Blackwood, N.J. has excellent childhood memories for me. My grandparents on my Mom's side used to live there when I was very young. They had a great yard. They had a gazebo. One time a cement truck came and, drum rotating with the apparent precision of the Earth spinning on its axis, poured something for them, probably the base of their gazebo. I got gum stuck in my hair there and my Mom cut my hair as the only way to clean it up. And more than once there was roadwork on their street, and they used Smudgepots. 'Toledo Torches', if you wish to employ Google. To my cousin and I- to two five year old boys- the dancing of their flames that never blew out in the wind was pure magic. I've seen the end of a number of eras in my day already, and to most of them I say a heretical good riddance. But I feel privileged to have seen the Smudgepot Era firsthand, and I feel sad that it ended.
Except! Now I own two Smudgepots of my very own. I fill them with Citronella rather than kerosene. And their flames dance merrily yet again, and delight us more than any ridiculous Tiki Torch ever could.
You will see many eras end in your life. Popular culture saturates us with talk and information on the big ones, the vast sea-changing upheavals in our world that we must continually learn to adapt to and live with.
Then there are the small eras, let us call them micro-eras, that rise and fall around you throughout your life. Favorite businesses closing. Telephones changing from rotary to pushbutton to cellular. The local parade that transitions from marching bands and magnificent John Phillip Sousa marches to just a bland flow of local politicos in late-model cars with obnoxious banners on their sides. Dental amalgam fillings! My Smudgepot example may seem a trifle silly to some, but dang it, the sight of a dozen or so Toledo Torches lighting up the familiar streets of home at night was a visceral, magical one.
Take note of the micro-eras that end as you go through life. Tell your children about them. Write about them in public. And, when you can, keep them alive yourself.