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Thoughtful Thursday: Sowing the Seeds of Our Memories

“Time's the thief of memory” - Stephen King

Regular readers of this blog know I search for sayings and quotes to inspire my weekly mental meanderings.  And the back story is I brainstorm with family members and friends as well, frequently asking, “What are your memories of …?”.  What’s funny is that none of us share the exact same recollection of an event or situation. Although very similar, memories are intensely personal and skewed by what happened before and what has happened since.

I prioritize posting in this blog a personal story, anecdote and memory thereby documenting, cataloguing and memorializing it; this elevates that memory from recall to retention. My educator friends know embedding brain-based learning techniques such as associating smells, visuals and feelings with that memory will further preserve its place in our mental archives of life experiences.

Think about some of your earliest and/or most significant memories, are they attached to an emotion or are they triggered by a smell? Thanksgiving usually has happy, comforting smells that anchor memories while fear, love, and anger may prompt memories of other defining events in our lives. I remember how I felt when my sixth grade teachers told us that President Kennedy was killed, and warm sand, sun-burned skin, and the smell of coconut conjures memories of Ocean City family vacations while my brother’s birthdate, September 14th sparks the images on a black and white tv of the very first lottery drawing for the draft during the Vietnam War.

As we get older, it is more important than ever to hold on to these memories as they trace our path to who we are. Like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs were used to mark their trail, your recollections channel your past and guide your future. Share your memories…good and bad as the very process of sharing may lay bare misunderstandings and beliefs, provide context for behaviors and loyalties, and build foundational experiences for future generations who do not know. 

Art gives memories a place to live, a visual hook to reminisce and makes visual that which hides in our mind. For me, art is one more crutch to reinforce that which time wants to diminish. I look at different paintings in the gallery and memories are triggered: of my childhood home, the Adirondack chairs in my grandparents’ back yard, a Maine vacation, my cousin’s workboat anchored in St. Michaels…  To plant your memories firmly in your mind’s eye, please visit our gallery in Chestertown or shop virtually at .

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