Aging Well in the Gorge ~ March 22nd, 2023

When you listen to a favorite old song, smell a certain perfume, or browse through a picture album, does it trigger images and emotions long forgotten? This nostalgia, the emotions caused by remembering something from the past, has been described by Angela Carter as the vice of the aged. “We watch so many old movies our memories come in monochrome”. And John Thorn uses the Greek description to define nostalgia as the pain of not being able to return to one’s home and family.

Nostalgia is often considered detrimental to your emotional well-being. If you are constantly comparing your current situation to the past and wishing you could return to the “good old days”, it can create a sense of loss, isolation and a corresponding disconnect from the present.

But according to the 2013 New York Times article written by John Tierney “What is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit Research Shows”, nostalgia has many positive benefits. It can provide psychological comfort and support – counteracting feelings of boredom, loneliness, and anxiety. It can raise self-esteem, increase optimism, and bring couples closer together when sharing common nostalgic experiences. And it can bring back memories that remind us that our lives do have meaning.

We can’t go back – time moves in only one direction, and we shouldn’t live in the past. But we can benefit from looking back and recalling the many fond and often embarrassing memories: listening to the Indianapolis 500 in the backyard with all the aunts and uncles; making a basket for the opposing team in a grade school basketball game (But I did get the sportsmanship award that year!); and driving my high school steady home in my grandmother’s ’63 Buick Skylark convertible.

Cherish the memories, but don’t get stuck. The comforting memories of the “good old days” can provide the confidence and strength to look forward to new adventures – and future memories.

Several weeks ago, I mentioned the Klickitat County Newsletter but I don’t want to ignore the folks in Skamania County. The Skamania Senior Services in Stevenson offers a variety of community-based services including their Swiftwater Senior Newsletter. The March/April newsletter is posted online and includes information about the Medicare Savings Program; calendars with activities and menus for March and April; and a Nutrition Tip by Sally Munoz, Nutrition Manager. You can also check out the Skamania County Senior Services Facebook page for the latest.

Brain Tease: Last week’s puzzler was a Dr. Seuss quote which was relatively simple to decipher if you knew that all the letters in the words were strung together and then separated into indistinguishable words. For those who didn’t figure it out, here is the Dr. Seuss quote from last week.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” – Dr. Seuss

The name of the game show where a panel tried to guess contestants’ occupations and also featured a “mystery guest” where the panelists while blindfolded would attempt to determine a celebrity guest’s identity was What’s My Line. I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Mary Pierce, Chuck Rice, Rebecca Abrams, Bruce Johnson, Dave Lutgens, Kim Birge, Lana Tepfer, Donna Mollet, Keith Clymer, and Marny Weting this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I didn’t miss anyone – at least that I know of.

In January I asked a question about the 1954 movie Godzilla which scared me out of my childhood pajamas. But years later I saw another movie that I found even more terrifying.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the frightening 1968 psychological horror film about a story of Satanism and a young wife’s pregnancy starring Mia Farrow, Ruth Gordon, and John Cassavetes and written and directed by Roman Polanski? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a copy of the book of the same title written by Ira Levin

Well, it’s been another week, looking under the couch for that word I’ve forgotten. Until we meet again, only a real friend will tell you when your zipper is unzipped.

“No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.” – Sheryl Crow

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through

Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Hood River

Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center

(541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333)

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services – Goldendale office

(509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068); Skamania County Senior

Services (509-427-3990).

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