DeAvian Wright (left) and Rochelle Mosby (right). Photo by Khi Davis

When it comes to nostalgia, memories can go as deep as the first day someone gains consciousness. In some cases, some memories can stick out more than others.

Let’s be real. We’re all getting old. Let’s reminisce on good times. 

Nostalgia is a crazy thing. There can be a TV show that takes people back to their childhood. But the funny part is, it’s not always just a show. Any of the five senses can activate it. Even throughout time, nostalgia can vary through different generations. 

Let’s take it back to 1964, when the AEH Division Assistant Rochelle Mosby was born. Although nostalgia has been recognized through various decades, her feelings are normally triggered by music. 

“The music will trigger something that’s like, a memory…for me, if it’s a particular song, it will trigger nostalgia for me. It’s not always seeing something.” Mosby explains. 

As the years go by, moving into 1995, OCCC student and student worker DeAvian Wright has arrived. To this day, he feels nostalgia while he watches his son grow up. 

“Whenever my son does something new. It always takes me back to the first time he was doing it.” Wright states.

Five years later, 2000 babies and OCCC members Brindisi Milton and Emily Wheatley were born. Funny thing, they both recently encountered nostalgic shocks through a mysterious scent. 

“I smelled something that brought back a memory of something from back in high school of a food that my friend and I kind of created out of a bunch of different snacks from the dollar store…I just was on random walk. But it made me go to the grocery store, buy all the ingredients and put together this little concoction.” Milton expresses.

Different smells could take anyone back to the past. For Milton, it was high school, but for Wheatley, it was elementary. 

“I had a nostalgic smell the other day, this past weekend actually. That took me back to my aunt’s house. She used to live in California. And we moved from there a while ago. And it was like a key memory…it took me back to when I was little, running through her house when I was six.” Wheatley reminisces. 

Brindisi Milton. Photo by Khi Davis

When it comes to nostalgia, memories can go as deep as the first day someone gains consciousness. In some cases, some memories can stick out more than others. 

“Oh, I can just picture it all…one of my purest memories that I’ve got is running around on that playground with my little stuffed bear.” Wheatley states.

She continues, “Way back, I was probably around four and I was at this daycare called Tutor Time. And we go outside for recess and stuff. And I had this stuffed bear. And it was at the end of the year where they have like those little parties and stuff like a summer go away thing. And we were doing lunches outside and we could bring like a stuffed animal and like bring it with us. And I remember that whole playground and like the little bear and lunch and all that. It’s really crazy when I look at pictures from my school.” 

According to Milton, her purest memory goes back to her 10th birthday. 

“I remember it, detail for detail…I invited all my family and several friends from school. And we were all squished in my teeny tiny backyard…it was my first pinata and we all took turns hitting the pinata…no one was able to break it. So then the parents had to come in and destroy the pinata.” Milton states.

Speaking of kids, the birth of one can leave an everlasting imprint on the mind. With that special date appearing, both Mosby and Wright consider the birth of their kids their purest memory. 

Food can bring on flashbacks, whether it’s snacks or a specific meal. For instance, Mosby has fond memories of hot dogs, more so because she doesn’t like them. 

“Every time I see there’s a hot dog…I just remember when I was, maybe six. My grandfather used to have wiener roasts. And he would dig a little pit in the yard. And you get a wire hanger and everybody would stick their hot dog over the fire to get it a little charred. I never liked hot dogs…But we were having a fourth of July celebration. And they had made hotdogs for all the kids…And I hated hot dogs. One of my aunts made me take it. And I took it and I threw it in the street. One of my cousin’s ran over it with a bicycle and kind of slipped and then it was just a whole big thing. But whenever I see it, I keep going back to when I was six. And I first had that hot dog, trying to figure out how to get rid of the hot dogs without telling people I hate hot dogs.” Mosby explains.

Similarly, Wheatley doesn’t like coffee, but the smell gives her a memory of living in California. 

Growing up with a “sweet tooth,” Wright’s nostalgic food is candy. 

“It just makes me want more candy,” he states. 

A throwback for Milton is her spaghetti nights with her family. She describes them as “a big deal in our house.” 

Before Netflix and other streaming apps became famous, VHS tapes, DVDs, and cable were the original ways of binging shows. There are many ways shows that can bring back memories. Such as theme songs or even certain scenes. 

“I used to just watch cable…I used to watch a show called Word Girl, and Cyberchase…Oh my gosh, The Replacements…Bear in the Big Blue House, that was a big one. I used to have like a big stuffed animal of the main character and then all the little ones about little main characters when I was young.” Wheatley states. 

When it comes to Mosby, her nostalgia stems from movies like Jackie Brown, The Color Purple, and The Godfather. Between family ties and personal enjoyment, these films take her back. 

Growing up without cable, Milton enjoyed watching different “Christian channel shows.” Her nostalgic show is St. Bears Doll’s Hospital. 

“There’s a lot of old shows that when you when you see it yourself like Oh, I remember that” Milton states. 

Perfectly stated. It’s as if old shows trigger those younger days of watching TV. 

Speaking of which, a show that takes Wright back is Avatar, The Last Airbender. He’d be given flashbacks when he had his “Fruity Pebbles and action figures” while watching. 

If it’s not a scene, it could be a tune. Music has the ability to bring back throwback memories. Such as Mosby’s love for Bruno Mars and Anderson. Paak, as Silk Sonic, creates a groovy throwback type of sound.  

“Right now I’m in love with Silk Sonic, because their music gives kind of that 70s feel. And then I started to think of all the songs from the 70s that I love. But I have playlists from Yeah, from 2022 all the way back to the 1960s.” Mosby expresses. 

Church songs like ‘Never Be Defeated’ bring flashbacks to Wright.

“Anytime I listen to gospel music, because I was raised in church and stuff like that, it always takes me back to flashbacks. And when I was just dislocated running around in the church, and they were singing those songs.” he states.

When it comes to Wheatley, her nostalgic tunes surface from artists like Tori Kelly and Kidz Bop. In a similar fashion, Milton feels nostalgic when she hears various 2000s music.

“Her early songs are take me back to when I had like her CD on my little CD player with my little headphones. And I took them everywhere.” Wheatley reminisces.

Music can bring back those random childhood memories, whether around the house or on an iPod. Good times.

Emily Wheatley. Photo by Khi Davis

So what exactly is nostalgia? There isn’t a straight answer. It all varies with different memories. 

Mosby believes nostalgia is “a nice feeling when there’s a glimpse of the past, or something that brings a nice memory from the past. Something that you kind of reminisce about.” 

To Wright, it’s more like “any event that takes place” and “gives me a flashback on something” that provides a good feeling. 

From another perspective, Milton sees nostalgia as “something that brings back a memory of something in the past.”

“Whether that be a happy feeling, a sad feeling, a smell, something you see. Something that brings somebody some sort of memory of the past.”

Wheatley sees these ‘somethings’ could be “an object or a show or anything like that.” They serve the purpose of “bringing back memories” from youth. 

In reality, there isn’t too much of a straight answer, but it always resorts to the past being remembered. Whether cherished or neglected, nostalgia always finds its way to live in the minds of society. It’s all about perspective.

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