For those who aren't familiar with it, the author Marcel Proust wrote a whole big-ass book about taking a bite out of a cookie (a madeleine) and experiencing a flood of instant, intense memories, just from the taste and texture of the cookie.
I have a million, bajillion little things like that, and they always take me by surprise. Sometimes I purposely avoid them, so they keep giving me those big rushes of memory (I mean, if you smell something every day, it weakens any associations you have with that smell, until it all goes away). And, I mean, some are the same for everyone- dry fall leaves go with the start of the school year and Halloween, pine needles and Christmas, spring mud and the end of the school year, stuff like that. But some are ours alone. These are my favorites:
Proust has his madeleine and I have my carambars. When I was in fifth grade, a whole class of French 5th graders came and stayed in Park Ridge for a month. We hosted one of the girls in the class, her name was Isabelle. She brought us a whole bag of Carambars, and I loved them. The following summer, I spent a month with her family, in a suburb of Paris. We lost touch in high school, although recent google-stalking has me convinced I've found her. She worked for Louis Vuitton before she opened her own boutique in Paris. I think. I'm pretty sure. Anyway, Carambars are one of those random candies you really can't find around here. I ordered some off the internet a few years ago. They taste just the same.
I brought sun-ripened raspberry shower gel to England when I studied abroad in college. A few months after I came home, I sniffed it, and WHOA. I'm not even sure they sell it anymore, but I stopped using it so that it would always remind me of staying at the Y and in dirty hostels on the weekends;) Good times, good times...
Leapfrog Spin and Sing
G and I played with this outside all summer long. All of the songs make me think of warm sunny days, outside with my happy baby. It was one of her favorite toys, and she just recently outgrew it. But while she liked this toy, we had SO much fun.
What are your madeleines?