I was talking to my walking buddy the other day about how atrocious my memory has gotten. Call it age, whatever you want I just think more years= more to remember. There are things that I do vividly recall. Times and places with people who have come and gone in my life. Often times I’ll hear a song on the radio and it will transport me back to a moment, a little sliver of time that’s associated with the words and verses strung together in a melody. This is why I love music so much. Sometimes they’re good moments, others not so good. Some, like my first kiss and the Tom Petty song playing at the time are forever entwined. That particular memory is bitter sweet. The recollection of the hope of my first kiss and the knowledge of what the boy did to my heart at a later moment in time (and another song) forever sealed in my mind. Some songs make me recall newer memories, some songs older. Many songs I can remember only from the back seat of a car. My father singing along with all the windows down on the way to an adventure. The happiness I felt even then in a car, singing as loud as I could over the wind and the radio I still feel. That’s why all my cars need sunroofs and loud stereos.
There are also smells that make me remember. The smell of the cold, wet wool sweater my mother wore home on Thursday nights when she worked. The smell of wood, saw dust, and varnish that my Dad brought in from his work. He used to drive in with the Doobie Brothers blaring, his hair in all forms of disarray. Model glue when my brother was younger then beer and Abercrombie cologne accompanied with the bass of Atmosphere and Andre Nickatina when he was older. Burning oil of a VW bug and Tom Jones from my very first boyfriend. Cigarettes and Counting Crows remind me of a very dear friend I lost when my world fell apart. The moistness of redwood groves and freshly mowed meadows of UCSC are forever associated with my discovery of country music. Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros and the lotion they had in the hotel room during my honeymoon will always make me remember the first time someone called me by my married name… That smell and my husbands smile when I know he recognizes it still gives me butterflies.
I don’t know why my mind does this. I try to capture a song and a smell to help me remember the important stuff. It saddens me that I just can’t remember who and why and how anymore at times. I try and try to recall but it seems like if there isn’t a song or a smell the moments are forgotten.