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Throwback Thursday #43 – Sensory Memories

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. Perhaps there is no stronger memory trigger than a sensory experience. Those are the things we hear, sense, or smell, that take us back to aother place and time.

If you care to join us, it’s easy.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Sensory Memories

Memories can be so powerful, and we all experience certain things that trigger those memories. Sit back and be aware of your senses. Think about the songs, smells, tastes, or sounds that evoke strong memories.

You can either free write using these questions as inspiration or answer the question as they are.

  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?
  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?
  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.
  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’?
  5. Have you ever been somewhere new and immediately felt at home as if you have been there before?
  6. Have you ever experienced déjà vu? If so, how do you explain it?
  7. 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.)
  8. Do certain textures or colors trigger memories?
  9. Do certain stories, books, or poems remind you of someone from your past?
  10. What sensory stimuli surrounding you and your present environment do you think might evoke memories of you for your family or friends?

My post follows.


The smell of honeysuckle whisks me right back to the little valley where I grew up. If I close my eyes, I can almost smell the summer rains as they moved across the mountains. It is a smell I do not encounter often, but when I do, I am right back at home.

I often notice the smell of fresh ground coffee in the strangest places – my car or in my house when no one is up yet. It always reminds me of my dad and that makes me happy. I like to believe it is him dropping in for a visit.

My family often camped all summer in a local campground which I have written about several times. I had so many wonderful memories there. Most of the classic Creedence Clearwater songs remind me of those summers. This is one that makes me think of my summer love I found in an unlikely place what seems like a million years ago:

I LOVE black walnuts. As a kid we had trees all around us. My grandfather would take the nuts that had fallen from the trees still shrouded in their green husk and lay them out to dry. Once dried, the husks would be removed and the nuts stored for future use. My grandmother made a one-egg cake with a black walnut glaze which I have finally been able to reproduce! The taste of black walnuts make me feel like I am sitting back in the dining room at my grandmother’s house.

The sound of a distant train whistle also reminds me of the Valley where I grew up. Air brakes on a semi remind me of my other grandmother’s house who lived near the highway. I always found that to be a very lonely sound.

I have a strange reaction sometimes if I am traveling in a car at twilight. It is an almost sad feeling and I have never been able to figure out why. I have often wondered if it reminds me of something sad that I cannot ever fully recall.

I used to get feelings of déjà vu quite often. It has been a very long time since I experienced those feelings. I have read they decrease with age so perhaps that explains it. I have no idea what it is, but I always felt as if it was very real and very perplexing.

My mother used to read us poetry and I in turn read the same poems to my children. Those classic poems like Annabell Lee, The Wreck of the Hesperus, and Abou Ben Adhem always remind me of my mother.

The only time I have experienced an inate sense of belonging are here in these mountains. I have always been mysteriously drawn to Ireland, but I am not sure I will ever make it there to see if I feel that sense of home like I think I would.

I am a lover of memories. I think with age and lots of processing, I tend to only recall good memories for the most part. The bad ones still exist of course, but I do not give them time and space in my world.

34 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #43 – Sensory Memories”

  1. Here are my answers, Maggie.

    1) The smell of Candy Floss (Cotton candy) reminds me of evening trips to funfairs as a child. Other than at some seaside beach resorts, funfairs were the only places where Candy Floss was sold.

    2) My maternal grandmother used to make toffee apples at home, to sell in her shop. As a child, I used to help her dip the apples on sticks into the hot red-coloured toffee. I once smelled that toffee cooking aroma a long time after she had died, sitting in a car in London, in a traffic jam.

    3) Hard to choose one, but I remember playing this in the bedroom of my first serious girlfriend when I was 15. I had just bought the .45, and we played the same song for over an hour on her portable record player. Her mother knocked on the door and told us to please change the record! I can recall that evening like it was yesterday.

    4) The taste of a cheap small doughnut dipped in sugar reminds me of school holidays, and playing in the streets in London. The local bakery sold the doughnuts at 3 for one penny, and we all used to buy them after we had been playing. And yes, doughnuts have been a comfort food for me ever since.

    5 and 6) Combining these answers as they relate to the same place. Fifteen years ago, we went to a small seaside town in Lincolnshire for the first time. It is called Sutton-on-Sea, and is very ‘old world’. Not only did it immediately feel like home, I had a strong sense of deja-vu about being there before. So much so, that not long after, we decided to move there when I retired. That didn’t work out, so instead we have been there on holiday every year since. We are going again this September.

    7) This memory is more recent than most, as helicopters overhead always remind me of when I still lived in London, but during the period 1990-2012. Overhead, we used to have Police helicopters, private transport helicopters, News helicopters, and then Paramedic helicopters too. They all operated 24/7, and that could often mean no sleep after a day at work. Now I live in a country village, they are a rare occurrence, but always take me straight back to London in my mind.

    8) The feel of velvet always reminds me of my youth. We used to have small velvet covers over the arms of sofas or armchairs, to cut down on wear of the material underneath.

    9) This poem reminds me of a lost love, from not that long ago.

    W. B. Yeats – 1865-1939
    When You Are Old

    When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
    And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
    And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
    Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

    How many loved your moments of glad grace,
    And loved your beauty with love false or true,
    But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
    And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

    And bending down beside the glowing bars,
    Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
    And paced upon the mountains overhead
    And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

    10) Many of my friends and family speak of my fondness for red wine. When I am gone, I have no doubt the sight of a full glass of red wine will remind them of me. 🙂

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Your responses were lovely to read, Pete. I almost felt as if I was experiencing them right along with you. I particularly like the Yeats piece. I understand it so much more now.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I distinctly remember cracking open a walnut and finding a worm in it. 🙂 It’s blazoned in my memory because that is when my mind made the connection that food come from the Earth and animals eat the same things we do. In other words, everything is connected. I mean, I was just a kid, but it had never hit be before then.

        Liked by 1 person

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