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The Perils and Joys of Traveling Memory Lane

Huntington in the 20sPhoto courtesy of Vintage Huntington, a 1937 postcard of Huntington in the 1920s, originally published by Honaker, Inc.

A new Facebook page has taken our community by storm. Vintage Huntington, a page that shares nostalgic pictures of our town’s buildings, events, places, and people has nearly 7500 followers in just its first month of existence. It is truly a community labor of love, run by volunteers posting photos and history information contributed by a wide variety of people and organizations. The site has gone viral thanks to followers who still live here, and those who have moved away and have fond memories.

It’s a positive change for our community to celebrate our history. It wasn’t that long ago we were collectively mired in the past, in a “woulda-coulda-shoulda” sort of way. Huntington, once a very prosperous river, rail and manufacturing city, began to lose population and suffer economically in the seventies. Our longing for the “good old days” made us bitter, and for decades, community meetings were thick with blame for decisions made that only in hindsight, were revealed as not in the town’s best interests.

This obsession with the past, the longing for how things used to be, kept us from envisioning how things could be. In this way, our past was like quicksand.

But there has been great change in our community, and the fact that a Vintage Huntington page can exist and bring such positive feeling and energy is a testament to that.

It’s not all that different to how we view the past in our personal lives. We can look back and be angry about how things turned out, and wish things were like they once were. And we can simmer in that anger and regret indefinitely. Or, we can make the past a positive for our future when we:

• Celebrate what was good. Appreciate the creativity, passion, and ingenuity of the experiences and people who laid the foundation for our present.

• Learn from our victories. Instead of focusing on what might have gone wrong, we learn the most from what went right.

• Shape a future vision. Remember or imagine how it looked and felt to be successful and prosperous. Bring those feelings and ideas into our visioning of the future, and get busy making it happen.

Nostalgia has a seductive and powerful pull. It can either haunt you or help you and your community. The past is well… past. HOW you remember it, dictates your future.

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