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Is This Just Nostalgia?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tommy R, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R

    So this morning I was looking at the Abandoned Drag Car thread and (as is pretty typical for me) I kept starring at this old sheetmetal in awe. Often at times like this I'm overwhelmed with a strange feeling that for years I've lacked the vocabulary to adequately explain. It's a rather empty feeling, but filled with endless curiosity. Thinking of the time that's gone by that this car has seen....the memories and lives it's been a part of that now may be gone and forgotten... I often find myself looking at old cars of all sorts in the same manner and sometimes have a hard time looking away.

    I can't help but to look at it and wonder about all the different aspects of the car: the craftsmen who built it, the families that owned it, the hooligans who may have modified it once upon a time. ;) I suspect that's where the empty feeling comes from. I stare at these cars and want to know more, but it's information that I'll never learn (in most cases).

    Call me what you will, but sometimes the feelings I get looking at cars like this are almost overwhelming. And it's not just cars. Looking at the images of abandoned buildings, equipment, etc... Maybe it's just a longing for history? Maybe it's simply nostalgia?

    I honestly don't know what this feeling is or how to describe it. But I suspect if anyone else feels it, too, or at least understands it, it would be you all. Am I alone? Surely not....
  2. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    No, you are pretty normal in that respect. I think a lot of what these steel artworks mean to us who love them is a rememberance of a different time in America. When one of these cars hit the showroom it was an event that the whole family took in. I remember when a neighbor got a new car everyone in the neighborhood went over to see it and stare in awe while the proud new owner told us all of every feature it had and how much hp it made. We couldn't wait every fall to see what the new model year cars looked like.

    We were different back then, we actually knew the people who lived around us and we trusted and cared about them. How many of us even know the people living next door today? I don't. Cars meant excitement and you could name every make and model within a few seconds of seeing it. These days I can only tell what brand a car is by the badging on the hood or trunk, and they all look boringly the same.

    As for the cars we build, we are simply finally getting the ones we couldn't afford to build, or knew how to build, when we were younger. That is probably also why most of us have as many of them as we can make room for. Maybe that is like someone who only had one pair of shoes when they were younger, now they fill up their closet with more shoes than they will ever wear in a lifetime.

  3. landseaandair
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 4,472

    from phoenix

    Whatever it is, I got it too.
  4. Damn, it's a hard feeling to describe but I know exactly the feeling you are talking about. It always get real quiet and frankly it makes me feel..."a longing", is the only way I can describe it. Yet, it's not a bad feeling at all. A quiet respect and reverence.

    It makes me wonder about the history of all the people who (in the case of a car) may have owned it, worked on it, etc. I wonder who they were and what their lives were like. I feel a little sad knowing that these details are probably lost forever in time. What were their names, where did they live/work? Was this car ever driven to the hospital so that someone could be born? What were the original owners feeling the first day they brought it home from the dealership? I think about my own the past, my youth, a time when this country was really great, my parents. I wonder where the car was at any given time and compare it to the timeline in my own life and history in general. Things like "I wonder where this car was during the Cuban missile crisis, or when I was in kindergarten or during the Korean war?" I look for clues hoping to discover something that will reveal a little bit of the story.

    I sometimes wonder if this feeling isn't somehow associated with, and perhaps the primary reason, I am into old cars and hotrods. Am I driven to try and recapture a little piece of the past? It sure isn't for money or status, or to impress my friends. It's something a lot deeper than that.

    Thanks for posting. It has caused me to reflect. I think it's something that most people don't understand.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012

  5. jam0o0
    Joined: Nov 17, 2010
    Posts: 7


  6. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R

    Glad to hear I'm clearly not alone. Thanks, y'all...

    Saxman, you nailed it. Those are the exact same kind of thoughts that run through my mind. Sometimes it makes it difficult to keep starring at these cars or even houses or machinery for that matter....but I can't quite explain why.

    And a proper description for this feeling still escapes me. So until I figure it out, I think the only people who will truly understand are the ones who share it.
  7. '51 Norm
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 741

    '51 Norm
    from colorado

    What really brings the feeling to me is when I find something in the car that reminds me of the people that went before; an old repair done right or that dime that fell into the defrost vent. They all have a story to tell and it makes me wonder what it is.
  8. Yep, the same goes for old houses/buildings and old machinery too.
    Joined: Dec 16, 2007
    Posts: 438


    Glad to know I'm not alone.
  10. Nostalgia: A device that removes the ruts and potholes from memory lane.
  11. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,109

    from Oregon

    If you want to feel overwhelmed by history go to Europe. Here, we are accustomed to things that are a couple hundred years old. There it is centuries.
  12. Nope, for me, that ain't it. I'm looking for the ruts and potholes too. Otherwise the story would be incomplete.
  13. I know what you mean, but for me its a little bit sadder. I'm 31 and I really feel like I missed out on great times. I look at the same thread you mentioned as well as the other abandoned car threads. I think about how those cars were brand new at one time and someone's pride and joy. How someone could just park it in a field and forget about it blows my mind. I've had around 20 cars in my life and each one seemed to have a soul; some good, some bad.

    With the abandoned race cars especially, I can visualize the cars in their day, heavy cam loping, the almost incoherent crackle of the speakers coming from the announcers booth, the cheers from the crowd and the distinctive smell of burnt high octane fuel. I think I'd give away my left foot to spend a day there wherever that was, whenever that was.
  14. Moose223
    Joined: Sep 17, 2007
    Posts: 147


    Longing for those days gone by when honesty and hard work was a staple and provided for us and our families. This has all but vanished in our society. That feeling is still alive in this group and is our duty to pass it to all who long for it! Keep it rollin!
  15. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R

    Oh, I have and you're right. It's easily overwhelming.

    Norm, great thought about the things we find in cars! My '30 A has a Phillips 66 oil change sticker inside the A-pillar. Sadly, it's all the history I have to go on with regard to my own car. What I'd give to know more of its history...
  16. Damn! I don't want to sound like a wuss but that damned near brought a tear to my eye.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  17. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R

    You're not alone, man. I'm 43 and feel the exact same I was born several decades late. But maybe that's why we're all here keep preaching the gospel and teach upcoming generations.
  18. My neighbor and I have become good friends and live the nostalgia. We no longer have a fence, we share workload around the houses and pretty much have free reign over each others places.

    I've come home from work and hes on my roof cleaning gutters and the next day I'm installing a stereo in his garage for him of old parts of mine. We see something cool the other would like and we just pick it up, money works itself out over time.

    Our families celebrate holidays together and cookout in the backyard from a bar we built on the property line. We just had another neighbor move out and friends trying to get into that house to buy a piece of the lifestyle.

    It still exists, but it's in small pockets and like any good score you just stumble upon them.
  19. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    no tommy you arent alone. ive felt that way for yrs.and its not just cars but old buildings movies on t.v. reruns of even dick van dyke can bring it on. and now that my rock n roll is called classic it really sets it to but everyone who has answered has just about nailed it. i long for a time that we shall never have again. when we were strong, and safe in our own homes. and we could play in the streets or ride bikes far away from home and be back by supper.those times are gone. but these old cars bring them back for me.when i drive one of ours. i get different emotions going. depending on what car im driving.the wagon makes me feel like a young gun lookin to drag race someone on the street and i really feel good and young. when i drive my 62 galalxie i feel like all is safe in the world and everything is going to be alright.but there are times and you all can laugh at me i dont care, im a big boy. lol ill tear up when i think about what things were like back in the day and what they are now. without my cars id die a tired old man with no joy left in my heart.when i drive any of them i look out that front glass with 20 yr. old eyes. its a great feeling.
  20. I think what you are feeling is empathy more than anything else, perhaps gross curiosity.

    By the mere definition of the word one cannot wax nostalgic about something or somewhere that they have never been or have not experienced.

    if you look at old pictures of the house you grew up in or where you raised your family and begin to have memories then that is nostalgia, same with looking at an old car or motor cycle you have owned or driven.

    If you want to see pure nostalgia at its best scroll this thread and check out the cars bikes and experiences. These folks who have so candidly bore there souls are being nostalgic or as one may say waxing nostalgic.
  21. lukey
    Joined: May 27, 2009
    Posts: 668


    I get that feeling all the time! Imagine how excited somebody was the day they first drove that car off the lot! The memories people have shared in them, both good and bad. Looking at abandoned cars (or anything really) makes me realize absolutely nothing is forever in this world.

  22. That's what MEK is for a little on the fender or in the ears and you are good to go. :D
  23. Lost in the Fifties
    Joined: Feb 25, 2010
    Posts: 443

    Lost in the Fifties

    I have it, too! I'm haunted by the ghosts of the past and a longing for the times that were.
  24. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,655

    Atwater Mike

    I get mixed feelings about abandoned cars that are desirable.
    First, the rush of excitement over the discovery! Then...the uneasiness of how to get it, how much, and...
    Finally, the reality of practicality. 'How many do I have now...Is this as 'cool' as some I have already?'
    Good thing I don't have another acre...
  25. 4tford
    Joined: Aug 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,758


    I have a need for it. It helps with the aging process for me. It is why I'm still building hot rods at the age of 66. I love seeing memories of the past sad by some but mostley revived by others. This site helps keep the past alive and that is why I'm here.
  26. There are some things from the past that I would certainly revisit, a couple have revisited me, the epidemic that lasted 'til the year I was born for one and of course the recession that happened just shortly after that.

    One of the things that everyone forgets is that the '50s were not all "Happy Days" and "Lavern & Shirley". The '60s were not all "American Graffiti". We had one helluva war in the '40s along with gas and food rationing and a Depression in the '30s.

    We like to remember the good times, and well we should, but one should not forget the bad things about the era that one would like to revisit. A lot of it is better remembered than lived I am afraid.
  27. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R

    P'n'B, I think you're right about the use of the word "nostalgia" since I'm not recollecting my own experiences. Perhaps that wasn't the best choice of words, but I fail to recognize what the best descriptor is. :confused: I read 31Vicky's link to psychopathology and it seems pretty close. It still seems to me that there must be some common word out there that embodies what we all know and feel. Surely, someone with a better vocabulary than me knows? Maybe it doesn't exist?

    Regardless, it's sure nice to know I'm not the only one who has these thoughts.

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