The BEST memories are made from the darnedest things…

You hardly ever know what’s making a memory until the moment’s practically gone. Now can slip away so fast, then in a blink we want it back so badly. The things that anchor those memories are equally surprising when we discover them. People and places and experiences flash back with the simplest sounds and sensations: the feeling of wind against our skin, the smell of breakfast sizzling on the stove, the spell a particular song casts, the sparkle of a child’s laugh at dusk…


I had oddest sensation this morning with my teen and his friend as they took part in a neighborhood-type garage sale, where they set up a couple of tables along side friends and did their best to raise spending money for an upcoming band trip with the flotsam we had lying around our garage and a few electronic and household things we dug out of cabinets and the attic.

Everyone was laughing and having a good time and up at the crack of dawn and feeling like they were wasting their time when no one stopped by at first but hanging in there anyway. Then the cars began to show and people began to wander up and sift through things and the boys started haggling. I let them be–Mom’s can be such a drag. Then I drove and bought everyone (including the neighbors) breakfast and brought it back.

And it occurred to me as I did, what a warm, happy moment we were making, just going about our lives but having a mini-adventure, too, in a way I was somehow sure we’d never want to forget.

memories artistic

Weird, I know. It was only a garage sale. But I could feel it (it was one of those special occasions where I felt it WHILE it was happening), that future moment when I’d some day gaze back and remember this day and where we’re living now and how crazy, normal, bizarre things like selling your junk in the driveway was once the height of Saturday morning excitement.

This is the sort of “everyday” I write about in my novels. And maybe I’m not explaining it very well when I talk about my own life. But it’s the normal things that turn out to be not so normal. These are the moments to treasure.

Hearing and watching my kid embrace a new experience fully. Fetching a treat for him and the others, just because it felt good and everyone was hungry. Our community revolving around us, and the bits and pieces of conversation we all shared while we waited between bursts of “buyer” activity. Even their haggling over prices had a very real echo to it for me. Whatever my teen becomes career-wise, I suspect he’ll be good at customer service. He’s a natural at talking to people (and talking them into seeing treasure in whatever he wants them to ;o).

Memories are like water to me, and the Great Garage Sale of 2012 is one of those flowing things my mind will never fully turn lose. I’ll come back here in my thoughts, and I’ll be glad for it. I just know it.

memories dock

I’m not completely certain why yet. But there will be a moment in the future when this day will ring clearly and poignantly and full of longing. I’ll want to be right back where I was today–enjoying sunshine and early winter chill and my son and neighbors and a few hours of simply being and feeling good about it.

It’s not surprising to me that I write stories about every days like today that turn into moments of discovery and closeness. Those are the realities I live to create in my own world. Those are the mornings, like this morning, that keep me going…

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3 Responses to “The BEST memories are made from the darnedest things…”

  1. Shirley Wine says:


    You are so right. The best memories surround people and places, and doing ordinary things.
    When I look back, my most cherished memories are of little things. It’s never about who had the best things or the most money, it’s about the people, special friends.

    I’ll share a funny memory with you. I’ve always made bread, still do in fact, and homemade bread has a real lure.This particular time, at Xmas, I had three loaves cooling and my husband’s father and brother came to visit. Next morning instead of the centre loaf was a small round peice of wood.
    My husband is a great practical joker, and for the next year, most every day, he put a plastic bread bag on that piece of wood, so many in fact that they could barely fit, and come Christmas wrapped it up and gave it to his bread-thieving brother as a gag gift. I can still see Graham unwrapping that piece of wood and the mountain of breadbags in front of him… and the howls of laughter…
    A truly special memory.

    • How wonderful, Shirley! EXACTLY the type of thing that stays with you forever. It’s a kind of love, your mind’s wisdom in remembering the moments that will forever be special to you. These experiences are parts of our hearts as soon as they happen (maybe before?), and they keep their place long after more important things are forgotten.

      Your husband and his brother clearly have a wonderful relationship.

      And your bread-baking description is making me HUNGRY!

  2. Skye says:

    Anna, based on Christmas on Mimosa Lane, I’d say you have a talent for turning the ordinary magical. The Christmas party was so real.

    I have many yard sale memories from doing them with a neighbor then with my mom. I can’t always remember what I made at the yard sales, but I remember some of the things i sold and some of the customers even years later. And mostly I remember having fun just being with my neighbor, or with my mom, as we waited for people to come by and offer us money for our unused stuff. These ARE memories that last forever.

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