Sensory Memories

Memory time

Maggie continues the Throwback Thursday series by asking about sensory memories. Interesting questions!

1. Do certain smells bring back memories for you? Maybe a flower, or a perfume, or the smell of a certain food cooking? If so, can you share one such memory?

Oh yes. Smell is strongly bound to memory, and in my case a whiff of Jean Naté conjures up my mom’s ghost. It probably would trigger a headache for me now.

2. Have you ever sensed a strong smell that reminded you of someone only to realize the smell was not actually present? How do you explain that?

I have not experienced a smell hallucination that reminded me of a person, but I often do have them before or during a migraine. For example, peanut butter is one of my favorite foods, but it sometimes smells like disgusting cigarettes during a migraine attack. I guess a sector of brain software gets damaged then and subsequently repairs itself.


3. What song immediately whisks you back to another place and time? Share a YouTube video, or name the song and tell us about the memory.

Many songs are associated with the past for me, but one song that completely freaks me out to this day is Lionel Ritchie’s “You Are the Sun.” I slow danced to this song in a bar in Chicago at closing time (2am) with a man I was madly in love with back in 1983. He seemed to like me, but when I had to work, he took another girl on a camping trip. Yep, I was so nuts over this guy I would have gone camping! But I have always put work first, above everything except my children. After that, I decided to move to California with my parents and create all new sad memories.

4. Is there a taste that reminds you of a person, place or memory? Does that food happen to be one of your ‘comfort foods’?

Spritz Christmas cookies remind me of my mom. We used to bake these every year and it was a lot of fun. But I no longer have the metal cookie press she used, and I don’t get good results from plastic ones. To be clear, I am not talking about any random Christmas cookies, but only homemade butter-sugar ones shaped like trees or wreaths or poinsettias and dotted with sprinkles. We would color one batch of dough green and half the other batch red, which usually came out pink. We left half a batch uncolored and sprinkled lots of deco on those. Once, my mom went wild and put peppermint flavor in the pink cookies instead of our usual vanilla or almond.

If I had these cookies now, I’m sure they’d be comforting, but I wouldn’t go to the trouble of baking them. It’s a lot of work!

Christmas cookies

5. Have you ever been somewhere new and immediately felt at home as if you have been there before?

I can’t recall feeling this ever. I’m usually uncomfortable in new places.

6. Have you ever experienced déjà vu? If so, how do you explain it?

Sometimes. It’s just a software glitch imo. Or it could be that I don’t have a lot of unique experiences, so many of them feel the same.

7/8/9. Are there sounds that remind you of another place and time? (Something like a clock ticking, a train whistle, a horse galloping, gentle rain, etc.) Do certain textures or colors trigger memories? Do certain stories, books, or poems remind you of someone from your past?

No to all.

10. What sensory stimuli surrounding you and your present environment do you think might evoke memories of you for your family or friends?

Friends and family variously associate me with cupcakes, avocado, cats, otters, and migraines. Everyone knows I hate perfume, bright light, and loud or repetitive noise. I have a rep for getting lost and being somewhat funny. My theme song is “Hotel California” by the Eagles. My motto is “eww people.”

©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

21 responses to “Sensory Memories

  1. Eeeewwww people indeed!! My daughters associate me with my perfume. I wear Estee Lauder “Pleasures” and have for decades. Like your memory of Jean Nate (😂😂😂 I used that in high school… it was everywhere, like Love’s BabySoft😂😂) and your Mom.

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  2. Fun reading about your memories. I used to love those cookie press cookies. So good, and we’d make them at Christmas. I think I still have that cookie press, unless I gave it to one of my daughters. 🙂

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  3. Eww People, Aww Cats and Cookies.

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  4. Thanks for joining in again Paula. I share many of your experiences. My mom had the metal press and we made dreidels and menorahs. I too hate repetitive noise, loud noise, and all perfumes. They are prompts for migraines for me too.

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  5. Paula, I enjoyed your post very much. I had not thought of Jean Naté in year’s. I think my mother wore Tigress sometimes, but she was not a big perfume person. I loved the Lionel Richie memory but not the outcome. What a disappointment. I think you have a pretty good theme song to be remembered by.

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  6. I love that motto. I want it in a T-shirt now

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  7. Eww people? That’s hilarious

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  8. Wow – that Lionel Richie song reminds me of shopping at the mall – and hearing others sing along while looking at clothes

    Sorry your memory is not the best with that song
    And those cookies would amazing

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