Henriette Barthes died on October 25, 1979. One day later, her son Roland began a “mourning diary,” making notes on quarter-sized pieces of typing paper. Here is a note recording a moment of what Marcel Proust called involuntary memory:
May 17, 1978The New Yorker has four of Barthes’s notes online, no subscription required.
Last night, a stupid, gross film, One Two Two. It was set in the period of the Stavisky scandal, which I lived through. On the whole, it brought nothing back. But all of a sudden, one detail of the décor overwhelmed me: nothing but a lamp with a pleated shade and a dangling switch. Maman made such things — around the time she was making batik. All of her leaped before my eyes.
Roland Barthes, Mourning Diary: October 26, 1977–September 15, 1979. Trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 2010).
[A footnote by Nathalie Léger identifies the film as 122, rue de Provence (dir. Christian Gion, 1978). Wikipedia explains the Stavisky scandal. Proust, as you might imagine, makes a number of appearances in Barthes’s notes.]