I bet you have stacks of photos in albums or boxes (if you are of a certain generation) or stored on external hard drives, on online sites like Flickr or in the cloud. When you sort through all of them you may be surprised how few of them actually reference the physical attributes of your home through the years. I went looking for photos to do an entirely different post, and ended up writing this one instead because I didn't find what I was looking for.
Whenever I see panelling I am instantly brought back to my teenage years. I don't need a photo of my siblings at that time. That one decorating trend conjures up all sorts of memories, and is as powerful to me as a photo of my family.
Add orange and avocado chintz fabric on a sofa and the memories are complete. That's the power of our physical environment, the power of place. And who can forget avocado green and harvest gold if you lived in the 60s and 70s? It was the backdrop for my post secondary education, my first job, and my marriage.
Later it was the red shag carpet and flocked wallpaper in our first house. I know I'm dating myself terribly just to make a point. NO, I didn't choose it, I inherited it and removed it eventually. That was a difficult room to sleep in for someone who needs a calm environment. I certainly didn't like the space, but I remember it for a totally different reason; it was the room I brought my first child home to. A good thing she was a great sleeper with that wild wallpaper.
For my daughter this colour scheme will be her instant playback of her teenage years. I hate to admit it, but we had lovely peach walls in our living room and cream, blue and peach wallpaper in our dining room - with borders! I had the perfect flow going from light peach to navy blue wallpaper and European cabinets in our kitchen.
I'm sorry now I didn't put more effort into charting my "built environment"- colour choices, furniture, artifacts, and art work. I actually had to go searching for images online to illustrate this post.
If I had more of my own interior shots, I would lay them all out in a timeline and test my theory of embedded memories.
Is it just me or do you think your home is as important in your memories as the events that happened there?