It is 5am on the West Coast and all is quiet – except for the noise in my head. I am experiencing a flashback from the summer of 1972 – the song “School’s Out For Summer…” by Alice Cooper. My mind begins playing this song and I have no idea where it came from. It has been stored in the corridors of my mind for 50 years.
I hear the music in the tweeters and woofers of my mind and begin to relive the emotion pain of a lost girlfriend that summer. School was out for summer and so was I. High School dead ahead. I got dumped for a dorkenheimer and had no idea why. I was better looking. Had more on the ball than this guy. Of course, I was a better kisser, right? And I was out on my posterior and feeling blue.
Isn’t it something how an aroma, a song, a sound, the taste and smell of peanut butter or green beans – perhaps a voice – trigger memories from a time so long ago? This Alice Copper classic wormed its way out of storage into the active pathways of my mind and, as it went, I began feeling that uncomfortable nuance of a lost love from my youth. Do you remember that?
I relived our walks through my hometown holding hands and feeling euphoric. Euphoria was replaced with, “Jim…I think we need to cool it for a while…” and the achy sadness of loss. An ego beaten… Of course “a while…” turned into forever. We’d never speak again. I’d spy her walking through the mall later on hand-in-hand with someone new and think, “What does this guy have that I ain’t got?”
Oh, the heartache.
It is remarkable what our minds retain over a lifetime. The feeling of a soft breeze on your face, the sound of a train, the lonely droning sound of airplane propellers high overhead, hearing your child breathing in their sleep, the sweet aroma of fresh-cut grass. These elements, and millions of others, take us back a lifetime for a mental multimedia event only we can relate to.
I suppose memory is there for our very survival. Music is there in your mind in a solid-state hard drive designed to keep you company when you are lonely. Memory is also there to, hopefully, help you avoid making the same mistake later in life.
And me? I will settle for the awe-inspiring sound of Alice Cooper and the steamy hot summer of 1972 when life was only just beginning.