Lynn and Doug Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

Do you have anything, like a physical object or fashion from the past that brings good memories for you?

What got us thinking about this subject is that Feb. 27th is National Retro Day. We weren’t alone in our interest. Actually, 73,100,000 other people were searching out Retro Day on Google.

We learned that National Retro Day was founded by Hermelinda A. Aguilar and Robert and Tina Duran. They wanted to encourage people to take a look back at how life was before the Internet, social media, and smartphones dominated our lives.

Lindsay Garber agrees this was a simpler time, “when Instagram stories were not as important as living your own.” In 2018, the registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed the celebration of National Retro Day to be observed annually on Feb. 27.

We decided to take time to look back at what brought good memories for us. For me (Lynn), I must admit that I still have a sock monkey! I find I’m not alone with my love of sock monkeys. Do you have one — or more?

Sock monkeys have been around since the early 1930s, originally made by socks from Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford, Illinois. By 1992, that company was bought by Fox River Mills in Osage, Iowa. The monkeys are made from heavy work socks that have a bright red heel that becomes the big red mouth of the monkey. Patterns were made, and books written about sock monkeys.

Sock monkeys appeared in "Cabin Boy," a movie where David Letterman played a street vendor who sold sock monkeys. In another movie, “Batman Returns,” Catwoman gives in to evil and throws her sock monkey away. Now that’s a nightmare for sock monkey lovers!

Children and adults have loved sock monkeys since they were first produced and they keep reappearing as a trend with the original monkey style, along with other monkey personalities. As a child growing up, I loved my sock monkey. He snuggled with me, went on wagon rides and now brings me precious memories.

I (Doug) have fond memories of my first bicycle. It was a Monark Super Deluxe with double spring shock absorbing fork for a great ride! It also had a push button horn. Having my first bike meant freedom — freedom to ride the farm roads and explore back trails with my friends. It was a joyous, carefree time of life that still is a wonderful memory for me. Little did I know then that the same model vintage bike would now be selling for $2,500 on eBay. Now I’ll have to see how much my secret decoder ring is worth!

We met Mike and Holly Bierlein, Chaska residents, and asked what triggers good memories for them. Holly told us she also had a sock monkey in childhood. Mike shared, “A good fond memory I have growing up is, my brother and I went to get a Schwinn bicycle — remember the Schwinn Stingray with the sissy bars and handlebars? We couldn’t afford to get one by ourselves, individually, new, so our dad took us down to the local Schwinn dealer. In the basement they sold used Schwinn bicycles — Stingrays — and we got to pick one out.”

Mike continued, “We thought that would be great but he didn’t tell us, until we got there, that we’re going to have to put it on layaway. It took us about two and a half weeks to take our dollars, half dollars and quarters, until we paid the $26.50 off to get the bike and bring it home to share.”

“So then,” Mike added, “the next thing was who was going to be the first one to ride the bicycle and how were we going to allocate. But we worked that all out. It was a fantastic time in my life to be able to share a Schwinn Stingray bicycle with my brother.”

We enjoyed hearing those memories. Also, we see what wonderful life lessons Mike learned about how to save for something and how to share.

How about you? What objects bring back good memories for you?

Some ideas: We encourage you to not wait for National Retro Day to relive those wonderful memories of past times. Consider writing those memories down for future generations to enjoy so they can know more about you. Who knows, the same things that brought you joy could become trendy again — so hang on to that poodle skirt — or maybe not!

We’d love to hear what fond memories you have from items in your past.

Chanhassen residents, Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at