The memories are still hyper-vivid: November 22, 1963, shortly before we were to be dismissed from school, my third grade teacher, Miss Otis, informed our class that the president of the United States was assassinated.
While we were stunned and saddened, my strongest Kennedy-related memories of that moment were actually formed later, through TV — especially of his son, John John, saluting the coffin as the horses pulled the caisson in front of him. Actually, the strongest memory of that day, a trigger for me, is…
See, November 22, 1963 was a Friday. And on Fridays that year, I always got on a bus after school to go to swim practice in Long Beach, Long Island. So my memory of JFK is ALWAYS triggered by the smell of chlorine. ANY TIME I go to a public pool since 1963, I instantly flash back to Miss Otis tearing up in front of us, the long silent bus ride to Long Beach, and the rush of emotions related to JFK’s assassination.
Such a weird trigger, huh?
I have another: Cigars.
Any time I smell a cigar, I CANNOT just smell it… I instantly ALSO smell beer and peanuts!
Trigger: Very top row, Yankee Stadium, (nicknamed the nosebleed section) during a Giants football game. My father, who was a cop, took me to games with his cops and firemen buddies. They always smoked cigars and drank beer and, of course, I had to have peanuts.
So, now…still…EVERY TIME I smell a cigar, I also smell beer and peanuts.
Weird what our brain and senses do to us and for us!
Tags: Point of View