Memories may be beautiful and yet…

I am having a massage in bed and as I surf through my favorite blogs, I chance upon videos of the Love Boat theme on Chuvaness. Ah, memories. I was too young to follow the show regularly, or remember a full episode, but I am very familiar with the song. The hair and the makeup the women wore on their faces in the ‘80s — colored eye shadow and equally colorful, bright cheeks and lips. They looked very doll-like that way.

I watched all three versions of the same song on the Net, each sung in very different ways, and when I closed my eyes I could see my very young self, playing with my Lego and drawing with my playmates as we sat on the floor, while the adults watched the show. The song transports me back to that sweet age when I was very young and could not wait to grow up and dress the way my mom and her sisters did, in nice dresses with bags and shoes that matched, wearing makeup that popped with color.

It is beautifully strange how sights, sounds, and scents trigger memories and instantly make the day softer, even dreamier, if only oh-so fleetingly. They do feel like little dumplings of joy, bursting forth with a pleasure all theirs to give if you just welcome them and make them sit. They are like little daydreams, just better because you know they actually happened, and feeling them again is as simple as remembering. Even for that purpose alone, each mind can be so beautiful.

I am glad Chuvaness posted that, because it set me to thinking about other such things that present themselves to me — like little windows to time, taking me back to different moments in my life. As I share them with you, I hope you take paper and pen and make your own list, too.

• Hawaii Five-0 theme: Ta ta ta ta ta taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaata ta ta ta taaaaaaaaaaaaa. Happy evenings — my sister and I would stay in our parents’ room with the aircon on full-blast so that the room became very cold. We would pretend that was how winter felt and then we would snuggle under the sheets and watch Hawaii Five-0, a show where this big blonde man ran along the shoreline of some beach as if in pursuit of something or someone. Perhaps the bad people, I’m guessing. It is funny how I remember only that, and not much else about the show. Again, it is the song that has stayed on, triggering memories of those nights when we would wait up for Mommy and Daddy to come home from some party. As soon as they did, always I would ask what the food was, if dessert was good, and if there was dancing. We especially looked forward to their return from weddings because then they would always have a little piece of the cake nestled in some pretty beribboned white box, with the names of the bride and groom on it and the wedding date. Before the fancier giveaways that are the norm now, there was that, which I always kind of miss. I’d eat the cake, in my little way sharing in the couple’s joy, and dreaming of lace dresses, thinking of the happy-ever-afters weddings connoted, which was a real-life version of the Disney fairytales I liked so much.

• The scent of magazine glossies reminds me of a step-by-step makeup instructional starring Christie Brinkley in the Cosmopolitan magazine my mom had on her bedside table. There was a before and after comparison, and pretty as she already was naturally, I was amazed at how blacks and browns and blues could make eyes look so smoky and mysterious. Soon as my mom left to go to a dinner, I tinkered with the makeup in her dresser drawer. My yaya was looking over my shoulder, nervously saying, “Husto na na dai, kasab-an gyud ko sa imo daddy” (that is enough, your dad might get mad at me), so I ran to the bathroom, locked the door and continued to paint my face in pink, blue and brown, while she pounded on the door and I mercilessly ignored her. Really, how can makeup be that bad? In my excitement, my mom’s tiny blush brush fell down the hole of the bathroom sink! I had to own up to it and Mommy said that, next time, I need not sneakily experiment as she would allow me to play with her makeup if I just asked nicely.

• Tribu Perfume and Navajo Brown lipstick. Both from Benetton, they were like magic potions in college. My sister and I shared a room with our naughty cousin, Johanna, and this was the one scent and lipstick color that we all loved unanimously. Navajo Brown is a reddish-orange brick shade that made our lips look so sophisticated and with no blush at all — just eyeliner that winged softly at the corners — it was enough for a night out. Tribu (I do not know if it is still available now or if that has been discontinued) was one of the many scents we used but that was my favorite, alongside Clinique Happy, and somehow I remember Johanna sneaking out of the big house while my sister and I giggled nervously at her courage and kept watch till she safely came home and we could open the locked back door for her. Johanna lived dangerously, and always very funnily at that, and the stories she came home with always made us roll with laughter.

• CNN and The Lifestyle Channel. The trademark music from these channels reminds me of my honeymoon and being pregnant with Juliana, respectively. For our honeymoon we would hop from hotel room to hotel room as we moved from one destination to the next and the one thing constant was CNN. The Lifestyle Channel kept me company as I stayed home in the afternoons doing arts and crafts while pregnant with Juliana. I so looked forward to watching the shows featured on the channel while I drank very cold Anmum milk that tasted like ice cream. Oh, how I enjoyed that quiet time all to myself, life then was simpler, less busy. But I am not complaining because I am happy where I am now.

• Love Affair starring Warren Beatty and Annette Benning and Al Jarreau’s We’re In This Love Togetherreminds me of waiting for the phone to ring and when that happened, long phone conversations that make you sleep with a smile on your lips.

• Nenuco and plain white cotton shirts — my husband’s arms, a very happy, very safe place.

• A boxful of imported candies. A summer’s day in Lola Carmen’s house in Cebu, where five of us female cousins (my sister Caren, myself, Johanna, Karo and Tesa) stayed in a circle in bed, and at the center of us all was a big shoebox-size container of candies that came in the mail. We finished it all off that same afternoon. We took turns picking out a piece, which we shared among ourselves tagay-style: the first one takes a bite, then it is passed on to the next, and the next until the whole bar is finished. Drunk with sugar and with a pile of empty candy wrappers beside us, we laughed and talked about anything and everything until the sun set.

• Humpty Dumpty with Mayo Magic. Fat days. My cousin was depressed, she said her “spirits were low’” so I shared her pain by sharing the bowl of chips and dip she took comfort in. Her daily choice: Humpty Dumpty garlic-flavored chip dipped in Mayo Magic. Oh, it was so good. We would eat it as is and, at times, even put it in a cheese sandwich for extra crunch. I gained 10 pounds and learned the bittersweet joys and pitfalls of crash dieting soon after that.

• MAC Russian Red lipstick on my wedding day. I had an evening wedding and when I look through pictures of that day, I am so glad I wore red lips. I have Tita Mila Garces to thank for that. She was the one who chose my lip color. To this day, I wear Russian Red, each time feeling special because of the precious memory attached to it.

 

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