Isn’t it funny how the opening notes of a song can send your back to a certain point in time? Instantly? Vividly? With memories of senses returning? Obviously it’s an odd feeling to describe, so just for today let’s not play “find the verb.”
Not long ago when a certain song from my distant youth (sigh) came over the radio on my stereo, I was sent back-back-back, wa-a-a-ay back to Coronado circa ‘68. Suddenly
I was 11 years young again, putting on my Little League uniform, suiting up for a Saturday-morning baseball game. In my mind’s eye, I was there. And in my mind’s ear, I could hear that same old song blaring from my trusty transistor radio. For the moment, at least, I was back in the day!
So intense was the flashback (hello, Flash), I could again smell the powerful effusion of flowering citrus blossoms emanating from the trees we used to have in our Coronado back yard. Eerily though, those trees have been long-gone for decades, as in well and truly chopped and chipped. Had music elicited an olfactory hallucination? Odd. Even for me.
The aroma of citrus trees is one of my earliest and fondest Coronado memories. When we moved here from back East around Easter of 1967, the sweet scent of citrus growing in the back yard seemed overwhelming and omnipresent. Yet after a time, it became barely noticeable, as did the ever-frequent roar of jet engines being tested by NARF at NASNI. Enough USN acronyms? Forgive me. I do digress. It seems some sort of phantom scent from long-removed citrus trees had been resurrected. I could smell it. But how?
In my momentary reverie, ephemeral snippets of one-hit wonders of the day flashed in and out of earshot: “Incense and Peppermints” by Strawberry Alarm Clock; ”The Rapper” by The Jaggerz [sic]; ”Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” by Daddy Dewdrop; ”Sugar Sugar” by The Archies; “Spill The Wine” by Eric Burdon and War; and “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly.
Heavy Metal meets Psychedelic meets Bubble Gum, oh my!
As I went reeling back, the years blurred by in reverse, stopping at the appointed time and place. So clearly. So distinctly. Yet so long ago. It turned my head, and gave a shiver. Brr! Are you with me? Of course not! How could you be? It seems my senses sometimes play games with me. A song triggers a scent. A color triggers a taste. Wait. What? A color triggers a taste? Oops. It looks like I have some explaining to do, so ‘splain away, Lucy!
Once while watching the Cleveland Browns on the telly, the camera zoomed in on a Browns’ player’s helmet, its distinctive shade of orange filling the screen for a second.
For some oddball reason, the color brought to mind the football cards I’d collected as a kid. In that instant, for only the briefest of moments, I could somehow taste the stale, brittle, rectangular chip of powdery pink bubble gum which came inside each pack of cards.
Again, what? Lemme get this straight. This addled lad had had a gustatory hallucination? Brought about by the color of a football helmet? Really? Has his reality check bounced?
Ah, a rhetorical question, eh? As TV’s favorite Texas toon Hank Hill would drawl, “That boy ain’t right!”
Oh, by the way, there’s one thing I forgot to mention: I never did say what song sent me flashing back, 60s style. It was “Time of the Season” by The Zombies. Those first
few bars by the bass and drums are what did me in. Haunting! And then the lads chime in: “It’s the time...of the season...when love runs high...”
And a-whoosh! Away I went! Away to the daze of early stereo. What was “early stereo”?
Simple: Two transistor radios under my pillow, dig? Solid.