Transporter ~ back to childhood via the senses

Daily Prompt: Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.

The first ten years we lived at, on or near the beach.  The smell of Coppertone is the essence of manliness to me.  The feel of a swing seat, the one made of leather with chains to hold onto, where you push off and soar so high the poles shake, evokes Webster School. Directly across from Webster School (public) was Our Lady of Malibu, which was the Catholic school – due to family finances, I went every other year to one or the other. When I hear or sing, O Holy Night, I am back at noontime on the playground, the heat of the paving hot under my shoes, looking up into the stern eyes of a certain nun in the classic habit, my eyes focused on the cross hanging from her waist (is that possible?) and I am trying out for Chorus. I chose that song because I loved belting out “…FALL ON YOUR KNEES, OH HEAR THE ANGELS VOICES…” I was not accepted into the choir. For the first time, it occurs to me how hot she must have been in the heavy habit and tight headdress. The smell of freshly mown grass instantaneously makes me breathe deeply and I am back at Roosevelt School, 5th grade, outside with the sun at about 10:00 a.m., lined up with classmates and singing the tunes from Oliver! The smell of a steaming iron evokes images of my mother ironing. The sounds of the Beach Boys, Kingston Trio, Frank Sinatra are instant transporters for the feel of vinyl in my small hands, certain rooms in our home(s), car rides. Bean with Bacon Campbell soup and tunafish sandwiches after the sun goes down remind me of Friday nights. Because my mother worked in a bank and Friday the Bank stayed opened late, we were allowed to prepare anything we wanted for dinner so that Mom could just simply relax when she got home.

I would not have said that I had a great childhood, but time and changes over that time bring to light the good and some outright fun we had.   It is lovely to visit, but I am so glad to have grown up.  There was the added bonus that deep in my DNA, no matter how many doubts, insecurities, bad days – I grew up in Malibu and that was THE PLACE to be (even though at the time it had one light, one market, you could drown in a rip tide or get bitten by a snake).  And you can’t take that away from me! 🙂




13 thoughts on “Transporter ~ back to childhood via the senses

  1. Pingback: We’ll Never Smell That Way Again | The Jittery Goat

  2. The senses – such a big collection of memories contained in them!
    Thanks for sharing P – the thing i most remember from our beach holidays when I was young was my grandfather’s tackle box smelling up the whole cottage 😉
    We had such fun!!


  3. Growing up in Malibu: it sounds just wonderful to me. But though I grew up on a rainy island way across the ocean from you The Beach Boys have that same power to transport me back. Great stuff.


    • It always amazes and pleases how music undergirds and completes our experiences. We moved to Santa Monica when I was 10, so, sshhh – I remember Malibu a bit differently than my brothers and sisters, who were older and got to have a lot more fun…. 🙂


  4. Hunt, Let me play along for a moment, the taste of skillet fried chicken, takes me back to summers on Grandpa’s farm. Mom cooking on the wood stove, the chicken frying in a ton of lard, but knowing the flavor that was coming. But it wasn’t only from the chicken itself, but the gravy that would come from the dripping. And the homemade biscuits, smothered in homemade butter and jeliy. So I mixed the scent and flavors of many a summer.

    Music was a focal point for me, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Zombies, The Stones, and a hundred other bands of the mid 60’s take be back to our home in Louisville,

    Thank you for such a wonderful post, and sharing all those wonderful events, Please take care, Bill


    • Too funny, Bill ~ as I was reading your comment, I came to the words “the taste of skillet fried chicken…” and my mind instantly shot to a memory of watching my Mom cook fried chicken and then having that rich beigy gravy from the drippings on white bread – oh man, I gotta have some of that this weekend!

      This push for health has zapped the flavor of food – I love stuff made in bacon grease, especially German Fries, as my mother called the recipe ~ chopped potatoes, onions, a little bit of bell pepper – and now, we ‘ve another thing I’m hankering for!


  5. Pingback: Never Get Board of the Past | Keyboard Pizza

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