A Halo of Better Memory, Made in Maine

Many years ago, a friend in the theater business defined her job in three parts: creating a sense of anticipation, ensuring delight as the experience unfolded and leaving a lasting impression that kept bringing her audiences back for more.

We repeat that mantra here at Spruce Point Inn. Anticipation. Delight. Oceanside memories made in Maine.
Now there’s a new idea to blend into our special view of the world from here on the Midcoast, an idea described as “a halo of memories” that surrounds an especially delightful moment of surprise.

Neurologists now understand that the reason we remember where we were when we received terrible news is that the adrenalin of the shock imprints the memory in the chemistry of our brains. Some argue that each time we remember that moment we relive it, almost dipping it in an adrenaline bath that makes it even more permanent.

But we like a new consideration of brain chemistry we read about in Beverly Beckham’s column in The Boston Globe. She reports that University of Edinburgh Professor Richard Morris of the Center for Cognitive and Neural Systems, has proposed that, “Somehow the novelty of surprise creates a halo of better memory for all the otherwise trivial events of one’s day that we ordinarily forget.”

Which is why we remember what we were wearing, who was with us, the time of day or light on the water or how that little lane led off to an open meadow when we experienced “the perfect moment” on a day we had been anticipating and that turned into one of the best days of our lives.

Remembering when we were children, holidays held the makings with anticipation, delight and memory wrapped into almost theatrical diversions from our daily lives. And as adults we revel in (and just as often, miss) the halo of memories – really small things like the string of lights buried in fresh snow or particular tree ornaments, or the taste of a recipe made just once a year – that made the holiday more than just another day.

When you fold in a surprise or two – discovering, for example, the ice was not only perfect for trying out the new pair of skates, but almost magical (like this one), – the reward is hugely greater than the sum of its parts. You want, as little Savannah in Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides said to her mother who had seemingly made the sun rise in a perfect pas de deux with the setting full moon, “Oh Mama! Do that again!”

And that’s what we wish for everyone, as the year closes on Spruce Point. It is an art we practice constantly in search of the “Anticipation, Delight and Oceanside Memories Made in Maine” for each individual we welcome to Boothbay. Together, with the extended family of our DownEast Best of Maine destination, we create a halo of impressions that seal a better memory of that day over all the others in our guests.

May the year ahead bring a bounty of both.