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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nothing, Ma! Just Smelling Some Memories!

Not long ago I was blathering on about how scents evoke memories; in particular, we spoke of oregano and its ability to not only call to mind my father’s recipe for meatballs but also prompting a memory of, perhaps, having purchased a dime bag of it thinking it was something else.

But aromas aren’t the only prompters of nostalgia.

As has been previously noted and expounded upon ad nauseum, I was raised to pay attention to music, to listen for the changes, to know who played what on what. I even had a list, as a child, of what was to be played at my funeral.

Would you believe we opened with Moonlight Sonata?

Of course, now I can’t hear that piece without imagining my morbid 10-year-old self in a coffin, my parents and siblings tearfully wishing they’d recognized my genius sooner.

“If only we’d treated her better!” they’d exclaim, sobbing.

And I’d chuckle to myself. Oh, now you’re sorry!

Childish? Yes. Oddly satisfying? Yes. A little embarrassing? Well, yes, but I’m among friends, right?


So here I am, sitting on the porch on a particularly windy Friday, listening to Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold”.

No one wants “Stranglehold” played at their funeral, do they?

“Stranglehold”, no matter how many times I hear it, reminds me of sitting in a basement, late ‘70s, blue smoke hovering, people laughing.

Which for some reason is making me think of oregano.

On the other hand, the B52’s “Rock Lobster” was the song to which I threatened to beat my brother with an aluminum baseball bat for refusing to turn it down while I put The Boy down for a nap.

Now there’s a pleasant memory!

And Bootsy Collins’ “Ahh, The Name is Bootsy” was particular to two weeks at the jazz camp I attended at Michigan Technical University.

That’s right. Two weeks at band camp.

But that’s another post. And I’m gonna need to see your ID.

Smell ya later!


The Retired One said...

You were at MTU for band camp???
OMG, Pearl, you drove right past Michigamme, where I live! (although we probably didn't live here then...we have only been here 5 years).
Our daughter graduated from MTU too..so we know Houghton well!
Small world.
I knew I loved ya..but now...even more!

darsden said...

Pearl you crack me up... funeral music at age 10...LOL yep I know why you think of oregano all the time...LOL

Not The Rockefellers said...

Here I come again now baby..like a dog in heat..
Yes, I do want that sung by a choir.
You wouldn't forget that!

Peace - Rene

powdergirl said...

Haha, thats cute. I never planned the music, but boy oh boy, did I ever sit smuggly imagining how sorry they'd all be about how they treated me!

Yeah, thats right! You'll be really really sorry you didn't treat me like a princess all the days you were lucky enough to have me!

You're great at stirring up the old memory bank, Pearl : )

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I bet the two weeks at band camp post is going to need to be more than one post.

One day my hubs and I shared what song each of us wouldlike played at our funeral, should anything ever happen. Now, if either of those songs comes on the radio, I get all teary.

The Jules said...

Stranglehold? Depends on your method of demise I suppose. I wonder if you could have different lists depending on how you died?

Douglas said...

I always considered smells to invoke memories rather than the other way around but you have a point. I think of returning to port in Long Beach, California and the pungent odor of oil refineries is somehow in the (mental) air.

And you may have explained why I load up my meals with oregano...

as for funerals... well, I don't plan on having one (I plan on living forever... so far, so good) but if I had one, I vote for Taps.
The person attending would likely appreciate it.

Reya Mellicker said...

What a great post!

A friend's father wanted "Doing it My Way" played at his funeral. He was a big Frank Sinatra fan. Then he committed suicide.


Is that funny?? Maybe not so much!

Hope you weren't anywhere near the tornado this week. Crazy weather! Yikes!!

♥ Braja said...

Did you know (don't you hate that as an opener sometimes...:) that scent is the strongest trigger of memories? And sound is the most influential?

So my conclusion is, you're scientifically making yourself number one girl on the blog by infiltrating our senses, right?

Smart and beautiful, what a combination....xoxo

mapstew said...

I'm making a DVD for my funeral. I hope it's a long way off, 'cos I haven't got the costumes ready yet!

I've told Herself that I don't want to go to a church, (Obligitory here!) and would rather be waked in the local pub, (where I usually worship, the god, Arthur Guinness!)

Songs for the service;

1. Don't stop me now. (Queen)
2. I want to break free. (Queen)
3. I want to ride my bicycle. (Queen)
(See a theme forming here?)
4. We'll meet again. (Vera Lynn)
5. I'm lonesome on my saddle 'til my horse comes home. (Trad)

And there must be copious amounts of JD. And fun , and laughter.

And then everyone will cry buckets and miss me forever! (Bit Gay?) Fuckit, I'll be dead!


Lunatron (aka Jamie) said...

One person's oregano is another person's oak tree leaves. Ahhh, the stinkin' memories.

Jodie Kash said...

There will definitely be U2 played at my funeral. And probably “Whose Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?” because I like the lyrics (“You’re dangerous, ‘cause you’re honest,” hells to the yeah) and because there are hallelujahs in it .

Kavi said...

Band camp. Sounds like one heck of a camp. I wonder if there is something like that around here..

@eloh said...

Every time I hear bubble gum music I remember "1-2-3 Red-light" and I'm a car hop having to take the food to the guy whose penis is sticking out of his pants.

"This Magic Moment", a carload of us half drunk parked in the dark alley beside the police department trying to figure out how to break our buddy out that got caught hanging around the liquor store, hunting a "buyer".

Lady Fi said...

I can relate to dreaming and organizing my own funeral when I was a kid!

Great story.

TechnoBabe said...

Sounds like you had a good childhood even if you did have thoughts of satisfaction of how bad the family would feel if you died. Scents evoke memories for me too. Some good, some not so good. But I am grateful that at my age I can still remember at all. I like the mango-lime salsa recipe and shared it on my blog. It is awesome.

Phoenix said...

Ah.. memories! It is strange how sometimes very trivial things evoke such strong memories and emotions... smells, sights, music.. sometimes voices and phrases...

KMcJoseph said...