Smiley: Remember nostalgia?

One of this column’s most popular features is the “Nostalgia Corner,” where readers recall places and people from years ago.

That’s why I was shocked to learn that nostalgia was “long considered a disorder” by psychologists and other medical professionals.

I learned this from an article in the July 9 New York Times found by Danny Heitman.

In it John Tierney tells us that a 17th-century Swiss physician coined the term nostalgia when he “attributed soldiers’ mental and physical maladies to their longing to return home — nostos in Greek, and the accompanying pain, algos.”

But don’t head to the shrink — the author finds a positive side.

He says that while nostalgia can be a “bittersweet emotion,” it can also “make life seem more meaningful and death less frightening. When people speak wistfully of the past, they typically become more optimistic and inspired about the future.”

Tierney says nostalgia not only “makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders,” it can also give you a warm feeling:

“On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.”

(He’s right — I thought back to the hot sausage po-boys at the old Romano’s Pack & Save, and I immediately got a warm feeling. But it could have been heartburn …)

Identity loss

Elizabeth Miner says, “Last weekend I was out shopping for my 3½-year-old son Ben’s first ‘big boy’ mattress.

“As we were checking out, the salesman was getting some information from me and asked me for my first name, to which I responded ‘Elizabeth.’

“Ben blurts out, ‘I thought your first name was MOMMY!’”

That sinking feeling

Buddy Knox says, “All of the talk about ladies wearing their finest clothing, fur stoles, spiked heels, etc., to LSU football games brings to mind when my church, Francis Asbury United Methodist Church on Old Hammond Highway, started up about 40 years ago.

“We set up a large tent, complete with sawdust floor and attic fans on the ground.

“During this time of year, with many hard rains and sweltering heat, we suffered greatly.

“The men mostly dressed fairly casually, but the ladies wore their finest, including spiked heels.

“You should had seen them walking on the wet soggy sawdust floor with those heels on. The Lord should have been impressed with their determination to attend services.

“Finally one of our members donated funds to have a 2-inch-thick concrete slab poured.

“The ladies thought they had died and gone to heaven.”

Looking for stuff

Mary Louise Woodside says in 1934 her late father, Charles Woodside, then just 18, had a radio talent show called “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

He later went to work for WLCS radio, and had a long career in Baton Rouge radio and television.

She’d love to have any memorabilia, recordings, etc., of her dad’s work. Call (225) 573-5889.

Worthy causes

On July 21 a “CASA Fiesta” at the Mall of Louisiana from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. kicks off a fund-raising raffle for a playhouse, ending Aug. 11 with “Kids Day” from noon to 5 p.m.

Raffle tickets are available at the mall, Court Appointed Special Advocates office or at www.casabr.org. Fiesta tickets are available at (225) 379-8598.

For sale

Seniors at Gray’s Creek Baptist Church in Denham Springs have a garage sale from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Call (225) 665-2129.

Special People Dept.

  • Earl Turner Sr. celebrates his 100th birthday Sunday at an open house for him and his wife Daisy Bankston Turner (who was 97 July 1) from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Amber Terrace Assisted Living.
  • Bess Albritton celebrated her 96th birthday Thursday.
  • Rosario “Rosie” Martina celebrates his 90th birthday Friday. He is a World War II veteran.
  • The 90th birthday of Irma Bourdier will be celebrated Saturday by her family. She will be 90 July 21.
  • Chick and Gerry St. Germaine, of Harahan, celebrate their 61st anniversary Saturday. Chick is a Navy veteran of the Korean conflict.
  • George and Elsie Arceneaux, of Donaldsonville, celebrate their 60th anniversary Friday.

Policeman’s tale

Chick St. Germaine defines the Korean conflict:

“A police action — a long beat in a rough neighborhood.”

Thought for the Day

From Robert and Edna Smiley: “Out of all the possible utensils to eat rice with, how did two sticks win out?”

Sign language

Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, tells of “two signs from the past I can personally vouch for:

“A farm near Hammond offered ‘home groan tomatoes.’

“And on Good Friday, a Catholic church in Ascension Parish had a sign that declared, ‘He is Risen. No Bingo Today.’”

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.