Sunday, March 2, 2014

Make a Memory

I went to school with a group of really great folks. Some of them have been attempting to keep our past alive in recent years by perpetuating group email messages among those of us who have been located. A few weeks ago we were asked to help recall the geography of  "our" downtown -- the businesses and their locations that we grew up patronizing. Group participation in these things is minimal, and even I don't get involved with them all. We are diversified, and what interests one doesn't always "catch on" with some of the others. However, this particular one piqued my interest, and I responded, listing every place I could remember from the downtown area of my hometown.

Memories you take for granted in your youth often fade as you get older. You forget a name that you just knew would always be there for you. You remember a name, but can't for the life of you remember the location. So many things that were there, yet you can't dredge them back up from their distant depths to be certain you are remembering their purpose correctly. Well, all the same, it was a fun trip down memory lane, to a time and place that was slower, simpler, and much less complicated than most places where we find ourselves today.

(My hometown, Winnfield, LA, in the 1950's.)

One thing the chore did for me was to bring up other things that were long-forgotten in the seldom-used recesses of my mind. To myself I call it "making a memory" when a person, place or event, becomes associated with a particular smell or scent. Thus, I added a post script at the end of my list about this. I didn't get the first word about my geographical efforts, but began to receive comments back on the P.S., which made me think it might be worth sharing with you:
"How do you describe a smell? But thinking about all those places, don't they make you remember their individual aromas, a combination of the goods they offered and the cleaning chemicals? I think I could have identified any one of them blindfolded just from their scent. And don't you absolutely love it when out of the clear blue somewhere today you catch a scent that takes you back in time -- to a store, to school, to a cafeteria, to a date with a special person, to your grandmother's knee...."

One former classmate informed me that she saved the email and periodically returns to it because of how good it makes her feel to read it over again and remember times past.

One of the guys, one of our "tough" football jocks back in the day, wrote, "...that is one of the most eloquent, touching soliloquies/e-mails I have ever read. I can so remember the smell of my grandmother. Don't mean to sound like a wuss, but your e-mail was priceless."

Now that you think about it, is there something you can smell that will take you back to a very happy place in your past? Would you like to share how or where you have made a memory that can fill you with peace and joy when a scent from the past fills your nostrils? We would love to have you share it with us in the comment section below!