I have noticed that things change. While this may not be an earthshattering revelation, this thought led me on a journey of discovery. And that is a trip worth taking.
The words of Thomas Wolfe have been in my mind lately. Wolfe said “You can’t go home.” He wasn’t talking about the fact that I tend to get lost so often that they had to install GPS in my underwear. What he was essentially saying is that: things change and we can’t recapture our younger days. But is this true?
What better way to test this theory than to employ the senses of smell, touch, sight and taste – and that means FOOD! I set out to find as many of my favorite childhood taste treats as possible to see if they were as good as I remembered. Guess what? They weren’t.
Nothing tasted as good as I remembered. I didn’t want to become one of those “fogeys” who said “In my day, things were better,” but that is how I felt. So, I gave it some thought: why did this happen? Did manufacturers simply slack off and let the quality slip? Did they skimp on ingredients? Why in the world did these things seem to bring so much joy into my life back then, and now they tasted bad?
Light Bulb Time
And then it dawned on me: it was quite possible that those things hadn’t changed, but that I had. Perhaps this is what happens to all of us. Maybe we are more optimistic when we are young. We are less cynical, and therefore easier to please. Our experiences are fresh, and therefore more exciting. It would be wrong to blame the world for it’s “lack of quality,” when we first need to examine ourselves.
It may be as simple as the fact that my tastes have changed. It may be as innocent as placing childhood memories on a pedestal. Or it may be that we tie the wonderful memories of our youth to the things that surrounded us in that time. And that is completely fine.
Hitting the Jackpot!
Along the way in my journey of discovery, I found myself in Oswego, the “Camelot” of my college days. My wife and I took a short trip back to our old stomping grounds, though if anyone is familiar with Oswego and the amount of snow it gets annually, they will know that our old stomping grounds were more like old trudging grounds. We visited the classrooms in which I had fallen asleep, strolled through the rolling, green grounds, decorated by shade trees under which I had fallen asleep, and poked our heads into the Student Union, where I dozed off between naps.
And then it came time to have lunch. I wondered whether or not it would be wise to venture to my favorite place to eat while in college, the Oswego Sub Shop, the place where legendary sub sandwiches are made, the place that Al Roker loved so much that they named a sandwich after him. We decided to go.
OSWEGO SUB SHOP IMAGES
This was taking a big chance. I was aching to have a tuna sub, but if it wasn’t as good as I had remembered, would the memories of my carefree college days be tarnished? I had to take that risk, and I am glad that I did, because it was every bit as good as I remembered. And that is why I offer this shameless plug.
Does it matter that “we can’t go home?” No. Childhood memories are burnt into our memories the most vivid of all. It’s okay that we exaggerate our youth into the stuff of legend and myth. It doesn’t matter, because back then we believed that animals could talk and we could fly if properly-equipped with a cape. What matters is that we don’t automatically dislike everything and approach the world with negativity simply because we have aged. Keep the child alive inside you and live your life with the same enthusiasm and optimism. Have fun!
As for me, writing this has made me hungry and that tuna sub is looking mighty good again.