Monday, September 29, 2014

Your Favorite Color Memory


I have a weakness for interior design magazines, and House Beautiful is one of my favorites for its fresh, original designs and thought-provoking articles. The September 2014 issue is all about color:

On the last page of the magazine, the editors ask eight designers and artists a provocative question:  "What's your favorite color memory?" 

Reading the answers naturally led this writer to think about my own memories through the frame of color, and I decided to write down the first couple that came to mind. I tried to write quickly without over-thinking my responses. 

Here's the first: 

Photo:  jcookfisher

It's September, and I'm in the woods under a dense stand of aspen trees with the man who will later become my husband. It's one of our early dates and we're both nervous. Above us are the piercing, cerulean blue skies of the high country and a million shimmering yellow aspen leaves. He pulls me into an embrace and we stand like that for a long time, blissfully enveloped in a glow of golden sunshine.

Later, I will recall that hug under the autumn sky as the moment we fell in love.

Here's another:

Photo: nathanmac87
I'm fifteen, and my sister and I have traveled to Sag Harbor in Long Island, New York to visit our father. It's been a year since he and Mom divorced, and we're excited to be there. We're also a little shy about seeing him with his girlfriend in the context of his new life. 

Dad has rented a small church that he uses as his art studio. The interior walls and pews have been removed from the church, leaving a large, light-filled room with just a few pieces of furniture and a bed. Spread on a round table, we discover a large collection of beach glass that Dad and Linda have gathered from a year of beach walks. It's the first time my sister or I have seen the soft, muted colors of glass sandblasted by the sea:  once-clear glass frosted translucent white, green and brown pieces that were probably once wine and beer bottles, and less common blues, yellows and reds. We are instantly captivated. 

Each day during our vacation, the four of us walk the beach and hunt for glass to add to the collection. It turns out to be the activity that makes everything less awkward, and I can't see a piece of beach glass today without being transported back to that summer in Sag Harbor. 

How about you? When you think of a memory beginning from the standpoint of color, what rises in your mind? I'd LOVE to hear your stories and comments.

Eliza Cross is the author of seven books including her latest, 101 Things To Do With a Pickle, just released by Gibbs Smith. She blogs at and and is the founder of the bacon enthusiast society BENSA, which—unlike Mensa—welcomes members of all intelligence levels. She is currently working on her second novel.


Sue Coletta said...

I'd love to share one with one, but I can't think of one... sadly. Thanks for sharing yours. Those sound like very special memories.

Peter Hogenkamp said...

Eliza, good question. I remember the first time I went out west, to Colorado of course, I went skiing with my family in Vail on a perfect blue-sky day, and whenever I see that deep cerulean blue I think of that magical day 30 years ago. My family still refer to that color as Colorado sky blue.

Susan Clayton-Goldner said...

For me, the first one that comes to mind is when I saw the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. It was late in January and the tops of the red mountains were covered with snow. The sky was at bright blue, cloudless bowl. It was so beautiful, I pulled my car to the side of the road and cried.

Eliza Cross said...

Thank you! If you're like me, your subconscious will probably work on this for a while and bring you a memory. xo

Eliza Cross said...

I love this, Peter! Maybe it's because of being closer to the sun, but the sky up in the Colorado mountains is bluer than any I've seen elsewhere. Your family ski day sounds magical--and memorable.

Eliza Cross said...

How spectacular! You have a real writer's sensitivity to be moved to tears by that beautiful sight. Thanks for sharing this.