Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Writing Sparks Old Memories

Have you ever researched a topic and found yourself immersed in memories?

As a child, I was not afraid of bugs. We lived in what was considered the country as our house was located four miles north of the small town's main street.

In our yard, we had boysenberry shrubs filled with pebble-sized berries. My two older brothers told me I couldn't eat the juicy red and purple-colored fruit because they were "poison berries." I believed them, of course.

Blushing Bride hydrangea hedges bordered the south and east edges of the yard. Beyond the hedge on the east were open farm fields, to the south a cemetery. In the crook of the right-angle hydrangea hedges were a few scattered rose bushes, the kind with large country blossoms. The bugs crawling around all this greenery were called rose chafers.

These little bugs, smaller than your baby fingernail, found their way into my current Work-In-Progress novel. While researching the rose chafer, not for any bug-like traits or description, but for the correct spelling, I relived some of those childhood days when concerns about poison berries and rose chafers measured the depth of my worries.

Thanks to the Internet and dusty back rooms of libraries or Register of Deeds offices, I love the research process. Whether for a novel or a genealogy project, it is a pleasure to ignite that spark.

What sparks old memories for you?

For more information on chafers and hedges click on:
rose chafers
Blushing Bride Hydrangea


  1. I'm like you, when I write stories about growing up for my genealogy blog, it's like I'm there and reliving the memories. Smells and songs are other things that can bring memories. A song can transport me to that time, I see and remember. This is a good post!


  2. Thank you, Judy. I agree that songs can transport you also. My Mom's parents had the 75-rpm Blue Skirt Waltz and I listened to that on their Victrola whenever I visited. More good memories.

  3. I once put my old home town's name into Youtube and found a long video of old photos. I lived on memories for quite a few days after that.

    Smells can take me back, too.

  4. For me, when I hear certain songs it spurs remembrances.
    When I am reading, it could be towns, or cars, even descriptions of clothing.

  5. For me, when I hear certain songs it spurs remembrances.
    When I am reading, it could be towns, or cars, even descriptions of clothing.

  6. I followed you home from Facebook because you mentioned the Beatles. I was reading a blog earlier today about great "oldies" and it was all rap and hip hop. So disheartening.

    The car of my fond memories was the '64 Rambler American convertable I shared with my brother.

  7. Oh, everything, I think! Perhaps it is part and parcel of approaching the age of 60 - sometimes it is just the way the light enters the room or a whiff of something in the air. Then I'm gone - on a reverie.

  8. Linda and Jan, Thank you for visiting. It is disheartening to hear rap and hip hop referred to as the "oldies." See you on your blogs.

  9. Memory is such an interesting phenomenon. I remember, vividly, all those I worked with on my very first job when I was straight out of university, in 1980, but since then, so many faces, increasingly blurred into non-remembrance. Similarly, some childhood times are so clear, but if you asked me what I was doing in, say, 2002, I'd struggle to say much meaningful. I feel it's a case of cherishing what we have, and keeping some sort of record. My gmail accounts are my main record, as I update my friends on my to-ings and fro-ings.


  10. Michael, you have a vivid memory of the past. Sharing childhood memories and recording new events in blog posts help us to retain these precious events.

  11. Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

    Lola x

  12. Shadows follow me this way. We tied little white flowers in knots crowned our heads on the front lawn, sitting in grass with no blanket to keep our legs and toes from being tickled by the blades.

    Mom in the house on the phone, the ironing can wait.

    Dad would come home to supper with me and my four brothers; sitting round a table of freshly picked vegetables.

    The fans would whirl on, Mom keeping the house cool all day long with closed curtains now opened and the screen door on display.

    Each year a new member of the clan would reach the dubious honor of fetching the milk at the corner store just minutes before the main day meal.

    The house was white, the roof was blue, swing set in the backyard. The garden grew precious seeds each year; yielding a small acreage.

    The watering hose in my mother's hand...me with my hose, years later watering gifts from the seed world. The gardens I grew; flowers and vines colors of a rainbow and the joy of early morning weeding. Coffee in the sun. Mini hoe and watering can; the earth sprouted echinacea, hostas, columbines, wild grasses, a dogwood tree. Hand-picked rocks laid in shapes I saw in my head and followed the pulse of my heart.

    ....memories send me into a folly of nostalgia....Michael, your blog is a charm.


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