Nostalgia is a fickle sensation. I remember sitting in high school assemblies at the end of the school year; the ones where they show pictures from the school year set to Midnight Oil’s Forgotten Years. 95% of the pictures are of the athletes, cheerleaders, student body officers, and the teacher advisor to the student body officers (whose adult life revolves around gaining the confidence of a few ambitious 17 year-olds who exercise power over banner colors and pep rally skits). The other 5% of pictures are of a few pimple-faced yearbook staffers, who managed to sneak pictures of themselves into the slide show while putting it together for the student body officers.

“There’s Chad and Sam with their shirts off. Those guys are awesome.”

“Oh look, there Trevor acting like he’s about to pour that yogurt on Julie’s head and she doesn’t even know it! They’ve had a really fun prank feud going on this year.”

“There’s Julie again, but she’s at the lake now.”

“What?! Oh brother, there’s Matt and Jason dressed up like girl cheerleaders with huge bosoms! Those guys are a riot!”

“There’s the advisor, Mr. Jones, with his arms around Susie and Julie.”

“There’s the gang getting ready for the skit.”

“Here they are in the skit.”

“Ok, ya, that’s them hanging out in the SBO room with their costumes on after the skit. That looks kind of neat.”

“Uh-oh, here’s Susie, Julie, and Natalie doing a Charlie’s Angels pose. Who’s that in the distance watching them through the window? Oh, that’s Mr. Jones.”

“Wait, what’s this picture? Who’s that homely person holding up the black and white cover of the yearbook?” That picture doesn’t belong in this! Boooooo!”

“Wonder why those police officers are speaking with Mr. Jones.”

“Hey-OHH, there’s Chad again but this time he’s just in a Speedo. He’s the best.”

Anyway, with a couple thousand teenagers cheering and Midnight Oil blaring, I remember warm breezes of nostalgia and sadness washing over me. Then I would think “Wait a minute. Why am I feeling regret over the end of a school year? I hate school. School is Hell and summer is water holes and dunk-ball. And all the people from school I actually care for I’ll be seeing during the summer anyway. And Midnight Oil sucks!”

Like these school assemblies, counterfeit nostalgia can sometimes be induced under the right circumstances. And sometimes you can have nostalgia for experiences you never had. Play the Russian National Anthem and my soul aches for the glory days of starving solidarity in the Siberian gulags with my comrades from the failed Revolution of 1905. Go listen to that song again and you’ll see what I mean.

But there is also genuine nostalgia, which is justified and sincere. I felt this when graduating from elementary school to junior high, then junior high to high school, and so on. Then a little when I went on my mission. Then a lot when I came home from my mission, due mostly to the fact that I was convinced I was rapidly going bald and didn’t want to face the young ladies of Davis County with a bare wedge-shaped head. Then I was nostalgic when I transferred from Weber to BYU. Just kidding. Would you be sad to trade in a campus crawling with Slovenian exchange students and exotic dancers for a campus bursting with 20,000 young Sherri Dews?  Then I felt nostalgic about leaving BYU, then about going from one child to two.

I don’t know if everyone experiences this, or if I’m unique, but every positive change in my life makes me simultaneously sad and happy. Even if I’m clearly moving onto greener pastures and am 80% excited about the new thing and only 20% sad about leaving the old thing, that 20% is very poignant and independent, sitting like a rock in my psyche.

I’ve been experiencing this kind of nostalgia lately. I am leaving both my window cleaning business and New Mexico in a few short weeks. I thought I might share this journey—my widow cleaning journey—with you, my delicate reader, over the next couple posts. I understand this won’t be interesting to some folks. I mean, would I read about your adventures as a financial planner? Maybe I would. No I probably wouldn’t.  But that’s the thing:  while I find other people’s lives boring, I find my own to be fascinating.  It stands to reason, then, that other people find my life fascinating as well.

But who knows, maybe these posts will inspire you to quit your lawyering and become a window cleaner. I like to think they will.

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16 Responses to Nostalgia

  1. Dying over Mr. Jones. That was like Mr. Schlegal at my junior high – he could always be found with an arm around a (mature) 8th grader, or with his foot planted in a comfortable/natural position on the top of your desk so he’s in a half squat and you want to throw up.

    So many laughs in this post. Zack heard me laughing (because he’s a bum and is home) and said, “What’s so funny.” I said, “One guess.” Zack said, “DDDT.” Booyah!!!!

    We’re leaving Philly for St. Louis, and I’m feeling very nostalgic about this crazy place I’ve come to love and where I’ve raised my kids so far. I’m excited to move on, but sad to leave. Even though I know most of my friends are leaving too. Whatev. Life goes on.

  2. Katherine (Foulger) Lewis says:


    Funny post.

    I am excited for the next few posts, sad that you will no longer be a professional window cleaner, and really curious where you will be moving and what you will be doing. I’ll stay tuned….

    And, you’re in good company with the whole nostalgia/sadness for new changes feelings. I think girls have it harder than boys in this area. I miss everything.

  3. Davis says:

    Katherine, well said. I miss everything, too. Makes me pretty sad.

  4. Davis says:

    “a (mature) 8th grader.”

    so funny. and so gross. i hope my kids all hit puberty when they’re 21, like i did.

  5. Layne says:

    You’re trick shoulders must have really taken a turn for the worse lately to make you leave the business altogether, no? Between your ankles, missing big toenails, and your glass jaw, it’s pretty apparent that you’ve said “adios” to your 20s. 🙂

    If they ever have a window cleaning merit badge, you would be the counselor–I mean you really have the vigor for making cloudy windows become spotless again. It’s sad to see that talent go by the wayside.

    Awesome on snaring the new job.

  6. Ryan says:

    Once I got choked up at a parade at Disneyland. It was then that I realized how full of crap half of our emotions are. When I realize my emotions are being manipulated, I don’t get annoyed, I get really, really angry. Maybe that explains my visceral hatred for all those jocks in all those slide shows.

  7. Braden says:

    LOL Kook. That was hilarious. Your stream of consciousness narration was excellent. You totally caught the genre of those things and the angst of those of us who watched them from afar. Excellent note about the yearbook people sneaking themselves in.

  8. Motherboard says:

    I went my entire highschool career never being in a slide show until I had to put together the stupid SBO final slide show when we were seniors.They were a bunch of retards and couldn’t figure out how to do it. (how they managed to get elected is BEYOND me) I put in a photo of me and felt like a total doofus the entire time praying to the almighty that I didn’t get booed. I still remember the song I was supposed to come in on– Angle of Harlem by U2. Right after Carl Garcia and right before Chad Poulson –who changed the photo out to him and Chad Gove NAKED… I got in so much trouble, but that’s another story for another time. (Braden was there for that little incident with Ms Saylor, remember that Braden?)

    I loved this…Put it on MMB, won’t you Kook?

  9. Macy Bell says:

    You do took me back to High School. I love Midnight Oil!

    I have such a hard time with change too. I cried every time my parents sold one of our cars growing up. I really thought they would be so lonely and sad without us in their lives.

    Moving is so hard though. I remember the day we left DC like it was yesterday. One of the saddest days of my life, and guess what is even sadder? I haven’t been back since.

    Good luck with it all.

  10. Skewize says:

    Nice job capturing those end of year assemblies. It was nice of the schools to dedicate an entire assembly to the antics of Greg Nelson, David Tidwell, Matt Redd, and the gang, and whatever that history teacher’s name was. (I’m hoping by dropping names to create another “Allens” incident on DDDTs)

    One thing that this post made me nostalgic for is when we’d sluff those assemblies for VIP. Hmmmmmm potato logs hmmmm with fry sauce yummmm.

    I can’t be sure, but Chris didn’t you hold or run for a Student Body Officer position at FJH? Your denial will be regarded as an admission of guilt in this matter so respond carefully.

    Congrats on the job Chris. Welcome home, or welcome back to Provo I guess.

  11. Peter W. says:


    It should be noted when we compiled those slide shows we took them VERY seriously. We had to calculate and space big “applause slides” such as popular Seminary Teacher Brother Garner, jocks dressed up like cheerleaders, and any of the Saleah kids, just to keep the momentum properly paced. There just simply wasn’t time for a random shot of a lesser known kid sharpening his pencil. The crowd wouldn’t stand for it, and ultimately we listened to the people.

    We also had to take into account the fast paced rhythm from Midnight Oil’s, “Forgotten Years,” to the slow and steady tune of, “These are the Days,” as sung by the Indigo Girls. A very delicate balance.

    If I can help you put together a digital scrap book of window washing clips, please let me know. I have experience in the field of nostalgia generation.


  12. Andrea W. says:

    So funny Christian. Imagine my dismay when at my daughter’s junior high orientation (the same junior high we attended) that cliched creepy teacher (this one taught math) is now an administrator at the school. I will try to keep a guarded but open mind perhaps a lot of sexual harrassment seminars have indeed changed the man. Hmm.

    And Ryan, LOL. Someone can kick you, insult you, disrespect you and you wouldn’t think twice about it, but make you shed a tear and whoa, that person will have incurred your wrath for life.

    I kind of love nostalgia. It has a way of making us think everything about our pasts were rosy and wonderful. I’m counting on nostalgia to make my kids think they had fabulous parents 🙂

  13. Ben Pratt says:

    Congrats, Sharkman!

  14. Molly P says:

    What, where are you going…we are coming? You are all we know there! Boo Kook!

  15. StanP says:

    This site is always good for a laugh. Thanks guys!
    Curious as to what services the “widow cleaning business” entailed?
    Nothing like taking a cheap shot over a typo.

    I thought you went to Davis High? I’m pretty sure the only song ever played at the end-of-year school assembly’s there was Billy Joel “These are the times to remember.” I’m pretty sure it was on repeat for the entire slideshow. That line about how they will not last forever always brought a tear to my eye.

    Can’t wait to get together in Utah soon. We’ll be back in July.

  16. Rebecca says:

    i kind of love nostalgia too, ange. there’s something about it that makes all the bad times seem like they never happened and that life is all good.
    maybe you would have been in some of the slide shows if you hadn’t skipped school so much, hon.

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