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Alan Riquelmy: It’s past

Plenty of people I know have been inside the Creel House.

You know, the spooky house from the recent season of “Stranger Things,” the latest answer to 1980s nostalgia.

The 19th century Victorian house exudes creepiness. People would say it resembles the Munsters or Addams’ family homes. The thing is a ghost magnet, making even Zuul jealous.

On a friendlier side, it recently was lighted in rainbow colors for Pride Month.

The house, formerly a B&B, sits less than a quarter-mile from where I used to live in northwest Georgia. It was a business, as opposed to a gateway to the Upside Down, and often hosted weddings and random events a newspaper reporter might have to cover.

There was little nostalgia to be found one afternoon when climbing the staircase and peeking into rooms. A quick tour under a bright sun, women in period costume and a short story to keep the daily beast at bay. Monsters come in all shapes, it would seem.

The B&B has been closed for some time, and that story disappeared into the bowels of a newspaper’s website. Don’t go looking too long for it. You can get lost in the past, and something in the basement just made a noise.

The Creel House from “Stranger Things” during Pride Month.
Ryan Smith

We need the passage of time for nostalgia to germinate. A sunny afternoon almost 20 years ago, in that moment, was cluttered with daily trappings. The shopping that must occur, writing the story, meeting deadline, getting home, rinse, repeat.

But looking back, it has a different sheen. It’s like that quotation from James Russell Lowell — “Things always seem fairer when we look back at them, and it is out of that inaccessible tower of the past that Longing leans and beckons.”

What is it about some TV show that can capture a nation’s attention and force it to look back almost 40 years? It’s breathed new life into Kate Bush’s “Running Up that Hill,” about which plenty of think pieces have been written in the past few weeks. It’s reminded us of the Satanic Panic of Dungeons and Dragons, and turned the name “Vecna” into a household word.

And lemme tell ya, there’s plenty of geeky kids circa 1986 who never saw that coming.

The past is a drug that moves like molasses. We’re always told to look ahead, plan for what’s next, but it’s what’s already happened that brings comfort. Lazy memories drifting across the mind, and you only realize how much time you’ve lost when glancing at the clock.

Too much time escaped, and I’ve got to get home to write this story.

A Nevada County teacher, searching for a way to summarize her childhood, once told me — “It’s like ‘Stranger Things,’ but without the monsters.”

I wonder, though. I bet there were monsters there.

They don’t need to lurk in Scooby Doo’s house, where a popular TV show was filmed. They’re right at the edges of nostalgia. The people you’ve lost, or lost touch with. The restaurants and hang outs that long ago ceased. Some woman, now without a name, looking over her shoulder and then gone in a crowd from two decades ago.

The memories have grown old, disheveled, loping and pawing like a diseased animal.

Time to let it go.

It’s past. It’s past.

Alan Riquelmy is the managing editor of The Union. He can be reached at ariquelmy@theunion.com


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