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This last week I took a trip back in time when I watched a movie that I hadn’t seen since it was first released, though my sister bought the album and we knew every song by heart. Oddly, the culture, music, styles, technology, vehicles and societal changes of my youth, as portrayed with a Hollywood fantasy spin, seemed cliché and campy rather than nostalgic. All the same, I enjoyed the trip (not the type shown in the film) though I agreed with the critics about the quality.

One scene in the show, to depict the changes that came to a small, idealized town when it lost something of value, showed a farmer’s market and the friendly, neighborly interactions there. In the next scene, the same area had become an arcade with youth loitering and rebelling against the culture of their parents. Interestingly, their styles (hair and clothes) were almost a perfect prediction of the decade to follow.

Life is not static. As a youth I was less confident, a bit more liberal politically and a lot less aware (my vote was swayed by a boy-friend), and, of course, thinner. Today, I no longer play the clarinet but I type a lot faster. I no longer climb trees, but I love hiking. Some changes don’t change who I am. And some things have not changed.

When I was an early teen I took after school track with a girl-friend. And though I never won a race, I enjoyed our walks home together—no small distance as we usually walked several blocks just to catch the bus in the mornings. After making our way through a university campus we always stopped at a hamburger place and ordered the same thing: a chocolate milkshake with an extra cup and straw, tator tots and extra fry sauce. We sat in a booth, watched cars go by, and laughed endlessly. We always had so much to talk about.

One time we composed a fan letter to a pop star that we were sure would touch his heart. In reply, we expected not just tickets to a concert, but airline tickets and a back stage pass. We knew once he met us, he’d want to take one of us to a dance (probably my friend—she was the pretty one). We waited for months, and in the end, we didn’t even receive an autographed picture. I guess the letter was lost in the mail.

Like many girls, we used to write each other notes in our school classes. But unlike many notes, most of ours were drawn as stick figures in cartoon like boxes, and we were always up to something—usually based on an actual event.

I no longer eat tator tots, drink chocolate milkshakes, or write fan letters, but I still like to take long walks, have endless conversations, and dream big. I still love adventures, nature, learning, and time with my best friend.

Today, I asked some questions about where I am today. Have I learned anything new lately besides a new recipe or the current slang? Do I still have strong friendships? Am I improving? Do I still sing along to songs? And when was the last time I drew a cartoon?

How is life stacking up for you? What changes have been for the better, and what have you held on to?

So, here’s a clue to what movie I saw this last week. The first picture of this post is Peter Frampton behind one of the cameras during filming. Do you remember it? (For some of you, it’s probably a good thing that some things get forgotten.)

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