What Makes You Nostalgic?

The other day, I watched a YouTube video where the producers tried to recreate Dunkaroos (photo below). You can find that video here, if you’re curious. Or click here to learn a little more about Dunkaroos.

I’m seldom nostalgic over childhood snacks. As a matter of fact, I’m content to never eat a Twinkie again. (Now Hershey’s Kisses on the other hand . . .)

No, what gets me nostalgic are libraries and bookstores. Just the sight of a book still retaining its Borders sticker—like this one below—gives me the feels. I really miss Borders Bookstore. I used to shop at one in Wheaton, Illinois (photo at the right). It had a coffee shop, where I’d meet friends on many an evening. Local musicians would play on Friday nights. Sometimes poetry slams were held there. I attended many book signings there also.


See the photo below? This is my childhood library—the Walker Branch Library in Chicago (the far south side). Just looking at this photo causes a wave of nostalgia to wash over me. I used to go every week, up the hill to the library. I can still remember the children’s section, and the librarians who gave book suggestions to a curious kid like me who loved to read. I used to carry home several books, and gradually worked my way through the books in the children’s section. I read anything and everything.

I also miss the Barnes and Noble that also used to be in Wheaton—not too far from Borders, actually. When Barnes and Noble closed many of its bookstores years ago, the Wheaton location was an unfortunate casualty. I used to get my copies of the Harry Potter series at midnight every year at that store (along with hundreds of other people). The salespeople in the children’s section knew me.

What about you? What makes you feel nostalgic? While you consider that, as promised, I will now reveal the winners of Yoga Frog by Nora Carpenter and The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider. (For the interviews with these authors, click here and here.)



Thanks to the random number generator, the winner of Yoga Frog is

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Charles Yallowitz!

The winner of The Mortification of Fovea Munson is

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Nicki Chen!

Congrats to the winners! Please comment below to confirm. I hope you enjoy these books!

P.S. Normally, I post once a week. But stay tuned this Wednesday for a special guest post by Sarah Aronson, whose third book of her Wish List series recently debuted. Yay! More on that on Wednesday!

Dunkaroos from thesobremesa.com. Twinkies from tested.com. Author photo of Mary Winn Heider by Popio Stumpf. Book cover art by Chi Birmingham. Author photo of Nora Carpenter by Chip Bryan Photography. Walker Branch Library photo from the Walker Branch website. Borders photo from Yelp. Barnes and Noble logo from comicsbeat.com. Other photo by L. Marie. Lemony Limes Shoppie Doll by Moose Toys.

40 thoughts on “What Makes You Nostalgic?

  1. Congratulations to the winners! I look forward to the interview with Sarah Aronson this week! As far as nostalgia? For me, it’s the old Lego Pirates and Castles sets. The new pirates are simply licensed from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Lego tried to update Castles with the hi-tech fantasy themed Nexo Knights, but they’re a nonstarter for me. I bought one Nexo Knights set for the sole purpose of cannibalizing parts.

    • It’s interesting to learn which LEGO sets are treasured and which aren’t so much. Seems to be the same with movies. Many people liked the first LEGO movie and the LEGO Batman movie. LEGO Ninjago not so much.

  2. Nostalgia is a weird thing. I can never predict when it will turn up, which might be the better way to go. Forced nostalgia feels a little empty to me. One of the more consistent triggers is grocery shopping, which used to be a mother/kid family outing. When I was old enough, I’d be told a few items that I could run off and get myself. It was a lot of fun and one place (that no longer exists) would give free cookies to kids. Don’t think that shopping on my own thing would work these days though.

    Winner confirmation too. 😀

  3. Clever post, complete with snacks that are no-nos for me!

    Photos, especially vintage ones, make me nostalgic. Snapshots are often springboards for whole blog posts. And libraries. Well, I just went online to renew three books. What I can’t get from our massive public library I buy … and pass on if I can part from the book.

    And clever way to announce the winners! You go, girl!

    • Thank you! 🙂

      You’ve post some great photos and diary entries, Marian. I wish I had some family diaries. I can barely keep up my old journals!

      Photos are great. Sometimes I miss the old cameras I used to have and the wait we had to endure to get photos developed. Now a quick snap from a phone and a photo is done in a second.

  4. Congratulations to both lucky winners!
    Oh, how I would love to wander the Walker Branch Library. My first library experience was at the Maywood Branch. It was small with a large window in which the librarian displayed everything bookish. Just recently I read that it was originally an insurance company, then the branch. From there, I discovered the Main Branch which kept me occupied until I left for college.
    I miss the Borders in Oak Brook, L.Marie. Like your Borders, it had a coffee shop, authors. I met Alex Haley there on a cold rainy night. He took time to talk to me, then, sadly passed away a few months later. We, too, went there for music, talks, displays.
    It doesn’t take much to make me nostalgic; scents, food, photos . . .
    I look forward to your next post.
    Oh, have you heard of, or been to, Prairie Path Books in Wheaton?

    • I’ve heard of Prairie Path Books, Penny, though I haven’t yet been there. Someone else asked me about that last month! Must be a sign that I need to go there.

      Walker Branch is a great library. Many buildings in that neighborhood have that architectural style. So appealing!

      Wow! Alex Haley! I wish I could have seen him. Borders was great for book signings! I met Sir Terry Pratchett at Anderson Bookshop a year or so before he died. I’m so grateful to have a signed book by him!

      • I wish it was closer to me as it is one of the best Indie bookstores. They are located near the Metra station in downtown Wheaton, owned and and run by women, and are located in Thoms Price Furniture. They have plenty of book signings, author talks and they have a room, furnished with Thoms Price furniture (probably samples) for book groups to meet. Actually it is probably for the best that it isn’t too convenient for me. 🙂

        I KNOW I would like Walker Branch.

        Oh, my . . . I would have enjoyed meeting Sir Terry Pratchett. I like Andersons. Uh oh . . . I feel a bookstore visit coming on. 🙂

      • Oh, do go in. It is a treasure. The Wade Center is nearby. Have you been there? It houses THE wardrobe of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe fame, as well as a library full of C. S. Lewis’ papers along with much of the “Inklings”.

  5. 1. Congrats to Charles and Nicki!
    2. I’ve been to Wheaton once! We visited friends there as part of an epic road trip in 1992.
    3. Photos make me nostalgic ~ so bittersweet looking at people I’ve loved and “lost.”

    • So much has changed in Wheaton, in the past 20 years, Nancy. So many restaurants have closed, with new ones opening. But it’s still small and cozy!

      I know what you mean. I look at old family photos. The ones with my grandmothers make me sad since they have passed on.

  6. Congratulations to the winners!

    Is that library where you used to go as a child still open? It looks really cool. When I was in grade school, our library in Itasca was in an old Victorian-house section right next to the train station. It was quite small, so when I was in Junior High they built a new one on Irving Park Rd by the public pool. Such a plain building compared to that neat old complex where you used to go.

    We lived in Wheaton in our first apartment as Newlyweds. Then we bought a tiny little duplex in Glendale Heights. After that, the big move to Florida. So glad to be back in the Chicago burbs.

    I get nostalgic every time I go to Mark’s Drugs in Roselle. I know, weird, right? I hadn’t been in that area for 30 years. It’s right near where I went to high school. Across the street diagonally from there is where I got my first kiss!

    • Now you’re making me feel nostalgic! I’ve seen Mark’s Drugs. And I am often in Glendale Heights. 🙂 A good friend of mine lives there.

      Yes, Walker Branch Library is still open. If you click on the name, it will take you to the library’s website. I’m so glad it’s still open!

      • I went to the link. The library opened in the 1800’s! So cool. I did a map search and got directions from my house to that library. It’s 60 miles away from where I live now.

  7. What a pleasant surprise to see my name in the list of winners. Thank you, L.Marie and Mary Winn Heider. I can’t wait to read The Mortification of Fovea Munson. This is my lucky day.

  8. Congrats to the winners and another congrats to the authors of the prizes!

    I relate to your post, L.Marie!
    I’ll add that the Borders was a place I’d book my students’ Christmas Recital – always a hit!
    The thing is, bookstores, libraries, coffee shops, even some basic retail places serve more than just one purpose – yes, to sell a product, but also as social gathering spots. To say ‘who needs brick&mortar when ya got amazon?’ is ludicrous.
    Instead of either/or how about IN ADDITION TO?
    For a little FYI – several years ago, while living in AZ, the local BASHAS grocery stores had areas tucked in corners of the aisles that were meant for shoppers to sit, sip and chat, some even had wine bars next to the coffee and deli counters!

  9. I am still a regular at my childhood library. Over here we have Waterstones book shops, though I do love second hand bookshops. Like The Animation Commendation, above, the shows I watched when young I find incredibly nostalgic.

  10. Thinking of bookstores and libraries, I’m nostalgic for the old Carnegie library that was three blocks from my grandma’s house. When I visited her when I was a kid, we would walk there together in the early evening in summer. That’s just one of the sweet memories I have of doing things with my grandma. I don’t know if you could really call it nostalgia.

  11. Not much makes me nostalgic. I do miss Borders, however. The one nearest us was my favorite place to sneak off to and unwind, wandering through the shelves, lost in bookish daydreams. *sigh* The good old days!

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