|I believe my dad carried this photo of his parents and sister, along with dog, Trixie, to war with him. I love it for the memory of the pipe.|
Usually I meander along a rolling stream of consciousness process before I connect a family history/herstory discovery with a Sepia Saturday prompt. But this week no such journey was needed. The connection with smoking was direct and immediate. I remember fights with my maternal grandfather over my dislike of his cigarette smoking. Even today I can’t stand the slightest whiff of lingering smoke in a hotel room or on the clothing of a hairdresser.
But pipe smoke. That is different. And likely for the powerful sensory memories that bring me back to a place and time for which I have only a dreamlike memory. Thankfully, it answers a self-doubt.
|Do I remember him or just know the photo?|
In the furthest reaches of recollection, I am not sure if I really possess any visual memories of my paternal grandfather. I have mind pictures of him sitting in a chair, holding a dog I believe to be named Pooh-Pooh. But is that visual memory real or has it taken shape thanks to the few photos I possess? I can’t be sure.
I never hear his voice in my mind’s ear. Was he a storyteller like my father and his brother who could recount a situation, replete with details of the subject’s family tree and the mishaps of their youth, as the tale took its winding course, punctuated with the teller’s index finger shaking the details at his listener? Had this trait been passed from father to sons? I have no idea.
But that pipe aroma. Any hint of pipe tobacco jars my sense of place along the time continuum and wafts me back to where the memory of Louis Hart, Jr. resides. His pipe comes alive, its smoke encircling my soul. In the mysterious workings of the brain, it is odor that invokes the most powerful and vivid memories in all of us. For me, that scent is the reassuring substantiation that I did know my paternal grandfather and he knew me. That is comforting.