It’s amazing how much pleasure I get from nostalgia.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am a forward-thinking man. Leaving the newspaper for which I wrote for 30 years was a bit more forward than I would have imagined, but I countered that potential set back by launching a website that features not only my weekly ramblings but news and feature stories with a distinct Gloucester County flavor.
Still, while I look ahead, it’s also fun to look back.
On Facebook, there’s Throwback Thursday, for instance. Folks have a heck of a time posting photos of themselves from years gone by — in some cases, a few years, in some cases, many years.
I like posting pictures from as long ago as possible. I have posted photos of me with my father, when I was a mere toddler. Others from that time period include my grandfather and grandmother. When I posted that one, my nephew, Skeezix, was thrilled to see a picture of his great-grandparents for the first time.
Many of my photos are from back in my full-time music days. Ah, those WERE the days. Carefree, happy, although often worried about where the next gig and the next dollar would come from.
I remember back then reading a biography of Bob Dylan. In the late 1970s, it was fascinating to read about Greenwich Village in the early 1960s.
“Wouldn’t it have been great,” I remarked to a friend one day, “to have been coming up in Greenwich Village back in the day? To have hung around and listened to the likes of Dylan and Dave Van Ronk and Jack Elliot.”
“Don’t think like that,” my friend counseled. “Think that, someday, someone will say, ‘Wouldn’t it have been great to have come up in Philadelphia in the '70s, to hang around and listen to Saul Broudy and Jim
Six and Wanamaker Lewis and Steve Brown and Kenn Kweder?’”
That notion floored me.
Of course, I don’t think that day ever came. Saul is still making excellent folk music and Kenn Kweder must be taking some kind of anti-aging pill, because he looks and sounds the same and plays more than
anybody I know.
But youngsters wishing they’d known us? No, I don’t think so. My name in music circles is little known these days. I can’t even get invited onto the folk music show on the radio — where I used to be a frequent guest.
Imagine, I used to play and sing five or six nights a week, for five hours each night and twice that on some Saturdays, in smokey, noisy bars.
Now I’m happy to sit and play for a couple of hours in a quiet coffee house.
I like recalling the old days. They were fun, life was wild. A woman I know told me once, “You have lived a sordid life,” and to this day I consider that a compliment.
In some of those old photos, I am wearing a leather guitar strap with brass conchos. I loved that strap, but over the years, believe it or not, it must have shrunk!
So I just had a Mantua leather craftsman, Dennis Merlino, rejuvenate that strap, which is at least 35 years old, and I’ll be using it at an upcoming gig.
The way I figure it, there’s no time like the present for a good dose of nostalgia.