courtesy The Graphics Fairy
This week a very touching experience happened with a dear friend. Afterwards it reminded me how all our senses play a part in family history research.
This friend came to me for assistance with a knitting project. Seems her mother, who passed away last year, made one more scarf that had yet to be finished. Cindy knew I knitted so she asked if I could tuck away the ends.
The next day I brought in a needle and before you knew it the scarf adorned my friend's neck. While we were chatting about the items her mom had made I noticed Cindy placing the scarf to her nose and inhaling. Just by her expression you could tell she was being transported to another time and place.
When she realized what she was doing she looked at me with such a lovely smile. On the scarf were traces of her mom's scent, which wrapped her in a feeling of joy.
Right away this reminded me of a time where I found myself in a similar situation. Our son was in the United States Marine Corps and stationed in Okinawa, Japan. We talked to him on the phone and wrote letters, but not seeing him in person for so long was indeed a hardship.
One day my daughter and I were walking up and down the aisles in the grocery store. While reaching for a can on the shelf a gentleman walked by with his cart. As he did I caught the scent of my son's favorite cologne. For several minutes I stood absolutely still with a strong feeling of Justin's presence. In fact, I must admit to following behind the man for several minutes just so the sensation would stay alive a little longer. My daughter thought Mom had lost her marbles!
Yesterday over on Facebook I briefly outlined what occurred with my friend. Well over 40 friends "liked" the story, and several offered their own experiences with sensory memories. One talked of her dad's scent on his New England Patriot's hat. Several talked about the special perfumes they remembered. One shared how she has a bottle of the perfume, but it smelled different on her sister.
Then there was the story of a friend's grandfather playing the fiddle. She tells how every time she hears this instrument she can visualize the smile on his face.
These experiences have reminded me that family history is not just the facts we gather along the way. All our senses should be engaged to have the entire picture. The sound of an instrument played, the smell of a perfume, the taste of a special dish, or the feel of a grandparent's cheek.
What are the senses of your genealogy?