Sounds of nostalgia and Life
It’s funny how a sound can grab your attention and bring back vivid pictures and feelings from the past. My sister leaves her TV on during the day for white noise and usually doesn’t pay attention to it. The other day, though, she heard a sound from the TV that really caught her attention. An old movie had a guy going up in a small airplane. Sis heard the sound of the plane’s engine revving up as it was taking off and ascending into the heavens. It brought a thrill of excitement to her. It brought back all the happiness she had experienced with airplanes.
My sister was born with wings. She has always loved airplanes and anything to do with airplanes. I remember her looking up to the sky with a smile on her face and a look of awe every time a plane flew over. She still does it.
Her husband, Jack, shared her love of flying. He got his license first, bought a little Piper Tomahawk plane and encouraged Sis as she worked on hers. She remembered the touch and go’s and the scary thrill of her first solo flight. They might fly to Mattoon Illinois for breakfast or to Indy for an air show. Once they flew to Denver to see their son. They loved it.
Jack passed away ten years ago and the plane was sold. But Sis still has the memories. And the sound of that plane on TV brought all the fun and excitement back. All that from a sound.
Then she started thinking about other sounds that brought back special memories. She shared that with me the other day and I realized that I, too, was touched by some of the same sounds. They made me recall some old memories and feelings I thought I had forgotten.
Hearing a small child laughing. That has to be one of the most pleasant, happy sounds anyone can hear. It brings back some moment in time that we spent with one of our kids when they were happy. It may be from playing with a new puppy or splashing in a mud puddle. It could be from wrestling with Dad or beating Mom at a game of Candyland. Or they might be laughing for no apparent reason. But the sound of that laughter is priceless. It’s pure joy and brings happiness to anyone who hears it.
Hearing birds sing in the springtime. That brings joy to us because it gives us hope that winter is over. The cold, grey days are almost gone and there’s new life coming. We’ll see sunshine, flowers, leaves on the trees and green grass. It’s a great feeling. We get all that from the simple chirping from a little bird.
The sound of a train whistle. This can bring joy but also melancholy. But it’s a sadness that can still bring happiness from a pleasant memory of our younger days. My family lived by railroad tracks when I was a kid. We’d hear that soulful whistle at night when we were in bed.
One train went to a brick factory north of US 40 running up Williamson Street by where Walmart is now. The train had to cross US 40 so it stopped while a flagman lit a flare and stopped traffic. The engineer always blew the whistle before they crossed. When the train cleared the highway the flagman just threw the flare down on the side of the road before he jumped back up on the train. Us kids would get the flare and play with it. Of course that was without our parent’s knowledge or permission.
Sometimes we’d put a penny on the track, if we had one we were willing to waste. The weight of the train would smash it making it about the size of a quarter. We’d take it home and hammer a nail hole through the top and make a necklace with it.
The sound of a train whistle can also make you feel sad and lonely, even if you aren’t sad and lonely. I don’t know why it can do that. But it can.
Some other sounds Sis and I both love are the sound of a baseball hitting a bat. That’s probably related to summertime fun. And one of the best sounds is actually no sound at all. It’s the sound of silence heard during a fresh, gentle, cotton-ball like snowfall. For a little while it seems the world is kind and loving in the shared silence of that stunning moment.
So if you think about it, take note of the noises in your life. I bet you’ll hear something that will bring back a pleasant memory. It sounds good to me.
Linda Messmer can be reached at 812-448-8725.