Gary and I were discussing some childhood memories Sunday as we drove to Hagerman. He made the comment that much of his childhood is a vague blur with only a few specific events that “stand out”. However, like most people, if we begin a discussion of a current event it often triggers a detailed memory of something similar from his past. I think our brains are so filled with information that they need some key words or phrases in order to sort out the correct images. Sort of like a Google search- the more precise the terms you use, the better the results you get.
An example of that is a discussion I had yesterday with a colleague who mentioned that she had some old volumes of a children’s set of encyclopedias. Oh the memories that evoked!!! My father loved to read encyclopedias. He would sit in his recliner and share important and trivial information about countries and animals and famous people. We got a volume of a children’s encyclopedia each week at the grocery store. If you bought $_ worth of groceries, you could buy a book for a nominal price. I don’t think we ever obtained the whole set because, of course, we moved. When my own children were small I bought a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, from a door-to-door salesman. We used those for homework for years and years.
And naturally the memory of getting books at the grocery store reminded me of all the other things we used to get: towels in detergent, glasses in oatmeal, toys in cereal. Many stores also gave out Green Stamps. I “bought” Katrina’s cradle with Green Stamps.
Memories are not only entertaining, but they also trigger some of the feelings associated with them. Most of the ones that pop up quickly are good. The bad ones tend to be buried deeper in our subconscious and thankfully don’t come out unless we are currently in a bad situation. However, even those can be useful. Often times when I recall a bad memory it’s because I need to remind myself “I overcame that once and I can do it again.” or “This isn’t as bad as that was.”
We all have friends and loved ones who are losing some or all of their memories. Sad but true that our memories are a vital part of what makes us unique. If you have not already done so, I urge you to tell or write down some of the memories that are most important to you. Share them with a family member who will treasure and preserve them for future generations. One of my most prized possessions is my collection of Mother’s writings and childhood memories.
I may have discussed all of this before...I don't remember.