Moments to Memories

Elizabeth Weiss

More stories from Elizabeth Weiss


Photo by Marisa Valdez

Evocative memories often mirror the moments we revere.  Sequences in our minds that recall the essence of a memory and tailor them to the present. 

Nostalgia has a habit of repeating itself, especially in the form of a melody in a song.  Decades and eras, movements and genres have all been romanticized by the presence of music. 

How many of us have coined a song that has touched our hearts to be synonymous with those we love? The instance where our emotions have been transported to the past by a familiar tune is an occurrence that has likely happened to you and is inevitable to happen again.

Music has the ability to remain timeless and yet can stand as a staple of the times in which it was produced.  And for countless individuals, a mere string of musical notes allows an accompanying moment to forever act as a cognitive carbon copy.

 When I think of the word “nostalgia”, I can’t help but think of my own experiences with music.  Experiences often revolve around the static of an impending needle on a vinyl record. 

The records in my collection have unintentionally been an assortment of classics: Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis. All names reside along similar lettering such as the black and gold, “Decca” vinyl. 

When the record starts to spin and “White Christmas” begins to play off Crosby’s “Merry Christmas” album, I and so many others who treasure this song are immediately overcome with nostalgia.

Within the first few notes, there are images and picturesque winter scenes that fill the mind. 

Figuratively transported to the Christmas season, you find a chill crisp to the outside air, and an illuminated glow wavering within snow-dusted windows.  Scents from seasonal candles like warm vanilla and frosted forest waft amidst the glinting firelit halls as families gather.

Stockings hung by the fire nearly smoldering in the heat and yet every year somehow prove their endurance by making it to the next. Excess ribbons and bows in nearby rooms with remnants of glitter on labeled boxes and bags. 

Although there are a multitude of material items that come to mind when I am brought back to moments like these, I feel as if there are just as many other sentiments that harbor similar images as well. Such as the feeling when family arrives for the holidays, and the familiar hum of conversation as annual greetings in close-quartered foyers take place.  

Long conversations and memorable comical moments with family are a staple of the holiday seasons, aspects that can only help to come to mind when nostalgic music plays.

I think it is only fair to say that nostalgia acts as a rabbit hole for buried memories, where one simple recollection leads to an entire sequence of another. 

No one memory is exactly like another and yet they have the capability of being strung together to where we relive whatever moment it may be.

Even if it is by the mere chain of musical notes. 

Weiss can be reached at [email protected].