Read this column by Gas Engine Magazine's new editor Christine Stoner about the power of nostalgia and gas engines.
Why seek community with fellow enthusiasts? To connect with like-minded people. To discover inspiration. To share knowledge. To discover others who are overcoming similar challenges and reaching their restoration goal — finding ways to replace the irreplaceable or getting engines to run that were seemingly unrepairable. Gas Engine Magazine is shared victories. It’s historical and technical, as well as wistful and hopeful. It’s telling stories that convey it is possible to hold on to a piece of that happiness from a former place and time, and restore it for generations to come to discover and love. It’s a way to go back to a simpler time, to an irrecoverable mindset that lives on only in memories.
Dictionary.com defines nostalgia as “a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place of time.” Nostalgia is behind or much of who we are. Our cherished experiences drive our preferences and behaviors, seemingly out of the blue. Time spent watching over my grandfather’s shoulder — who, in my opinion, could fix anything — led to me taking apart anything I could get my hands on as a child. Old VCRs, lamps, baby monitors, and cassette players — nothing with multiple parts was safe from my tiny fingers and a screwdriver or pliers. Unfortunately, the life-cycle of these tired appliances ended in a box hidden in my closet, where the original dream of building a robot died with them. My grandfather planted the seeds of mechanical curiosity in me, and he is also why my tools will never be organized enough.
The memory of watching my father, when I was young, effortlessly drive nails into boards with great precision will always cross my mind whenever I consider if a crooked nail is worth pulling and redoing correctly. The answer is always yes. My father is the reason behind my intense determination and, at times, my maddening perfectionism.
Sharing triumphs and trials at antique engine shows, making friends and connections along the way, gives fellow enthusiasts the confidence to take on tough projects and reclaim a bit of the past for themselves. It’s a community spurred by nostalgia, helping each other along the way.
Nostalgia builds our goals. My inquisitiveness and appreciation for all things mechanical are firmly rooted in my past and relationships throughout the years. Think about the why behind what drives you. The why behind searching for a specific engine or a challenging restoration you refuse to give up on. The why behind the joy of unearthing an engine buried in a barn or basement. The why behind driving hundreds of miles to pick up something others would consider rusted or broken. The why behind wanting to hold onto a rare piece of history. Is it nostalgia, perhaps?
Happily, my peculiar busted-knuckle and bookworm path has led me to being a part of this publication. I am thrilled to take on this challenging role. I look forward to hearing from many of you and helping to build this enthusiast community through stories of accomplishment and sentimental connection. Together, we can work to preserve a little history, in the name of nostalgia.
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