcorn the best. We made the error of allowing her to hold onto the bag for the duration of the movie.

Next weekend, my parents are treating my family and my sister’s family to a weekend in Michigan. As children, my parents took us to Frankenmuth nearly twice a year. Trips would coincide with back-to-school shopping or Christmas shopping, and we would always take friends or relatives with us, so we were forced to do the tourist thing every single time. There was always the obligatory family-style chicken dinner at Zehnders or the Bavarian Inn, popcorn, Pac-Man, and beer (for the dads) at Tiffany’s, wandering for hours in the Bronners Christmas Store, sucking on fireballs and spending days gazing at the intricate dollhouses on display at Rau's Country Store. Even better were the deals we would get at Birch Run! Oh dear. One summer, we all got fitted with extensive Gitano wardrobes when all the clothes were marked down by 90%! Keep in mind, we’re talking late 80’s here – it was cool. Sort of. I got my first Benetton rugby shirt at Birch Run in bright green. I wore that shirt until it was ratty. I also bought loads of Bass penny loafers! I loved the 80’s.

I went with my little family last summer, and although we did all the same things, it wasn’t the same. For them, it was their first time, and reminiscing was out of the question. They couldn’t imagine in their wildest dreams the rooms of dollhouses upon dollhouses all dressed for every possible occasion. Back in the day, we literally spent an entire afternoon looking at each dollhouse, pointing to every detail in absolute amazement and giving the displays the right amount of admiration they were fully due. The tiniest mother-flippin’ roll of bathroom tissue would send us reeling!! The dollhouses are gone now. They’ve been replaced by signs. Signs? Rooms and rooms of signs. I don’t really get the allure of signs, but apparently they’re more lucrative than dollhouses.

It’s fascinating how experiences are completely different from when you are a child to when you are an adult. I guess it’s all perspective. As a child, it wasn’t my hard-earned money we were burning. That’s harsh, but that was one new perspective I was handed when I took my own family. How did my parents afford the family-style chicken dinner for all of us a couple times a year? This continues to be perplexing. The Bavarian style was colourful and musical and nearly like an amusement ride – even as a teenager, but as an adult, my artistic senses were assaulted. But in a good way – I mean, I giggled and stayed up nights wondering who had to design this nightmare of wood and bright paint. What made people flock to this cheese? In my case, I must return time and again because of the tradition and the fondness of my memories. It will continue to be tacky, and I might be a little embarrassed when people ask me where we’re heading, but I will still suggest it as a weekend getaway or a roadtrip just because.

So if you're wondering where I am on Labour Day weekend, I will proudly answer that I will be joining the throngs of insane consumers in Michigan while re-immersing myself in some over-the-top Bavarian/German culture. It's a bit white bread, but it's what we Reeves's do.



Anonymous said...

So, you took "friends" with you...don't remember ever going...That's it-you're taking me as soon as we can arrange it-just the two of us AND treating for the chicken dinner!! :P