Sunday, April 19, 2009

Memories and Influences

I passed these yellow flowers yesterday and was astonished at the memories that one little bush could bring into my mind.
Forsythias in bloom.[Credits : J.E. Downward]
This is a forsythia bush. It is one of the things that indicates, for me, that spring is finally here but the memories that flooded my mind were not of spring, they were of winter. One snow storm in particular. I think I must have been in 8th grade or so. Living in DC meant that we didn't get much snow and having a Headmaster from Chicago meant that we rarely got the day off even when the snow did manage to accumulate. The only recipe that would get us the day off was multiple inches of snow followed by a significant amount of ice. This is exactly what happened during the storm that I remembered yesterday. I went over to my best friend's house to spend the day sledding. The reason that that particular day, sledding, Jessica Ohly's house and these bushes are tied in my memory is that it was the day I truly came to understand the power friction has in slowing objects down. Ice is a relatively frictionless surface and forsythia bushes are very easy to get tangled up in when you sled into them. It took me several minutes to get out of the bushes at the bottom of the hill in her yard. I was careful to avoid them after that.

Having remembered that sledding experience / physics lesson, I quickly moved on to other memories of my friend Jessica. The first time we met ... she was my assigned friend as I transitioned to my new school. We went putt putt golfing and I fell down the stairs. I still have the scars. Playing monopoly for hours on end and making up rules to have the game end more quickly. The time we had chocolate mouse for dessert and I spent most of the night in the bathroom throwing up. I haven't had chocolate mouse since. Sitting in her dining room trying to come up with creative ways to photograph eggs for a photography assignment. But more than anything I remember her house and her furniture. The house was secluded in a mature forest and was made almost entirely out of glass. There were even full sized trees growing inside. And her parents had collected the most amazing furniture over time. They had both an Eames lounge chair and a Marcel Breuer Wassily chair and I'm pretty sure I remember them having some Barcelona chairs. I remember sitting in these chairs for hours and hours and thinking that they were more comfortable than any chair had the right to be. This was, of course, before I knew exactly what I was sitting on. Looking back, her house and furniture had an enormous impact on my personal style. Unconsciously I have been trying to recreate that look my entire life and I think that when I finally buy or build my own house the influence of the first house I truly loved will be everywhere.

1 comment:

misskate said...

It is funny how little things can spur a forgotten association :)

Sounds like you had quite an eventful friendship with that girl... tangled in bushes, falling down stairs, revisiting your chocolate mousse... Hopefully you two were able to do other (non-painful) things together :)