I remember hearing one time that smell is a very strong memory trigger. I know that’s true, but recently the sense of touch was far more relevant for an old memory of mine.
It had to do with an old spoon.
Lots of people collect commemorative spoons – among them my mother and mother-in-law – and they cover just about every subject you can imagine. The thing is, for me – as a kid – I didn’t see the commemorative spoon as something to hang on the wall. No, I actually used mine.
My spoon was for “Friendship 7” – one of the Mercury flights of the early US space program, and I loved to eat my Cream of Wheat or stir my tea with it every chance I got. As far as I was concerned, what was the point of having a special spoon if you weren’t going to use it?
My mother did not agree. She seemed to feel that using a spoon, licking it off, drying it on my shirt, and tucking it back in the drawer was not a good thing.
That’s moms for you, they never like cool stuff – or a little boy showing a bit of initiative. She insisted the spoon be cleaned was water and (ugh) soap after every use. As far as I was concerned, soap was poison to the spoon – it removed all of the good flavour. Those nooks and crannies were very good at holding tasty little food particles.
Even today, after all these years, I can still stop, close my eyes, and remember the feel of that spoon as it slid out of my mouth. The bumps and ridges, the shape of the space capsule, and the raised words – each of them had a unique feel, and each time I used it for a meal, it made me smile.
How many people can say that about a simple piece of silverware?
Today, I have a number of mementoes of childhood. That spoon is not one of them. Unfortunately, it was one of those things that just got lost in the shuffle of adolescence and the divorce of my parents. Where I was concerned about the big things of my life, and they were fighting over support and real estate, something as small as one spoon sort of slipped through the cracks.
Now, whenever my wife and I visit a garage sale, flea market or rummage sale, I always make a point of checking out any silverware or commemorative spoons for sale. Who knows, maybe one of these days I will find a “Friendship 7” spoon, and buy it? When I do, the first order of business will be a nice pot of tea.
And this time, no one is going to make me wash it when I’m done!
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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