Service of What Triggers Your Memories

May 2nd, 2024

Categories: Memories, Triggers

I’ve already written every which way about memories. Today I will mention some things that trigger mine.

  • On May 1, every year, my father brought my mother a bouquet of lilies of the valley. I think of them both on this day.
  • My dear friend Kathleen, who died in December, sent me a card of Venice many years ago that has been in my living room ever since [Photo below]. She was frugal—she wrote on the back of the notecard’s image having cut off the other half with the message someone else had sent her–so I can’t identify the artist though the original was probably painted in the 17th Century. My husband wanted to retire there and loved paintings of the floating city. I think of both of them when I pass by the card.
  • When Catholics say the Lords Prayer, they stop at “but deliver us from evil.” Protestants continue with “for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever.” When Homer attended mass with me, he’d squeeze my hand and move his lips to finish the prayer as it ended for him. At mass, the Catholic priest says those words a few seconds later. These days I whisper them to myself as—and when–Homer would.
  • I saw “Moonstruck” on TCM for the millionth time this week. I love the movie. The pictures of Brooklyn Heights in the ‘80s when I lived there and the scene in the Metropolitan Opera trigger countless memories.
  • Hearing Luciano Pavarotti sing “La Donna È Mobile,” or “Nessun dorma” brings tears. I was a classical music lover and an opera ignoramus before I met Homer. I’m still clueless opera wise but have come to love some arias especially.
  • I haven’t been back to the Oyster Bar, where for years Homer ate lunch before taking the train upstate every week, but when I pass it, you know who I think of.
  • Pictures of cats that remind me of my sweet gray Cat or tomgirl Caramelli Cat [photo above].
  • Bumping into a former neighbor who updated me about people I used to know.

Do things, places, and events spark your memories whether you want them to or not?

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7 Responses to “Service of What Triggers Your Memories”

  1. DW Said:

    Hi, Jeanne.

    2 years ago May 1 fell on a Sunday. On Sunday mornings, I have to go for a walk (reason too annoying for words). On my way back that day, I was passing a v. pregnant woman standing in front of a closed-on-Sundays florist. She was bereft, and asked me about it. She was French, and she told me that in France, it was considered good luck to buy (or pick, I guess) lilies of the valley on May 1, and she wanted to get some for her friend. She had come from Queens to the store in my neighborhood because she’d gotten lilies of the valley there the previous year. I started calling florists in the neighborhood with no luck, but finally suggested Fairway, which used to have a big flower selection. She hailed a cab. I think of her and mentally wish her good luck every May 1, which is a big day in our house for a different reason, as you might guess.

  2. DW Said:


    Giving lilies of the valley in France –or if you’re French– on May 1 wishes happiness to the recipient. It’s a lovely tradition. And I’ve always loved the name May and the month of May–except as a student when it was finals time.

  3. Ginny Pulos Said:

    Ginny on Facebook: Absolutely.

  4. EAM Said:

    I would say that if I am at a particular place like Cape Cod, I’ll have a flood of childhood memories from where my family spent summers at the Cape. Also, a particular song can bring back a memory of when I was at college or hanging out with my girlfriends, singing in the car.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Memories are a mixed bag, not all of them pleasant. I’d as soon live in the present for the most part.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The first time I went to the Met Museum without Homer was tough. What helped: I was on the phone with a friend as I strolled an exhibition empty of others. It’s helpful to make new memories at such a place although memories seep in anyway.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    That’s the trouble with memory triggers: you can’t control them.

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