I am continually amazed at how our memories appear to be endless. If our mind is a treasure box of collections it seemingly has no lid and yet never empties.
Even observing the recovery of a brain injury, I am continually amazed at what can be retained. The memory is a powerful thing.
Some memories falter where others struggle with impairment or disease. To have a healthy memory can be such a gift. I may not hold a Pulitzer or a state championship ring--- but I do have one mean memory which I can only hope will continue to stay strong… because I quite enjoy it.
Getting back to the amazement part.
Memory recall. Incredible. Of all the senses that activate memory recall --- I think that my olfactory recall is a personal favorite.
Coming across an old picture can capture such a memorable emotion. Hearing a familiar song playing can instantly take me back to a time when that song was my world. Alanis Morissette jagged little pill ---eighth grade for anyone else? All this is great but an olfactory system of memories is like an instant zap to a previous time.
Case in point. Tonight I had a best friend one year anniversary date… which by the way leaves me wondering why our world doesn’t have more of these? On my way home I stopped by Albertson’s to grab a gallon of milk for my dairy addicted children. As I was heading to milk land in the back of the store, I suddenly had a dip into memory box. Some fellow “daddy” shopper out there was wearing my dad’s old cologne (Lagerfeld). I smelt it about aisle 6 and my pretty painted toes followed the scent all the way over to the meat section. It wasn’t that I was expecting to see my dad but my shopping experience had become a walk through my childhood with my father. Everything that was safe, home and comfortable was wrapped up in that smell. Mix in the smell of coffee and perhaps a little Q102 morning show and we would have been driving to school in 1987… When I did meet up with Mr. Lagerfeld he couldn’t have looked less like my father if he had tried to but I was still happy for the memory.
I guess my most favorite part of the olfactory memories is the element of surprise. In case you didn’t notice I like to embrace a little spontaneity when I can.
Of all the gifts I hope to impart to my children it will be a treasure box collection of positive memories so that when they are grocery shopping late at night they can too perhaps dip into a happy memory of their parents. Well that and I guess a lifetime of happy smells-- just to better the memory and all.