Today I woke up in another decade. Don't Dream It's Over played quietly in the background. We wrote letters, spoke on landlines, and wore our hair like Madonna's. We listened to records and didn't call them vinyl. MTV showed music videos and we wanted no more. The 80s were actually the 80s before they were retro.
The mockery or loving reenactment of a time and space will never truly bring it back. What was cannot be again, not even in memory, but the memory is all we have, so we hold on to it tightly.
Some of the past is brought back again and again through story or photograph, but most disappears, until the day you wake swimming in a pool of it. It is elating. It is all there, and like a dream, you are afraid to move or think for fear it will vanish and never return. So you tell someone, or you write it down, as quickly as possible, while you have it there in your hand.
Dad called me one day to share a story. Just the telling was exciting for him. Without warning, a completely forgotten part of his life was returned to him.
So I chop up some garlic and toss it into a pan with olive oil, the scent wafts up, and I'm six years old again. (long pause for effect -- I sense he's smiling) I've done this a million times, but today I'm six years old again. (another pause, not as long) I'm in my family's apartment on the South Side. It's all so real. I'm actually standing there, in our old apartment, and I'm smelling the garlic. A Jewish family lived beneath us and when they cooked, the smell of whatever they were cooking came up through the vent. I hated the smell of garlic back then. I guess we didn't cook with it. I couldn't imagine what horrible food they were preparing down there. (You have to understand he is relaying the hated and the horrible with great glee and animation -- he is six years old again) I couldn't believe it. It's like I was actually there. Has anything like that ever happened to you? (Of course he's speaking too quickly for me to answer) So I call Al (his big brother) and I tell him the whole story in Latvian (they grew up speaking Latvian). I felt that it had to be told in Latvian. I asked him if he remembered the apartment, that family, the garlic. He said No, not really.Don't Dream It's Over Crowded House