Trigger-Loaded Memories

By Don Hall

To start with; this story is not about guns or anything like that.  This was the first good title that came to me.  I tried to think of something cleaver (maybe this is how Karl Haas comes up with names for his shows).  

What I mean by "trigger-loaded" is how hearing or seeing something will "trigger" a memory.  You suddenly find yourself thinking about certain people or certain events.  Maybe you haven't thought about these people or events in years but suddenly all the memories come flooding back.  That's been happening to me lately.

Last Saturday, April 8, 2000, we went to Payless Shoe Source on Blanding Bv. to find Lael some new shoes.  While Margaret helped Lael I watched William.  William is 2 years old now and very active.  After Lael had tried on some sandals she left them on the floor nearby.  William was barefoot on this particular day.  He walked over, slipped them on his feet and walked around the store while I followed him.  I don't know how long he had them on but it seemed like 10 minutes or longer.  While walking around he suddenly came across some pink fuzzy slippers.  He kicked the sandals off and, while holding my hand, slipped his feet into the slippers and walked around in them.  He got some amusing stares and smiles from the clerks and from other customers.

When he put the slippers on I suddenly found myself thinking about my Aunt, Maxine Long, or Auntie Teen as I always called her.  This was one of those "triggers".  Had Auntie Teen owned a pair of pink slippers?  Or maybe my mom?  I couldn't remember for sure.  But, seeing those pink fuzzy slippers "triggered" something deep in my memory; something I hadn't thought about in many years.  I talked to my mom on the phone that evening and asked her.  She said she never owned a pair of pink slippers but seemed sure Auntie Teen had at one time.  Thinking now, as I write this, her bathroom had the same shade of pink tile.

Other "triggers" have occurred.  I remember early one morning I went to Publix to get some groceries.  The store opens at 7am and I was there along with several other people when the doors opened.  I remember it being a sunny morning, cool enough where you wouldn't feel the humidity.  There was a pot of coffee just inside where customers could help themselves.

All of this brought another "trigger".  I found myself thinking about my Uncle, Harry Long (he was married to Auntie Teen).  He's still alive (as I write this) but is in a nursing home with Alzheimer's.  He was always an early riser.  He needed to get up early because he had to be at work early.  Even on the weekends, on vacation and after he retired he was still an early riser.  He also enjoyed going on "long" walks (no pun intended).  I remembered one time when I was growing up they came to visit.  One morning, Uncle Harry was up early as always, walked down to the Totem Pole Restaurant, had a cup of coffee and walked back before any of us had woken up.  I thought if he and Auntie Teen ever came to visit us he would've been up early and walked all the way to Publix just for a free cup of coffee.



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Copyright 2000 by Don Hall. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06 May 2003 14:25:47 -0400 .