By Savannah Campbell

Nostalgia’s a funny thing. I have been feeling little bursts of it in me lately. Granted, I’m turning 21 this week, so I may not have that many years of life to look over again and romanticize.Still, I occasionally do feel the urge to go through the hope chest I keep at the foot of my bed. I sometimes want to look over the hundreds of letters and notes I have received from friends during the days of my ‘youthful adolescence.’ I had about eight pen pals then and wrote a lot of notes to pals in classes.

I didn’t have all of those pen pals at once mind you. I began with just a girl and a guy. I lost touch with them years later and haven’t really talked to either one in about a year. Thanks to Myspace, one of the best/worst networking inventions ever, I found Sam (the guy) last fall. He’s now married and lives in Norway.

My other pen pals came and went through my life by way of the post. The one I kept in touch with the longest was Trudi from Northern Ireland. She was the one who almost came to visit me in my town before the plans fell through. Looking over the letters, cards and notes reminds me of the young girl and teenager I used to be.

Also, I don’t know if I’d recognize “freshman in high school Savannah.” My younger self seemed na’ve as I looked over other items in the hope chest. I found a few photos of old friends who at the time were labeled “best friends forever.” Now the people in the photos are semi-acquaintances and occasional characters in the stories I tell about my younger life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that they’re in my past. I just sometimes want to go back in time to see it again. I wonder at times what it’d be like to watch my past from an observing, fly-on-the-wall-styled perspective. I wonder if the time machine my high school Algebra II teacher was rumored to have made really did exist and if it did, would it work to let me do my observing? Just writing about the time machine brings me back to my sophomore year of high school.

I had so many inside jokes shared between pals.

I was already at that time missing what my friends and I referred to as the “good, classic age of Nickelodeon television.” Everyone knows the shows. Quality entertainment like Are You Afraid of the Dark, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rocko’s Modern Life and of course, the first few original seasons of All That. It’s more than just TV, inside jokes and letters and notes I sometimes get misty-eyed nostalgic for though. I’m not the only one feeling the pull of nostalgia’s strings for these shows. A simple search of Facebook groups for “Nickelodeon” brings up over 500 groups inspired by the 1990s era of this channel.

I miss the days I spent on my local 4-H Teen Council. It was here I met some of the closest friends I’ve ever had. I also miss simpler days of having fun just by riding my bike down a neighbor’s driveway and pretending it was a huge hill, which was also totally awesome.

I may sound like a sap for saying so, but you know what? I don’t care to be an almost 21-year-old sap. I loved my youth and I never want to get to a place where I look at my late childhood and adolescent-year trinkets and not smile.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an old note from a friend to re-read. It even has funny, original drawings by its author detailing what happened the afternoon before when a friend of hers brought her a snack at her honor choir practice. I want to remember what she wrote about the event.