As much as I wish I didn’t have to reference my true age, I can’t exactly wax poetic about my little life without the occasional reference to the men I live with (the hubby and our two male teens). I’m taking a deep breath and just jumping in the icy cold waters of advanced middle age here…
I think for most of us, as we look back, some years just stick out more than others. I won’t list all of my big years (hey, baby steps….admitting I’m a lot closer to 60 than 30 these days aint easy!), but 2013 definitely belongs on my list of “big years.”
Get ready– I’m actually going to make some of you do a little math!
Thirty years ago I graduated high school and life changed in a million and one ways that year. This year, my oldest son graduated high school, and as I’ve watched him hit all of his own watershed 2012-2013 moments (senior prom, graduation, first job, first serious girlfriend, starting college, etc.), it’s been a year for feeling nostalgic, twice over.
(Note to my five followers: Relax, I’m not going to wax poetic about my little baby being all grown up– I’ve inundated Facebook with that stuff all year, so that’s out of my system!)
Maybe it’s because I don’t live anywhere near the town I grew up (I’m three states away), so I don’t “run into high school friends” like others do. Maybe it’s because 30 years ago, I too had my first serious relationship, first job and began attending a local college while still living at home. But my memories of being 16, 17, 18 are still special to me.
I find myself hearing those ’80s songs and I have a visceral reaction. Mostly remembering where I was when they first played on the radio or debuted on MTV (oh how I would have loved YouTube). Long car rides with my family when my Dad would let my Mom rule the radio dial. Doing homework while listening to the Top 40 countdown. Watching MTV for hours at a time while babysitting, just waiting for Hungry Like the Wolf to be shown.
The songs that bring me back the quickest are the Songs of Summer… Duran, Duran, Go-Go’s, Michael Jackson, Blondie, Chicago, Donna Summer, Devo, Billy Joel, Elton John, Tears for Fears, Journey and Madonna (and all of those one-hit Summer wonders).
But it’s not just songs, it’s also the smells of Summer that take me back to my teenage self. Some smells, especially those I don’t smell very often, are often associated with my favorite memories.
Pina colada body wash reminds me of summer vacations at the beach. I slathered on that Tropicana pina colada scented sunscreen (not that I ever turned that “golden shade of tan”) with the hopes that the cute boy at the beach would smile and say “Hi.” And one summer, he did!
The smell of a cold rain on hot pavement makes me remember the times I ran outside to enjoy the break from a humid day – reenacting those ‘Singing in the Rain’ scenes with my invisible Gene Kelly in our driveway.
The smell of hot car leather reminds me of the two times I overheated my first car (’69 Buick Skylark) and my Dad had to come rescue me. I can still see him shaking his head (he did that a lot when I was a teen) when he realized that I’d been idling the car in Drive all summer, having no idea what Neutral was for.
The smell of Polo Classic cologne always reminds me of one of my most serious summer infatuations – both the highs of being in love and the lows of a tragic parting. (I still say that sniffing that stuff is better than any chapter in Fifty Shades of Gray!)
Okay, that last paragraph probably lost a few readers (including the hubby)…So back to my theme.
Tonight I spent a pleasant and peaceful hour listening to the cacophony of insects outside, twittering, chirping and lifting their voices in song to celebrate one heck of a beautiful late summer night! And for just one brief moment, I closed my eyes and I was back in Connecticut, 1983… the trip was short, but ever so lovely.
I can’t help but wonder, what smells and sounds will remind me of summer in 2023, 2033 and beyond?
(And for you smart alecs in the room – don’t say it, I can already guess what you’re thinking… I’m NOT that old… yet).