Nostalgia–the new Wonder Drug?

Art deco entrance to Santa Anita's grandstands.
Image via Wikipedia

Once again we had house guests this weekend. Our close proximity to the Rose Bowl brought the UCLA football enthusiasts into town, adding two adults and two young children to base camp.  We certainly make adjustments to our schedules when guests come to stay, but the truth is that I enjoy the opportunity to share our home with young families, creating new memories for the children, and also allowing me the nostalgic indulgence of momentarily recreating the bustle and havoc of family life–before the children left the nest!

And then just as we complete making adjustments and accommodations, our company packs up to leave us.  Departures! What an emotional energy shift.  I’m fine with repositioning ourselves and reclaiming quiet, but I do like transitions!  I’m usually not quite ready to quickly jump back into the norm.  So we waved goodbye and hastily dressed for church. Now my early Protestant beginnings don’t often combine “church and track” in the same sentence…and Never on Sunday— nevertheless, following church we headed over to Santa Anita Park for lunch.

The 53rd Annual Pasadena Greek Fest wasn’t held in Pasadena at all, but in Arcadia at the historic Santa Anita Park.  My husband has a deep nostalgic affection for this historic landmark. No, he doesn’t typically get too involved with playing the ponies, but he grew up in its shadow and relishes the opportunity to mill about the place.  First a large and tasty Greek Salad lunch and then we comfortably ambled about poking our noses into areas not as easily accessible on race day.

Santa Anita is a prominent fixture in the East San Gabriel Valley, with gorgeous panoramic views of the San Gabriel Mountain range and beautiful art deco architecture. The huge park-like atmosphere offers so much more than horseracing, although for the enthusiast, Seabiscuit did win the annual Santa Anita Handicap in his 1940 last career start.

Statue of Seabiscuit

Although the festival was secondary to our enjoyment of the park, it was restful watching carefree adults dance to the melodic Bouzouki while we sampled Baklava, Kataifi and other phyllo pastry treats.  What a nice way to transition from weekend to Monday morning workweek.

For both Jay and I the weekend offered ample opportunity to indulge in some healthy nostalgia.  Family time and young children populating our house allowed me to happily indulge in the memory of the years my own children ran through the house with their shoes clattering on the hardwood floors. And for my husband, being on the Santa Anita property elicits fond remembrances of boyhood adventure (or misadventure) as he recalls ferreting the grounds with his older brother and sister, scrambling over railroad tracks and through storm drain systems–where no child today would be allowed.

Nostalgia is good for our well-being, or so say the experts.   An article posted on quotes psychologist Krystine Batcho as saying that nostalgia “is the glue that keeps things together.” Apparently looking back with fond remembrance provides a continuity of self, with a rebound well-being boost! Nostalgia is often a pro-social coping strategy in times of stress.  And you may as well face it, even too many GOOD things, events and preoccupations can still be a bit stressful.

So maybe this week, if you’re old enough to remember Bob Hope, you can croon a few bars of “Thanks for the Memories” and indulge in a little quiet reflection! It will be good for you.


.Nostalgia As A Drug | Real World Research.

2 thoughts on “Nostalgia–the new Wonder Drug?

    1. Truth be told, Kate, I think I’m a bit undecided right about now. I may need to close the “bed and breakfast” and stay a little closer to home for at least a short season. I admit I’m a little tired! I love reading about your family, though–and I can tell that you are always peering around the corner discovering something exciting to do…and write about! 🙂 Debra

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