» “When he’s not reminiscing about the history of the relics we repurpose…”

“When he’s not reminiscing about the history of the relics we repurpose…”

Marty Motorcyle Helmet“Yesterday Reclaimed” is a creative name, indeed, but it’s an even more fascinating concept.  I don’t mean merely the idea of re-purposing material from old, junked farm implements and barns for the creation of home/office furnishings and objects d’art; but, the social, psychological and philosophical concept of reclaiming the past.   That we as a culture have become preoccupied, if not obsessed with bygone recapturing is abundantly apparent; and, I for one can’t help but ponder and consider why this is.

Reclaimed, restored, remade, reviewed, revisited, reborn, revived, replicated, retrospected… all prevalent words in today’s lexicon, as well as prevalent pursuits of today’s manufacturers, designers, inventors, artists, directors and producers.  Vintage muscle cars and motorcycles from the 60’s and 70’s are being manufactured today with nearly the exact same styling cues from that era.  New homes and entire housing developments are employing retro-styling and architecture from the early twentieth century.  Today’s Professional baseball and football teams can, from time to time, be seen taking the field bedecked in retro-uniforms. Communities are resurrecting old, mostly-abandoned downtown areas and commercial buildings in varying states of decrepitude. They are restoring, renovating and re-purposing them into attractive shopping and dining destinations. Movies are being remade, the originals of which I saw as an adult when they were first released.   And, thankfully, so many cover songs that I danced to and sang along with as a young man are being re-recorded and released by new artists.  I love it!  But, why?

For one of my birthdays, sometime after I had already become a card-carrying member of AARP, I received the gag gift of a T-shirt scripted with “THE OLDER I GET, THE BETTER I WAS.”  I assumed, at the time, this was a humorous poke at a tendency older guys may have for embellishing their past achievements and accomplishments.  Now, I wonder.  Could it instead have been indicating that, at my advanced age, I had already been the best I’m going to be?  I guess I can live with that.  But, more germane to the topic of this blog, can this same disillusioning awareness be applied in general today to our society, our culture?

YR Marty GrindingLife is lived forward, but it’s viewed backward.  Have we arrived or devolved to where it is now more comforting to look back than forward?  I feel personally that, to a certain degree, that argument makes sense.  It’s not my intent to suggest that our mass nostalgia is a doomsday precursor, but I have to concede that looking forward these days does not always elicit warm, fuzzy feelings fraught with hope and optimism.  We see burgeoning population, pollution and debt, wars in multiple theaters, fiscal cliffs, legislative grid lock, global warming, cheating and corruption by our leaders and heroes, surgical budget cuts, etc.  No doubt, we will face and resolve these issues, but there is so much on our collective plate.   Our looking forward produces enough stress, anxiety and fatigue that we need not only a break, from time to time, but reassurance that we have been okay, and will be again.

My theory is that we achieve this reassurance through indulging in euphoric recall, if you will.  When we buy a retro Mustang or Camaro, hear a re-made 70’s song, or buy a coffee table creatively made from the hood of a tractor like the one our grandfather had, we’re transported back to a less congested, slower, easier, friendlier time.  More importantly, we are reminded that our past efforts produced these fondly remembered icons, and today’s forward-looking efforts will continue to do the same.

Thank you, Yesterday Reclaimed, for being a great local resource for euphoric recall!

Fondly Submitted,

Marty Carroll

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