Focus on Life - 52 Photos - Week 21 - Reminisce

For week 21, Sally's (The Studio Sublime) prompt was:
"Have you ever been in the middle of a busy day and all of a sudden you run across a certain baked good, candy, flower or an object catches your attention and you are sent right back to you childhood? This week,...capture what takes you back to moments past and reminisce a little."
Oh, there were so many things.
Smells, sounds, tastes.
How do you capture those on film (camera)?
They're so sweet. They capture and hold.  You hear things,...smell,...feel. You're transformed back into another world. A world you once lived. One you experienced whole-heartedly. With raw emotion. You didn't know to protect, just were. There. Then. PURE.
And now, it's today.
Of all the things that I reminisce about,...experience,...go back to,...enjoy; there is always one that stops me in my tracks; captures and holds me like no other. It's a specific smell. And it it embodies so much,....
I was only 3 when we went to California.
It was the summer before my Mother passed away.
My sister tells me stories of Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo and driving up the coast. I really have only scarce memories of it, but strangely, I have very strong feelings of actually being in California. 
Several years back, the hubby and I took our son to  California and when we walked into Disneyland, I felt like I was home. 
I know,'s a place of happiness, family, etc. but this was different. This was one of the last places I had been with my Mom,...significant places, anyway (even though I didn't really remember it) and there, all of a sudden, catching me totally off guard, among all the hustle and bustle, the crowds, the sounds, everything,...I felt at home and at peace. I felt like I was supposed to be there. Not just supposed to be there at that moment,...but that that was where I was meant to be. That was home.  I felt complete and happy.  Like everything was right with the world. I did not want to leave. Ever! That was rather confusing and hard to wrap my brain around. Especially as an adult.  I mean, it's kids who don't want to leave Disneyland,...not adults, right?!! So, as we departed,...I felt like my heart was ripped from my chest!
The same thing happened the first time (and each time since)that we've been to the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach.
That's how I feel ever single time I leave California.
ANY place in California. 
It's like I'm not supposed to be leaving. And, when I do,...I feel like I'm leaving something or someone behind.
I absolutely hate leaving California and driving away - yet sometimes, I'm so ready to be home - just to escape that feeling.
It's a love / hate thing!  I love going,...hate leaving,...hate going back (because I am aware of emotions that may find their way in) But I absolutely love being there,'s who I am,...strangely enough.  I'm 'home' when I'm there. Yet, I've never lived there.  Explain that.  It's so freakin' weird I tell you - so really weird how I feel when I'm there. I cannot explain it and if I tried to even attempt to tell others what I feel when I'm there,....well,..I'd totally be dragged off to the loony bin! 
Okay - so I guess I just sorta told you all,...please don't drag my ass off to the loony bin just yet!!
Anyway, back to Sally's prompted.
It was to Reminisce. 
Well, since I couldn't travel to California this week, and after thinking of all sorts of other things, I realized that there's one thing that stops me dead in my tracks! 
It's a smell. The smell of Coppertone Sunscreen.
 It's the one smell that if allowed, I would sniff all day!
(Oh man, I'm sure that's not good info to give out!)
 But, it takes me back,...each and every time, takes me back to a place I love. To my childhood. To being in Disneyland with my Mom, my Dad and my Sister.
Funny, but I have no idea what so ever, if we ever even used it while we were there!
I so wish I had a picture of the four of us in Disneyland.
When I smell Coppertone, I see us all there.
To me it's Summer in California!
The Beach. The Water. The Waves.
Mickey and Minnie!
And that smell, for whatever reason, reminds me of my Malibu Barbie. 

And she reminds me of the beauty of California.
Of the sites, sounds and smells of California.
Of being a little girl.
Of walking on the beach.
Of being free, the ocean, the breeze,....
Of being in a moment that lives forever in your heart. 
Of Childhood.

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Reminiscing.


  1. There's someone else like me!!! I know EXACTLY how you feel. I used to feel that way about the beach. I've been going to the beach since I was in the womb. It doesn't matter what beach I go to. Something about that ocean. I love going, the excitement and anticipation but then dread the leaving, almost to the point of going into a deep depression, crying as we leave, and taking a day or two to recoup. I'm much better now, but I know it is where I belong.

    1. Oh Adrienne, it's good to know that other's get feelings like this too! I don't think my hubby knew what to do on our first trip to Disneyland when on our last day there I was the one, not our six year old, who crying as we left the gates that night. It was a bit pathetic! ;-)

  2. Hi Shel, Barbie is an absolutely perfect topic for this week's theme! I was Barbie-obsessed and my mother, a great seamstress, used to make me wonderful, outlandish outfits for Barbie, Midge, Ken, Tootie and Todd and the whole crew. BTW, I feel the same way about California!

    1. Oh Paula that's so cool - you'll have to show us those outfits if you still have them. I've still got some of the clothes that my mom and my neighbor made me for Barbie, Midge and Skipper, too - and some that I tried to create as well - those are hilarious, let me tell you, as I had no idea what I was doing! :-)

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  4. I remember the huge posters of the coppertone girl that used to accompany the 'lotion' which is now suppose to protect us from the sun rather than enhance the colour! I was in CA whe I was 12 & still remember my day at Disneyland.

  5. Suntan lotion is such a distinct smell that any of us who grew up on a beach will react to it. I smell it and it takes me right back to my adolescence in New Jersey. I'm glad you could remember some good with the bad today.

  6. Your story brought tears to my eyes and I don't know why! Coppertone is the pure smell of my summers in childhood! Love that smell. I'd dab it behind my ears if I wasn't afraid someone would wonder why I smelled like Coppertone in the winter. I wonder though if people would actually just be filled with wonderful memories of their own that they'd gravitate to me? lol!

    I hope you get to live in CA some day. It's a pretty special place despite its faults.

  7. What a lovely story Shel, really sweet

  8. Oh my, what a lot of memories! Smells can really take you back. If I felt that way, I think I'd definitely be moving to California...

  9. I LOVE CA too!! I've been there a few times and could have stayed forever. Well, Northern CA for sure :-) I also have strong feelings about the ocean.

    Thanks for the Barbie memories!! Me and my three sisters used to make everything for Barbie, Madge and Skipper. Clothes, furniture and their houses. Those were the good old days when play was REAL!!

  10. Wonderful post Shel - I feel the same way about California and I sometimes miss it with a purple passion! I only lived there for a year and a half but it was the most awesome time! Thank you for sharing your memories this week - and now you know you aren't the only loony one out there ;)

  11. What a sweet post Shel. I totally had a huge smile when I say the Malibu barbie had pearls on - Figures! I can't explain your love for California, I've never been myself, but it sounds like a treat. I went to Disney in Florida as an adult (before kid) for a dear friends wedding and we had a wonderful time as a group of adults, there is something about it that can keep the "Magic" for adults too - but Ican't quite put my finger on it either

  12. While reading about your reminiscing about the happy times before your mother passed, I could feel your emotions and wanted to comfort the young girl who lost her mother so young. I think she would be proud of such an articulate adult you have become.

  13. Oh, I know what you mean!We took our kids to the Disney resort in Florida. Guess who cried as we were leaving?

  14. Shel your post is wonderful. You really let go and talked about something deep inside you.If this is the last place you remember being happy with your Mother it is only natural that you feel at home and peaceful there. Not wanting to leave your Mother behind seems natural to me. I sure remember the orange skin from the early coppertone. I still have my Barbie and clothes that I sewed for her.

  15. Oh gosh you have me tearing up at such strong memories of California and what that state means to you. And your are not looney for feeling this way!

    When I was young, Coppertone was THE sunscreen to use. Now there are so many different brands that my head spins.

    Thanks for bringing back fond memories of my own barbies. They're gone now--the ones with the molded hair. My dad sold them on a garage sale not long ago and I about fainted because they fetch a pretty penny on auctions!

  16. Isn't it odd sometimes, the things that "bring us back"? :-) Loved your reminiscences!

  17. I agree with Patty, ANY time suntan lotion is smelled, we ALL remember being near water...any kind! The beach, the lake, it is a smell that can't be replaced! thanks for the memories. They were great!

  18. Your post is wonderful. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.


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