Nostalgia… Internet… What?
by Eddie Buck
The definition of nostalgia, according to some dictionary: “Pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again.”
“Hmmm,” I thought to myself as I re-read the above line. Okay, well… the idea I had for the topic of this one is floating away with the rain that started falling a few minutes ago.
It seems the older I get, the more nostalgic I become. Not so unusual, happens a lot. Being surrounded by relics of my youth, more precisely from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, it’s a blessing and a curse. Before the maturing process began, it was the selfish, carefree world of youth. It was, “get out of my way; I have a life to live!” Later, it comes… this animal known as age. In desperation, some of us spend the whole of our life trying to recapture what’s passed. Be it comic books, matchbooks, or funny cars… there is a vice. To some, it’s a casual collection of things that may be put on a shelf, tacked to a wall, or even just found and stowed in a desk drawer and forgotten. These trinkets are the fuel for the way-back machine. Much like a favorite song, you hear it and old memories come and for an instant you’re back in your chosen moment…usually.
Being somewhat of a purist, I can’t stand it when someone waxes nostalgic and get the facts all screwed up. The preciseness of details must be there. Recite the words correctly, get the names right, be accurate. We all know someone who tells the tale of riding around in their buddy’s big block Chevelle, beating that Hemi Roadrunner one summer night. In reality, it was his buddy’s mom’s four-door Malibu. The Roadrunner he so fondly remembers is usually some old man in a Valiant with an exhaust leak…. But I digress. Being a purist is a lonely realm. Even among your peers, those who share the passion for your chosen obsession, purists are not common. The great thing about our hobby/lifestyle/disease is the generosity. Often, a simple part or piece is the missing component that turns a dust collector into a precision machine. There always seems to be a friend, or friend of a friend who has it in a box on a bench somewhere. It’s a little harder when restoring a relic from say…40-45 years ago. Frank down the street doesn’t have a pair of big window Halibrands or a Moon bullet tank sitting under the bench. Here is where you learn to become Sherlock Holmes, Mike Hammer, or my favorite (as Pam loves to say)…” Rockfish.”
It seems when you search for the elusive pieces, no longer do you refer to its common application. The first obstacle one must overcome is learning to be concise. You aren’t looking for a blower; you are looking for a magnesium 6-71 Bowers. Not any 67/68 Camaro body will work; it has to be a B&N…. Pellegrini’s were different. It’s as if a history degree in chassis and body manufacturers is a prerequisite. Everything has to be exact, right…correct. The well-adjusted will chuckle under their breath, say good luck and move on. Some even look upon you as disturbed, like a Mopar nut. The chalkmark set know of what I speak! It’s a never ending quest of research, swap meets and… the internet.
Ah, the internet. The magical place you can find “…that super rare rod end for the steering arm that so-and-so used at a match race he ran at New York National the night they unloaded the car and the left front wheel slipped off the ramp and broke the arm and the guy mowing the grass took it off his Ford tractor’s 3-point hitch for his auger” (this has to be said in one breath without pause). I’ve found a number of pieces here. Some as simple as a post stating what I am searching for. Some with more twists and turns than an escape from a Turkish prison. The network of friends I have made is invaluable. Sources long thought dried flow forth from obscure corners of the earth, thanks to this modern marvel.
I have been fortunate, like many others, to make contact with heroes of my youth. Belonging to groups that are a wealth of information, some with the membership consisting of the stars and legendary names in the history of my beloved world of drag racing. My yearly mission to CHRR reunites me with friends I have made from the other side of the country, the other side of the earth…uh…a couple…. The other side of the universe, I swear. It’s made people honest in their claims, exposed and purged some ne’er-do-wells from their hiding places as well. Most of all, it’s brought a lot of people together and made the nostalgia movement stronger, in some respects.
Then, there is Facebook. The land of experts on everything and nothing - in one breath. A group for every interest, each with a diverse membership and a common goal to share the love of said interest. With almost surety, you know when a topic will go south, and it usually does. Just a friendly little place... Right.
I am an administrator on a few groups and it’s worse than being a babysitter…of a pride of hungry lions…in a pen full of gazelles. At first, I thought, this is going to be great! That was until a post would turn into an electronic brawl over where a decal was on a fender. ”In March of 1975,” one guy argues, “it wasn’t there at the race in York on the 15th. But there’s a photo in a magazine showing it on the rear at a match race in Pittsburgh on the 12th.” A lot of times, fights are started by people not even there and with no physical link to it, other than holding a magazine in their hands and reading about it. Then, there are the longwinded posters who steer it in a completely different direction with their left field logic. Why? Because they like reading their own words and in their grand state of delusion have no clue. When you try to keep balance you get called names and are accused of any number of infractions. This breeding ground for revisionist history eventually chases off the seasoned vets who, innocently enough, joined at the urging of fans. Accurate recollections be damned, let’s discuss how this affects social issues as they relate to my left insole. Geez Louise!
Yeah….. okay…… enough about that. My head hurts. I want a beer. Too early. continued on next page...