I’ve written quite a bit about my school years and the many times we moved. I’ve written about report cards and school violence and sports and lunches and activities. However, last night I was scanning school photos and I noticed something quite odd. I have photos of each school year- either of myself or the class or both- for every year from 1st to 7th. That in itself is a miracle considering how many times I changed schools. But the oddity is that I don’t have a class photo for the eighth grade and I have no memory of why I don’t.
It’s not like the whole year is gone. I have a photo of me holding some books. I have photos of classmates. But where is my school photo? Where is my class photo? The eighth grade was a graduation year in California. My scrapbook contains my diploma, the ribbon from my diploma, the receipt for my dress, the price tag for my dress, my report card, the note stating that I needed to give a five minute speech, a leaf from my corsage, and a program- NO graduation photos. And I can’t remember if we ever took any.
My guess is that they were taken and were in my possession at one time and just got lost along the way. I had some boxes in storage at Mom’s for a while between moves. And I’ve moved more than twenty times since high school. Things happen. It’s the lapse of memory that baffles me. Why can’t I remember if I had the photo?
My son, Robert, has the most amazing memory I’ve ever encountered. He can recall events, facts, trivia, and people with astounding accuracy. He qualified for the Jeopardy show, and you never want to play Trivial Pursuit with him. The other night I got a demonstration of which parent contributed those genes!!
Taylor recently went to a dog show and I commented to Karen that we had attended a major dog show in California in the seventies, but I couldn’t remember the name of the dog breeder we knew. Later I casually mentioned it to Gary and he said, “Oh that was Elaine Herndon.” I remarked that I thought his recall was a remarkable gift. Then he topped it by asking, “Don’t you want to know the dog’s name?” I did indeed! LOL Turns out it was Cory’s Missile Belle. How do you NOT remember a name like that??? Good grief!
Too bad neither of my guys was around during my childhood. I might really have some stories to tell! My oldest brother and I have talked about this before. There are huge gaps in our childhood memories and I can only attribute them to our many moves. I think if you grow up in a more stable environment you build on each memory and enhance it until it stays with you. If your town and home and school are the same each year you have a sort of foundation or background on which to place the people and events of your life. If you move from place to place you can’t retain the memory of new places and new events and new people all at once. Just too much “new” for the brain to handle. At least that’s my theory and my excuse! My own children, who have moved a few times, might disagree. Perhaps they just have better memories!
In the meantime I’m glad I was somewhat of a packrat. The things I kept and the photos I took have helped this old brain keep a few memories that bring me joy.