The Good Life: Memories That Make a Life

The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons by Sarah Mattison Buhl

The Only Memory That Matters

May is the essence of all my lovely childhood springs…

May is the essence of all my lovely childhood springs. I’m pretty sure I didn’t know at the time that the month was actually May but, in hindsight, it must have been, because the high school band could be heard practicing their marching music in the distance for the Norwegian Syttende Mai parade—a major annual event in my small, Midwestern hometown. My mother opened all the windows and let the warmish springtime breeze drift in along with the band. I remember the sheer, white curtains billowing around her as my mom took down the heavier winter drapes. I remember our enormous crabapple tree heavy with pink blossoms. I remember eating my Chef Boyardee Ravioli out of an orange plastic bowl, while sunning my newly rediscovered knees on the back steps. In my memory, I often ate my lunch on those back steps, but did I? Am I recalling one day in May that somehow got changed in my memory to a lifetime of May days focused on my knees? One thing I know for sure is that apple tree has grown a lot from then until now. Maybe my memory of May has grown in proportion to that tree. Details lost in remembering? Read on

Q&A: Smells From Childhood

Question and Answer

"Campfire," remembers Julianne. "Always reminds me of the wonderful camping trips with my grandparents!" (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

What scents bring back vivid memories from your childhood?

  • Jeanne Ionata remembers: Wet earth after it’s just rained in the summer… wild grapes… melting tar.
  • Jackie Amuso Dolby remembers: The ocean… freshly cut grass… and chlorine.
  • Robin Morgan Huntley remembers: My nana’s Christmas cookies.
  • Diane Hinze Kanzler remembers: Rosewater–reminds me of my great-grandma’s hugs. Lilacs in bloom. Manure–reminds me of mucking out stalls when I was a kid…
  • Sara Barry remembers: Apparently the smell of a super hot, steamy shower running in the middle of the night—brought me right back to having croup as a kid.
  • Amanda Saklad remembers: Freshly cut lawn.
  • Anita Morehouse remembers: Anything associated with camping… growing up my parents had a seasonal camp site at Springbrook Campground in Shelburne, right off of Route 2.
  • Peter Freisem remembers: Good apple butter always reminds me of being at my grandmother’s house. She made her own, and it was tasty! Fortunately, I have her recipe.
  • Julianne Thibodeau Krutka remembers: Campfire! Always reminds me of the wonderful camping trips with my grandparents!
  • Nichole Alexander-choon remembers: Cigar smoke reminds gives me the picture of my pe pe sitting at my grams table smoking a pipe!! Also the smell of chicken soup reminds me of my grandmothers house!!
  • Anne H DeCourcey remembers: Scent of fresh ink in a picture book… snuggling up to my parents as they read to me.
  • Mary Serreze remembers: Ocean
  • Lisa Davol remembers: Freshly cut cucumbers remind me of my grandmothers kitchen.
  • Heather Johnson remembers: The way some old books smell on the inside.

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