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Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"I hear in my mind all these words. I hear in my mind all this music.
And it breaks my heart."
~R. Spektor

Summer, 1985. I'm six years old. My parents have scrimped and saved for over a year, so that we can take our first vacation as a family. The drive seems to take forever. I try to remain patient for our final destination. Eventually tiring from anticipation, I fall asleep.

It's been claimed that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. There are clearly survival benefits to having senses tied to long-term memory. Science has also shown that senses are linked to emotional memories as well.

I wake up...nighttime. I gaze out the window, hypnotized by crashing waves. The humid air is oddly refreshing, in fact I find it intoxicating. I lean my head back to play peek-a-boo with a full moon high above the palm trees. Calm, I listen to the music playing on the radio as we make our way down the coast:
  • Level 42, "Something About You"
  • Simple Minds, "Alive and Kicking"
  • ABC, "Be Near Me"
  • Don Henley, "Boys of Summer"
  • Tears For Fears, "Head Over Heels"
  • Bruce Springsteen, "I'm On Fire"
  • Ann Wilson/Mike Reno, "Almost Paradise"
  • Cyndi Lauper, "Time After Time"
  • Dan Hartman, "I Can Dream About You"
  • Tina Turner, "What's Love Got To Do With It"
I don't remember much else about my first trip to the ocean. However, when I hear any of these songs, this particular memory washes over me. For a moment, I'm a little girl again, realizing that there is an entire world full of boundless possibilities...beckoning me to explore.


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