Memory Triggers – Cedar

So, one post in and I already have followers. I wasn’t expecting any aside from family and friends, but I’m more than happy to share and am grateful. Thank you. 🙂

Last night, I bent over next to my cedar-lined hope chest and got a whiff of the distinct wood. Immediately I was drawn back to the attic of a house my family lived in for a short time. It was Wausau, WI. 1999. I was 11, going on 12 that year. We had just moved there from International Falls, MN, in the dead of winter. I’ll always remember the temperature when we left, though I don’t know why…it was -34, felt like -42. Fahrenheit of course, because America uses the Imperial system. Bad weather delayed the truck in Duluth, so we had to stay at a hotel a day longer than expected. It was bitter cold when were unloading, so cold the men’s beards started forming icicles from the condensation of their breath. I huddled in a back room –  my room – with our dog until it was all over and done with and we could turn the heat on without wasting it.

I ventured up to the attic the first time that day, excited at the prospect of such a space. I’d never lived in a house with a proper attic before, so I was eager to see it. Why, I’m not sure. It just held a certain allure to me. The house in International Falls had no attic, and the only other house I’d lived in – in McDonough, GA – had a little utility attic that was only good for storage, not for doing anything with. I’d spent some time of my childhood wondering what that attic had looked like, what it held. I’d wanted to go up there, but my parents forbid it. It was probably for the best, as I likely could have gotten hurt, but it didn’t stop me from wondering. And now, in that rental house in Wausau, I was finally able to see what I hadn’t seen before, what had previously been verboten.

It was pretty nondescript, as far as attics go. It was just an open space with a built-in cedar closet. I’d never smelled cedar before, and it was very strong to me. Almost repulsive at first, though I eventually learned to like it.

I don’t remember how long I spent up there at first, but it probably wasn’t long. We had just moved in and there was lots of unpacking to do. But I visited the attic in play. At one point, I set up my little microscope kit on a desk. I even had Barbie dolls kept up there, but I’ll go into more detail with that later, as I’m now starting to get off track from the point of my post.

The point being that certain triggers can set off a cascade of memories. All of this came back from simply smelling a scent. Scent is regarded as a strong memory trigger, but there are other things, too. Voices. Songs. Even simple phrases. The more I write and write this post, the more I keep thinking of to write, so I think I will break it off here and put other memories into other posts. There’s so much that comes flooding in, it’s hard to separate everything and concentrate on a category, or even contain the category I’m in and condense it and I don’t want to turn this into a huge wall of text. If you’re still reading, thanks and congratulations for making it this far.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s