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Reminiscing on times gone by

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The August issue of Our State magazine sent me on a walk down nostalgia lane. The editor grabbed me immediately when she wrote, “These days, I’m cold all the time — at work, in movie theaters, in restaurants — blasted by unrelenting, arctic air-conditioning.” Me too.

Then she went on to talk about those pleasant pre-air conditioning heat-beaters — hanging cool wet clothes on the line or sitting in a porch swing seeking a breeze, paper fan in hand and a cool glass to rub on the inside of your wrist, or gathering on that same porch at night to chat and watch the lightning bugs and the occasional shooting star. In Wake Forest, we were lucky enough to have a wonderful pool to visit on hot summer afternoons.

Next, I read about little boys kicking through tidal pools on Topsail Island at night and discovering the tiny, glowing creatures that lit up the water like aquatic fireflies. So many of my summer nights were spent that way since the children and I usually stayed at the beach until we had to come home and wash clothes. We had no washer and dryer in the cottage and there weren’t any laundromats on the island then.

Then, there’s an article on Sunday suppers. My parents had friends with whom they alternated eating on Sunday nights and every other week, I got one of my favorites — creamed chicken on waffles. The article also talks about Sunday dinners, which were different, and were eaten in the middle of the day with lots of people gathered around a table laden with chicken and ham and vegetables and relishes and biscuits, with an array of desserts on the sideboard. That wasn’t my mother’s style, but was a staple when we visited my grandmother.

As if all that wasn’t enough nostalgia, the last page of the magazine featured Douglas “Peahead” Walker, a legendary football coach at Wake Forest College in the 1940s. That was a blast from the past!

Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.

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