Almost every day I drink herbal tea. It heightens the mood, brings me energy during the day and sleep at night. However last night, I had a craving for black tea. I haven’t had a cup of black tea in a long time; possibly a year ago. I almost forgot how to prepare it as I normally don’t add sugar to my other choices of tea. As I sat at the kitchen table cuffing my warm mug, slowly inhaling the smooth smell of black tea, I had a whirlwind of memories come in my mind. My mother was a black tea fanatic. She is the one who got me hooked on it. Then after my parents divorced, I turned away from it.
Have you ever saw, heard or smelled something that triggered a memory or a time from your childhood? I come across so many of those triggered memories. Our memories are not always locked away in our minds, but often times captured with our senses.
Scent is the only one of the senses to trigger an emotion before it triggers a thought
- Dave “Yeah-Dave” Romanelli
The smell and thought of lilacs always remind me of my grandmother’s lilac bushes that she used to have. They used to grow out so big and beautiful. As a child, it didn’t matter what I was doing, I would always stop to smell them. The lavender colors were fascinating and the smell was alluring. It had a naturally beautiful soft scent, and I gave into the temptations of its pure smell.
The other scent that I loved from my grandmother’s place was her gingerbread cookies. My grandmother would often get bored and bake gingerbread cookies year round. It wasn’t just the scent, but the taste. No one ever makes gingerbread cookies like my grandmother did and I often times crave them still. Even as a child, I wouldn’t just demolish them, but I would savor every bite. They were that good!
During Christmas time, I would think about my grandmother’s cookies as I fulfilled the tradition of making my own. Cookies usually trigger many of my childhood memories. Oh how my mother used to hate baking so many batches of cookies, because of how time consuming they were. Sugar cookies were my favorite type of cookies. I always remembered that, because my mom complained about making them year after year. How I can understand the pain that my mother went through to make all of us happy, as I try to fulfill those same satisfactions for my own son. The smell and taste of sugar cookies always gives me those memories.
And coffee, coffee always reminds me of my Uncle Bob’s house. Whenever I used to visit as a child, their house was always filled with the aroma of fresh coffee. Probably because they made it every day – throughout the day.
Sometimes memories aren’t always triggered by food, scent and plants. My father’s back porch holds many childhood memories, some good and some painful. That porch was where I first learned how to use a hammer as my brother and I would hammer back down any loose nails. It is where I used to play with my little pony with a neighborhood friend. It is where I claimed “base” during a snow ball battle – sadly mistakened. It is where my brothers and I learned about Jesus with long talks with my mother. It is where neighborhood friends would meet us to go play. But my most memorable incident from that ole porch was learning how to skateboard.
My oldest brother had gotten a skateboard for Christmas and often times my other brother and I would “borrow” it. My mom didn’t want us playing with it in the house and with no flat surface in the yard to play with it, we would take it out on the porch. I thought it was so much fun, but terrifying at the same time. With my clumsiness, I could never get the hang of it. So, I would often hold onto the porch railing to pull myself back and forth. Now I know my mother must of warned me 20 times a day about not doing that, because I would get splinters in my hands. Well, I didn’t care about the consequences, I just wanted to ride the skateboard the only way I knew how. Well, approximately a week later, my family and I were walking around our local outdoor flea market, when I finally confessed to my mother that my hands were hurting and throbbing. She panicked when she saw both of my hands swollen and filled with splinters. I literally had about 20-25 splinters in each hand. It was extremely painful. Funny now, not funny at the moment.
Sometimes it’s a song that triggers a moment. I have songs that remind me of so many people in my life. I also have a few songs that remind me of those I have loved that had passed away. “Annie’s Song” by John Denver always reminds me of my grandmother, Rudy. “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac reminds me of my father. Sometimes you like a song, but don’t even realize why until something happens. I have a tendency to download acoustic covers of famous songs. I like to listen to a smoother version of the originals with a new soft spin to them. The famous song, “Hey Y’all” by Outkast is obviously a very upbeat dance song, but slowed down in an acoustic riff by Obadiah Parker you can really hear each word in a more sensitive way. During a time where I was needing peace, I spontaneously decided to go kayaking. This song came on and now I always relate it to that peaceful moment on the river.
So, it makes me wonder, what will my son’s memory triggers be? Will it be the smell of the perfume I wore, the smell of the grass, the taste of my balsamic pork chops that I always make, the sounds of Super Mario, or hearing a familiar song? I just hope that any trigger memories that he may have that they will be linked to very fond memories. I hope that they spark a magical and beautiful time in his childhood that he can hold forever in his heart as an adult – just like mine.