Nostalgia is a really funny thing. I was driving down I-40 the other day with my windows down. There was this smell, no, aroma. I know my brain was playing tricks on me, but I was sure that what I was smelling was Marion’s Piazza pizza. In fact I was certain that it was pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and green olives.
Not only was this one of my top two favorite pizzas, it was a part of some really great musical memories for me when I was growing up. One of the things I really enjoyed was attending shows at Memorial Hall staged by the Kenley Players. They would often have some really big names come through. After the show my mom and I would go to Marion’s Piazza, eat that amazing thin crust pizza, and the stars would sign my autograph book or program.
I don’t know for sure how many summers we went to these shows. It feels like there were probably a lot of them. I’m not sure where those programs and the autograph book are now. The autograph book must be somewhere in my stash of memorabilia.
I also went to Marion’s at other times too, with family, with friends, and after some sports events. I don’t have a single bad memory of the place, the people, or the food.
The word nostalgia (Oxford Languages) is defined as a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. That really is the right word for what happened when I was driving on I-40. I remembered the happy personal association of the events that surrounded eating at Marion’s. Perhaps even more importantly, I remembered what feels like a simpler time. There were fewer decisions to make. And, there was a feeling that my future was stretched out ahead with endless possibilities
Doesn’t that sound nice? I do wish I had appreciated it more at the time.