Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

Fall Nostalgia


I once worked as a directory assistance operator.  One of my co-workers (lovingly) referred to me as a “dirty hippie.”  I guess because I had an aversion to clean hair and liked to wear a baja. 

I love what baja weather means.

One, it means that the horrible torturous heat of summer is finally over.

Two, it means I’m gonna go all mushy and nostalgic any day now.

I don’t know why, but I seem to have so many great memories about fall.  I grew up in a suburb of the suburbs of D.C. and unless you’ve grown up in a similar small town, it’s probably hard to imagine things like hanging out in the Kmart parking lot on a Friday night or racing the strip (although I admit that I only went down the strip once, as an adult, in a friend’s mom’s minivan and we blasted the Golden Girls theme song, just to freak out the teens).

Also in my hometown, on Main Street, is a gazebo, and I was known to hang out there on chilly fall evenings with some friends when I was in my early 20’s.  Since most of the people we went to school with still live in the general area, we usually saw a ton of people driving by and they’d honk and yell to us.

Sure, there are times when I wished I lived in some huge anonymous city with tons of culture and mass transit.  But when it comes down to it, I’m a small-town girl at the core.  I like walking outside and seeing the stars, I like that at any given time someone living in the mountains might randomly start setting off fireworks, and I like that I can drive down a road and in a span of 10 miles pass both a shopping center and a cow field.

I’ve been digging out a lot of old mss lately because fall makes me feel energized and creative.  A lot of the stories are set in a hybrid of the area where I grew up and still live.  With each new edit, I’ve gotten a better sense of this fictional town and how my characters view it. 

And it’s kinda funny how this place has become so familiar to me and how I would hang out with some of these characters in real life and how I would want to punch others in the face.  Kinda real-life.  I hope.

To quote my sappy self from Sept 2003 (I’ve changed the names of people and Snowy Rabbit is a car with patches of white where the paint wore off):

Okay, I need to make a date with Meg to go sit at the gazebo one evening this week, as apparently I have been there for the last several years at around this time, all wrapped up in baja goodness…Laughing at tacky storefronts, pointing out misspelled signs, being eaten by mosquitoes, being shouted at by passer-bys in trucks, triumphantly spotting “Snowy Rabbit” for the umpteenth time and having bemused conversations with Kirk…And, Denny will show up [and maybe Mike, before Chrissy comes round to collect him] and we can all sit around nostalgically and awkwardly and it will be wonderful.

Sometimes hanging out is the best thing ever.


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

3 thoughts on “Fall Nostalgia

  1. I feel like I grew up in a similarish small city, which functioned like a small town. I might live in a big city now but it’s only when I go back there that I feel like I’m home.
    You are right–hanging out is often the best thing ever.

  2. we had a gazebo (we’d meet at) near us too, although it also brings those lost loves to mind! what better time than fall to throw on some Jeff Buckley and remenisce a little.

  3. Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, all those depressing musicians that seem to capture the mood just right…ah, fall!

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