Monday, May 23, 2005

Different Eyes

Remember that tiny town I told you about--the quiet place on the shores of one of the gorgeous Great Lakes? Well, on Saturday one of my good friends went with a friend of hers to visit that town since I'd spoken so glowingly about it. She's lived here all her life, but never had visited there.

She called me Saturday night and told me that, to her, it just looked like an old, broken-down town.

Well, of course, I was disappointed that that was the impression she'd come away with. But it made me realize something. Some people see things only as they are, other people see things as they once were. I am of the second group and I think the reason I've loved the Internet so much is because finally, I've found other people who are in that same group.

I remember being 14-years-old in the back seat of my parents' car and staring out at a leaning, abandoned, grey old cabin in a field of golden wheat. I gasped and pointed it out to my family, whereupon they laughed and began teasing me that I saw shacks as palaces.

My family loved all things new, shiny and sleek. But I, even at six and seven, loved old, history-laden things because in my mind, I clearly could see just how they were when they were new. I could see their owners standing around those things in long, white dresses and Victorian-style suits--people smiling with a pride of ownership.

Old things have always whisked romantic dreams and stories into my mind's eye. I walk through aging towns and view the shops as they first were. And I see the early people, too, even down to their buttoned shoes and parasols. Beaded Flappers and Jitterbuggers and girls in poodle skirts, saddle shoes, pony tails or derby-hatted men of later years.

But you go talking like that and people look at you weird. As though you're kin to that cute little guy in The Sixth Sense ("I see dead people.")

That is, that's how I felt for 35 years, or so, before I went online. Oh, I'd read books about other nostalgic souls like me, but it was here that I first spoke to like-minded dreamers.

Dreamers like some of you who are reading this now, you who are in the "Seeing Things As They Were" group.

Please be sure to leave your name if you are a member. It would be an encouragement to the rest of us, to remind us we are not alone--

--and perhaps not nearly as weird as we've been told.


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