Funny how a feeling, a smell, a sound can serve as a time machine to another time, another place.
I was walking through the woods last week – lost in my own thoughts – and came upon a tree trunk, fallen across my path. Without hesitating, I climbed over it, but missed the height that I needed to swing my leg by a fraction of a inch. I scrapped my knee (ever so slightly) but was immediately transported back 50 years in time. My brain registered the same sting from my childhood falls. I inhaled a similar sharp breath as my nine-year-old-self would have done, and pulled up my pant leg to find a slightly raw scrape on my kneecap. No major damage done, but still, I wanted my mom and her always-handy bottle of Bactine®.
Yesterday I busied myself with making elderflower cordial. I gathered a basketful of perfect blossoms, snipped the individual flowers from their pale green branches into a crock, added some organic lemons and simple syrup. As I handled each delicate blossom, I was again sent back in time. The summery smell matched perfectly that of a small bottle of fragrance that was part of a perfume kit that was given to my sisters and me by (I think) an indulgent uncle as a Christmas gift. I remember the kit was a cross between a beginner's science kit and a girly-girl rainy-day craft kit. It contained a number of small containers of fragrances: some sweet, some spicy, some woody. It must have had some small vials of a carrier oil, perhaps an eyedropper, and some small bottles to create the final product. Anyway, one of the fragrances in that kit from 50 years ago was a perfect match for elderflowers. It transported me right back to our upstairs bathroom on Buckingham Terrace where I stood with my older and younger sister concocting lovely (?) smelling bottles of perfume.
The third incidence of time travel happened as I watched a recent segment on CBS's Sunday Morning about the 50th anniversary of the Monkees, a made-for-TV band that outsold the Beatles' music in 1967. As an 10-year-old, I was smitten with Mickey Dolan and was pretty sure that if we could just meet, he would break out singing: "Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind. I'm in love." Unfortunately, I never met him, but I did watch every one of the 58 episodes of the foursome's silly show. Hey, hey we're the Monkees...