I remember when….

June 6, 2011 § 8 Comments

I don’t have a great memory, I never really have. Studying for my final school exams I must have made at least 100 identical copies of my notes in an attempt to carve the words into my brain. And it worked. For the next week I could have told you anything about Australian troops in Vietnam, flawlessly quoted the exisentialist tragicomedy that is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, talked my way around a Japanese dinner table and written a business plan for a company up to their eyebrows in debt. Unfortunately as soon as I had submitted the papers all of that information fell out my ears.

Clarence River at dusk

“We’re more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can’t give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They’re all blood, you see” … (thank goodness for Google!)

Sho & Eiichiro at a school in Tochigi Prefecture

But one thing I am good at is sensory memory. As food lovers we would all experience how taste can take us back to another time, another place. For me the taste of Weetbix with cold milk reminds me of eating midnight cereal with my Dad. The taste of Weetbix with hot water and warm milk reminds me of breakfast with my Aunt and her rascals with the pleasant musty smell hay in the air and the promise of sweet Blue Ribbon ice-cream. A crunchy peanut butter & Vegemite sandwich is synonymous with after-school snacks at my Nan’s kitchen table and any strange combination of ingredients under grilled cheese on toast is me as a young girl sitting at the farm and eyeing my plate with scepticism. Never again will I be able to eat sweet potato with tahini without remembering BR’s kitchen table and her mum’s spring vegetable pasta.

But it’s not only taste, but scent, auditory, tactile and visual.

The smell of star jasmine and honeysuckle is springtime back home and the touch of burning hot asphalt on sun-toughened feet takes me back to beachside holidays, especially when paired with the ice cream truck melody. The jingle of keys, wallets and lipsticks in a large handbag remind me of the thrill of going through my grandmother’s purse every time I saw her, the world of the grown woman was exciting beyond belief. Panic At The Disco will always be linked in my memory with The Batman circa 2008, and Boom Boom Pow is peddling my heart out in a spin class in 2010, watching the massive thighs of the instructor and expecting to die.

Skywriting on a Sunday in Bellevue Hill, Sydney

It’s funny the things that make you remember: the smell of leather shoes, a frosty nose and dragon’s breath, fluorescent lights in a city train station, Kings Of Leon, burnt toast. I can’t explain it and I can’t control it. I also can’t predict what memories will be created from what I’m hearing, tasting, touching and smelling now in 2011, in North Carolina, at 23.

Born to be a foodie, Seaworld 1992

Just something to think about. Tell me Blushers, what makes you remember?

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§ 8 Responses to I remember when….

  • Mike Stahnke says:

    I don’t have the best memory either, but it’s funny how a song I hear on the radio or on Pandora will take me back to that specific season or year that I had that cd playing in my Discman.
    I’ll telling Liza, every once in a while, “I remember back in ’96 when that Bush album came out, I took it with me to Mexico…” It make me feel like I’m getting old, actually.

  • I bought Oil of Olay face cream once because when I smelled it, it reminded me of my grandmother who died when I was 12. I didn’t know why it reminded me of her. Then later my mother told me that my grandmother had always used it. Memories of smells are supposed to be retained the longest and I totally believe it. :)

  • Loved this post Jennifer. I was like you for exams, had to write the same lines 100 times before it finally sunk in and then would happily ooze out the other side of my brain just a week later. Now I try and get a visual aid if I’m trying to remember something, other wise it’s so damn frustrating!
    Smell memories are gorgeous. Instant transportation to a happy spot…
    I’m sure you are creating loads of North Carolina memories, just waiting to spring out when you least expect it down the track.
    (You’ve packed in a lot for 23 years!)

  • If there’s an exam in the wind then I too write the dam info again, & again & again till its lodged firmly in my (short term) memory…., like you I could quote it back verbatim randomly or back the front or any which way you want it……., give me a week later & pooof, its probably gone if it wasn’t particularly relevant.

    But then…., ask me about the first time I smelt fresh bread cooking – easy ‘when I was 8 & I was walking in the back door from school & walked into the kitchen & there it was on the bench all golden & beautiful smelling of all the goodness a kid can think of!! Suntan lotion = when I was 12 (or thereabouts) & found out what happens when you don’t use it. I could go on….., and trust me, its probably always going to go back to sensory deliciousness of food or its smells.

    Just the way it is I guess :)

  • Gran says:

    My great memories are connected to food and this great little foodie….ducking off to have our sneeky? little treat and the smell of hot coffee when I collected you most Tuesdays from preschool and headed to a cafe for our Tuesday treat….a baby chino even at that age !!!.always remember it…even if I am getting old!!!…think the coffee aroma was nearly always mingled with hot raisin toast.!! xx

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