Memories – snapshots of moments stored in the deep recesses of our mind. When we recall a memory we recapture the feeling / experience even just for an instance.
Having lived for over half a century already, my mind’s recesses are chock full of memories which can be triggered by many different things. A song … a word, phrase or accent even … a smell … the title of a book … soundtrack to a film … So many triggers.
For me I think smell and music are the main keys to unlocking memories. For instance, there is a certain chain of hardware / homeware stores which, as soon as I walk in remind me of my Grandparents shop and warehouse. Its not a single scent, more a mix of bars of soap, firelighters, turps, polish, wooden brooms, and general household stuff… One whiff and I am whisked back in time to the age of about 7-9 years old, walking through the passage which joined the house to the warehouse and shop. The warehouse had all manner of items stacked on shelves, hanging on hooks – galvanised buckets, mops, watering cans, as well as tinned food stuffs, bags of tea, sugar and flour and the jars of sweets. The shop itself was a village general store – very reminiscent of the one which features in the TV sitcom “Open All Hours” – same counter, shelves around the shop stocked with groceries of all description, a cold counter with bacon, cooked meats, butter, cheese and milk, and my favourite, the sweet counter – liquorice pipes, strawberry laces, sherbet flying saucers, bonbons and chews.
Memories have lain dormant within my mind for many years – without a thought, until they are triggered into life. Perhaps its age which triggers memories?
We talk to elderly parents, relatives and realise their time on earth is drawing to a close. Perhaps its a way of preparing for the bereavement that we reminisce – remember good times, extract the memories and replay them to recapture the moments. Perhaps its our increasing years. We reach a stage in life where the days ahead will be fewer than those past, we think back and remember…
The arrival of children, grandchildren, new generations brings with it more than a hint of nostalgia and revives memories of our own childhood and those of our children.
Enjoy your memories, treasure the moments, remember the good times by all means – but don’t forget to live in the present, the here and now. Live – and by doing so create more memories for yourself and those around you.
The memories we leave with others are our legacy – their inheritance, some would argue that treasured memories are possibly more valuable than monetary riches?
words and pictures by Lizzy Clark