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Looking back fondly on the ‘good old days’

It’s pretty common for people to long for the “good old days” at this time of year — and for many that is more true than ever as we continue to battle our way through the coronavirus pandemic.

Families are worried that they won’t be able to spend the holidays together. Health and government officials are urging Americans to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small. If possible, they say, only members of the same household should dine together. That is particularly true in cooler parts of the country where outdoor celebrations may be uncomfortable if not impossible.

Many aspects of the holiday season will be different in 2020. For example, Santa Claus will still be at the Ohio Valley Mall to visit with children, but this year a Plexiglas barrier will separate him from the little ones. There will be no opportunity to sit on St. Nick’s lap and whisper in his ear.

As for Black Friday sales … there might not really be any of those. While the mall will open early on the Friday after Thanksgiving, it will not be offering the “door buster specials” that have attracted throngs of bargain hunters for many years now.

Some things will remain pretty similar to years’ past. Special meals will be prepared. Gifts will be wrapped and then torn open. And this newspaper will publish a Thanksgiving edition that is “stuffed with savings.” In what has become an annual tradition, this Thursday’s paper will contain many special sales flyers from retailers of all types.

In addition to those ads, Thursday’s paper will contain something else that is pretty special — the 2020 holiday edition of our “Nostalgia” magazine. This quarterly publication looks back at the “good old days.” Previous editions have focused on things like classic cars and summer vacations. In particular, this magazine recalls what life was like in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

The theme for this edition of “Nostalgia” is “All About Toys” — a topic that should bring back great memories for men and women of all ages. It will also provide an opportunity for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to share those memories with younger members of their families and to give them an idea of what life was like before video games, smartphones and the internet.

One piece I am contributing to “Nostalgia” this Thursday takes a look at the artificial friends I had as a child. I’m referring to the many dolls that kept me company as I was growing up.

From Tender Love & Kisses dolls to homemade rag dolls and Barbie, I was lucky enough to have a wide variety of dolls to play with. Other staff members will share their memories of classic toys such as Lincoln Logs, race tracks, Silly Putty and much more.

I hope readers will enjoy my take on dolls as well as a few insights into how I allowed them to help my imagination run wild.

If you are not a daily subscriber of The Times Leader or The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, I urge you to pick up a copy of Thursday’s edition. I think it might help make your holiday celebration complete.

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