By Jocelyn Cervantes
People love stories because they can generate from anywhere. A majority of stories come from movies, TV shows, books, or even grandparents; but stories can also come from letters, photos, jewelry, or even clothes. As a vintage enthusiast, I can’t help but fall in love with an old Polaroid Camera, or a white 50’s dress, a typewriter, or sometimes an old telephone (the kind with a long cord).
For so long I wanted to buy a pocket watch because I felt my collection wasn’t full without one. It took months to find the right one, and preferably a cheap one too. One day, while I was at a flea market, I found a plain and simple silver pocket watch for $10 and so I bought it. Except it wasn’t so plain or simple. On the back of the pocket watch was engraved three words: Thinking of you. Suddenly my brain formed stories: A soldier leaving for war and giving it to his soul mate as a reminder of his love. Or star-crossed lovers who, against all odds wound up together; maybe it is a family amulet. I craved for the true story, but even to this day, I still don’t know it.
The pocket watch kept me thinking, was life better before the 21st century? Before Instagram and Facebook? Before Apple and TV? Was life better: When people cared for their neighbors and knew their names? When they had to walk or bike three blocks to the ice cream parlor because they didn’t have a car? When people actually dressed nice and cared about their appearance? When kids had a regular hangout spot after school and actually had to talk face to face to their crush instead of hiding behind a screen? When people wrote long, meaningful letters or recited poetry? Life back then didn’t seem so bad.
People ask me why I am a vintage enthusiast, and it’s very simple. I find it incredible how materialistic objects can preserve memories and stories. Senior Alex Maldonado comments, “Vintage goods help connect our modern day society to the old rustic world. In a sense, they are the closest thing to time travel; they are pockets of authenticity that let us experience a world of wonder-one that our generation is oblivious to. They are a rarity that house the past in a simple yet opulent manner.”
With a new owner comes a new set of stories, stories waiting to be told. I can’t understand why many people do not see the beauty behind vintage things. Finding a unique shirt is better than getting the same shirt your classmate has from Forever 21. Monica Murillo adds, “To me, vintage style is a way of stepping back into the classic past.” And there’s some kind of magic that happens when you use a polaroid camera, that feeling of doubt because you’re not sure if the picture will look nice. But it shouldn’t matter; the camera did its job, capturing the moment. It allows me to actually appreciate the things that were once so popular. And that’s what truly matters.