Blast from the past: Reflecting on nostalgia to help us move forward

Mar 04, 2023
Pam Van Der Kooy 1965 Franklin Skyline caravan. Source: Supplied

The struggle is real folks. This is where the rubber hits the road, the trial of heart and mind, when the psychological doo-doo hits the metaphorical fan … The Battle of Nostalgia! 

Nostalgia – that deep-seated, “sentimental longing and wistful affection for a period in the past”. Nostalgic thoughts are one thing but when we have something tangible that represents that period, we try desperately, sometimes illogically, to hang on to it. 

In 1965, my dad bought a Franklin Skyline caravan, this gorgeous fibreglass egg that we named Casper, cocooned us through many years of family holidays, festooned with green and stripey annexe, 

Beach towels flapping on the guy ropes, bobbles on the bottom of the swaying curtains, and canasta in full swing on the table. When dad passed away we gave Casper his own retirement home, undercover at the beach. Here he has sat, giving endless hours of fun for our girls and their friends as they grew up, and providing us with whiffs of holidays each time we opened the door.

Casper is basically 14 feet of nostalgia. 

Living at the coast, though, has brought with it the gradual creep of surface rust and the occasional deep pitting which anyone over the age of 60 will tell you, is not the complexion you want to wake up with in the morning!  So, here my dear readers, my mental struggle began.  

Looking at the situation logically and, dare I say it, psychologically I came to the conclusion that I had two choices – A) to let Casper sit there and continue to rust ‘til it completely caved and ended up at the tip or, B) to let him go to someone who would take it on, refurbish it and love him, creating their own memories.

It shouldn’t have been a difficult decision but I really had to sit with a good cuppa and have the debate rage for a good while in my mind. I think the sad visual of Casper at the tip did it for me (you know how you can humanize things – he looked so sad) and I there and then contacted a friend who had always loved the van.  

“Would you or anyone you know like to own Casper?”, I messaged hopefully.  “Be there in an hour,” she said. This beautiful couple will take him on, fix his rusty private parts and love him to bits, just like we did.  And the huge bonus is that we can still see him.

Nostalgia is a wonderful emotion but sometimes it can be a bit unrealistic. We can get so caught up with “the good old days” that we can forget that actually, it wasn’t all beer and skittles. Someone once asked me if I would like to go back to the times I wrote about.  I don’t think my answer pleased him very much.

Yes, there were some wonderful things about that time, things that I do miss but if things were still the same, I would not have my beautiful girls as they are both IVF and maybe my nostalgic view back wouldn’t be as rosy.    

And no, you can’t have my cereal toy collection.  


To read more nostalgia articles from Pam Van Der Kooy, head here. Or you can find her brilliant nostalgia book Stuff We Had in the 50s and 60s here.

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