What about the history behind history?

May 13, 2019

historyHistory has the ability ….

…to transport us to another time and place–including our own past.

The recent docu-series

on serial killer Ted Bundy transported me instantly back to my days at Florida State University and his reign of terror in Tallahassee. Michael and I were in our first marriage and I was in my first job after grad school. I’d been teaching undergrad classes and was pretty sure one of the Chi Omega victims had been a student.

I remember how terrorized campus was and how at the time, I resembled his usual victim: long, dark hair parted in the middle. I can’t ever hear about this psychopath without thinking of that time in my life, when I was a young married woman just starting off in her career, married to a lawyer. I had no inkling that we’d divorce just a couple years later. And certainly would not have predicted a remarriage 26 years later!

Whenever I see Bill Clinton

I think of the year he took office and the hope with which I and my very liberal boyfriend-soon-to-be -husband greeted that news. Bob and I worked together but we also secretly dated for a while, and then “came out.”  I remember the more than a dozen years we spent together vividly.

As I reminisced I remembered my mother’s visits from the East coast and how we’d spend weekends at Bob’s Aptos home. That led to an evening when my gay BFF (then and now) and my mom cooked together in the small galley kitchen, bumping rear ends and laughing, smoking cigarettes on the porch. I recall Bob introducing me to lattes, to real bicycling and to the idea that men could cook really well. I was not in love with Bob, but I loved him deeply and still do.

See how detailed–and tangled– memories of our own history can be?

It’s fascinating how reminders of an era from our past can be almost like a time machine, moving us back and forth along the continuum of our lives as we almost re-live our history and the things we remember.

Does this happen to you?

If it does, I’d love to know what triggers these walks down Memory Lane for you. Just leave a Comment!




6 comments on “What about the history behind history?
  1. Oh, your Bill Clinton memories are great. Reminds me of going to vote for Obama – I vote in liberal and very diverse Brooklyn and the lines were ridiculous but the collective joy in the air as we all waited to cast our votes for Obama was so delicious that I just didn’t care!

    And actually my Frogma post today is about a picture book that Scholastic (where I work) is publishing in the Fall that sent me on the most wonderful mental revisit of a great solo paddle I did in 2014. Absolutely heavenly!

  2. Rena says:

    Music triggers so many of my memories. Good & bad

  3. Haralee says:

    Food and smells are my historical triggers. My aunt could remember what she wore to an event decades after. I can remember what I ate at weddings or parties or what was served and the trends. Remember when Fondue was huge, how about Crepes, both are making comebacks with Crepary restaurants. Air popcorn was big during Clinton’s second term.

  4. Alana says:

    Smells certainly can trigger memories. Certain food smells will transport me back to my childhood. Boiling cabbage, for example (as terrible as that smell is) brings me right back to the apartment building I grew up in in the Bronx, smelling the cooking of a war bride who married a GI and left England for a new home. It makes me think, in turn, of my immigrant grandparents.I lived in Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor and when I visited his museum in Fayetteville, AR years later I met a woman I did not know, yet she grew up while I lived in the area and it made me think of living on a small homestead and some of the many herbs we experimented with, both in cooking and in potpourri. In a small way, by the way, I can identify with the Ted Bundy memory because I lived in Wichita, Kansas during some of the reign of their mass murderer, then called the BTK Strangler. I am not sure I could ever watch a docudrama based on him – and I think there has been one.

  5. Music triggers so many of my memories. Good & bad

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