I've always been intrigued with the random sights, sounds, tastes and smells that can so quickly trigger memories for me. Captain Crunch cereal — with crunch berries always reminds me of my Grandma Addie, so does potato salad, warm towels and the shoe department at Nordstrom.
Yesterday while I was exercising, I decided to just shuffle all of the songs in my iTunes account. I'm not sure when I downloaded the theme song for the TV show Hawaii 5-0, but as soon as it came on, I was sitting on the 4th floor of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University (BYU), my alma mater. You see, back in the 80s when the library closed at 11:00pm this theme song came on over the loud speaker. I even remember a few students jumping up to faux-surf. I didn't study late very often—I've never been much of a late owl—but I must have been there often enough, because just two or three measures in and I could absolutely picture myself there, packing up my books, putting on my coat and secretly wanting to surf!
Graham Perry was my band director at Kenmore Junior High. I played the clarinet and other than the day that I broke my *almost* brand new retainer because I was pushing it forward with my tongue when I thrust my clarinet into my mouth—I have only one other clear-as-day memory, which is of Mr. Perry giving us (the clarinet section) notes for the song, Windy. He counted out the finger positions for a clarinet, like this ... 3-5-3-2-1 6-6-5-3-5 3-5-3-2-1 6-6-5-2 ... Mr. Perry was a very jolly sort of man, a little on the plump side and he would stand up on the podium, lean slightly forward with his elbows out and held high, and bounce along as he counted the notes. Again, I had forgotten all about this until I recently heard this song. I still know every note!
p.s. What I didn't know was Mr. Perry's name. I had to message my brother Theron for that, and turns out, he sent a text to our brother Cougar. Theron said, "Coug got a sweet memory"
Ok, this song. I am NOT making this up. I swear we learned this song in school. I have a distinct recollection of our elementary music teacher passing out the words, some of which are not really elementary approved, but hey it was the 70s! And, I even remember her explaining the analogy of Leroy Brown being meaner than a junk-yard dog. Crazy! But, all of that aside. Play this song, and I'm riding in the back seat of our family car, a 1964 Dodge, light blue. I can picture the back of my Dad's head and the way the radio looked and I can hear him singing along. And the really interesting thing is I just called my Dad to ask about the car and just mentioning it to him, I got the 10-minute story of where he bought it (Washington State University) and how much he paid ($1350) and how well it served our family.
It's all about story.
We just need to pay attention to what triggers our memories and then sometimes, pause to write them down, or at least share them with someone we love. I played Bad, Bad Leroy Brown for Trey and Taft a couple of weeks ago. We were in the van, driving downtown. I told them to listen to the story. Listen to what happens to Mr. Brown, and why!