The Star-News


Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

Sat, Dec 10 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

The problem with nostalgia is it’s not realistic. Like former presidents and corrupt cops, nostalgia distorts history and truth until all you have is a really good story that’s closer to fiction than fact.
Without fail at this time of year I recall the days when I attended Catholic school and we’d host our annual Christmas pageant.
The first image that comes to mind is the long blonde hair of the prettiest (and most developed) girl in class. During rehearsals I’d get to stand next to her for an hour a day. She smelled like strawberries and her lip gloss was shiny. I remember her fondly.
But further reflection reminds me: she was kind of a witch.
As the defacto leader of the cute girls clique, the blonde one was quick to loudly criticize anyone who did not conform to her standards of dress or behavior.
Izod and Polo were big at the time and anyone who didn’t wear those clothes while listening to the Romantics or the Stray Cats  was dismissed as poor and retarded.
When you’re 13 years old, the labels applied by your peers can often be oppressively heavy.
Recollections of other misdeeds by my sugar plum fairy snap me back into reality. While the blonde one was pretty and smelled nice, she was a mean one. Luckily for me I didn’t merit any attention and I escaped her wrath and critiques — or at least I have successfully blocked them out.
Nostalgia also tries to trick me into wishing I could relive the days of watching my younger siblings at their school Christmas shows. Nearly two decades separate us. They were cute when, as kindergartners, they were dressed as reindeer or shepherds or Christmas trees and sang songs about rooftops and silent nights.
I’d like to relive those moments. That is, until I remember that I had to sit through eight other grades which also were asked to perform and sing and reenact the nativity scene from the Bible.
Suddenly, the warm memory of watching my little brothers and sister perform is clouded over by the recollection that I had to sit in a packed, stuffy auditorium filled with parents and relatives who, in addition to wearing gallons of perfume and cologne, forgot that there were people seated behind them.
More often than not I spent most of the evening watching people standing in front of me as they videotaped their children or stood nice and tall while waving, making sure their little angel could see them in the audience. 
There’s nothing like Christmas time nostalgia. As long as you don’t let the facts get in your way.


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