In the blink of an eye a smell or a sound or a touch can transport you to some other occasion in the past. The smell of old fashioned school paste can take me back to Phantom Lake Elementary School. I can see the little pink and beige desks and tell you which kids ate paste.
When I was six I got a huge new baby doll. The plastic she was made from had a particular smell and if I ever happen to smell something like that I can feel her in my arms to this day.
The other day my friend’s husband found her sitting in the sun room at dusk and lost in thought. “What are you doing?” he asked her.
“I’m thinking about being twelve this time of year at this time of day and playing kick-the-can. It even smells right this evening. God it was fun,” she said.
“You played in the dark?”
“Sure. It made it better for hiding.”
“You going to sit here long?”
“Until I’m done enjoying remembering.”
Do soft summer evenings or something else evoke a sense memory for you? I have a snap shot in my mind of that sort of evening in 1976. Barely more than children ourselves, my husband and I were enjoying letting our children play long past their bedtimes. It was so warm and light out that the time just got away from us. I dressed my oldest son in a romper that had belonged to my mother’s older brother. Barefoot, my preschooler padded down the dusty dirt alley behind our Kirkland house, looking like he was from another time, his thick, long blond hair a silky halo around his head as he ran ahead. And then it struck me as he ran that he was beginning his journey away from babyhood and away from me. ‘Though I would enjoy several more years watching him run, I’ve kept that snapshot in my mind and pull it out on warm summer evenings and relive the magic.