Memories are interesting things. I attended a conference by a professor from Emory a while back. She was studying how our memories can change. Over time they may not be a accurate as we think. We have seen that in people who have had to testify in court about a certain incident. Our memories are colored by many things.
In my life I have noticed that some memories are connected to outside stimuli. So many memories are brought back by music (auditory), scents and touch. These physical aspects are inextricably connected and when we hear a song or touch something soft or smell some familiar scent memories come flooding back.
There are a things that we remember specifically because they were connected to our senses…especially music. In my work as a Parish Nurse I saw that people whose memories were lost recognized familiar hymns and could sing them. They also remembered things like The Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm. All of these things were joined with emotional experiences and totally imprinted.
My mother only wore one kind of perfume..Bellodgia by Caron. Whenever I smell this perfume I not only recognize it but immediately find memories of my mother come flooding back. Some song bring back memories of my teen years and I can scarcely hear certain songs without being connected to the past.
I have no idea how accurate these memories are but I embrace them and accept them as they are. I hope I never stop finding these connections to my past.
I love C.S. Lewis. His books have inspired me for many years. Today I came across this quote from his book “A Grief Observed.”
I don’t think I had thought about grief in this way but it is so true. I have been washed in fear. Not constantly but over and over. Just when I think it has disappeared it comes again and overwhelms me.
It makes me wonder why fear? What am I afraid of? There is no clear answer. Some things can be seen such as being alone but others are not so obvious. Most of the obvious ones have been dealt with…finances, paperwork, moving, but still the wave comes.
Each time I can feel it tugging at me…wanting to pull me under but then it subsides. Each time it is possible that the pull is less strong but not enough to really feel.
Time will pass. The wave will someday bring memories of love and joy and the fear will recede. I only pray that it continues to lessen with fear and increase with love.
Sometimes I just don’t know what to write. Life can be so confusing. So much has gone one in my life over the last year and 1/2 that it will take some time to process. It seems that life goes faster the older we get. We don’t stop to savor each moment like we did as children. I would like to relearn that ability and I think it is possible to do so.
As I look out my windows I see hills and trees and rain clouds. There are houses where others live out their own lives. Will they stop and see time rushing by? I hope so. It is such a gift to have those memories from the times we did pay attention.
We see so often “take time to smell thee roses” but we often don’t do that. As I continue my journey I want to savor every moment. Life it too short. Don’t waste it.
Today memories have taken over my thinking. I have taken myself back to my childhood and remembered lying on the floor in front of the fire at night and listening to the radio. You heard me right. There was no television. The radio was our entertainment and I can tell you scary programs and worse when it is your own mind conjuring up the villain. There was “The Shadow” and one with a creaking door. Less stressful programs were “Let’s Pretend” “Fibber McGee and Molly” and many others.
Television didn’t come into my life until sometime in the 50’s. My grandfather bought one for his office. He didn’t worry about those of us a home. (he and my grandmother lived with us) I used to go to his office just to see this magical thing.
Later we were able to get one for our home. It was a small oval screen and the picture was black and white. There weren’t a lot of programs and I don’t remember many of them. Strangely enough I remember the radio programs more.
In the late fifties I remember going to a teacher’s home to watch something from Disney in color. That seemed truly amazing.
It has been very hard to write lately. Covid is rampant again and we are staying close to home. Christmas is almost here and yet it is hard to get into the spirit. So many people did not stay in over Thanksgiving and now we are seeing the result.
This time has been almost as hard as the two Christmases that my husband was in Vietnam. He loves Christmas but this is not what he’s used to.
We will get through this. Somehow things will have to get better.
I hope that everyone has a safe and wonderful Christmas.
How about a blast from my past? I was remembering when I learned to drive and my first car. My father taught me to drive. He wanted to be sure that I was capable of driving anything that moved (except a motorcycle). Once I had mastered the basics (straight shift no cheating…most cars were not automatic) he took me out and had me drive a 1/2 ton truck. That was an experience.
When I passed my driver’s test he decided to get me a car??? I guess you could call it that. It was a second/third/fourth/ hand Willy’s Jeepster. It had a convertible top, isinglass side windows that you put in after the top was up. It had “air conditioning” (that is the outside air) and no heater.
The seats were bolted to the floor so you couldn’t adjust them. In order for me to reach the pedals..especially the clutch…I had to put a pillow to my back. You can imagine that four or five teenage girls thought this was the bomb. We absolutely loved that car. We drove it in the winter wrapped up in heavy coats, gloves and whatever else we needed to keep warm. We drove through snow and rain. We drove it while wearing swimming suits in the summer with the top down. We flirted with boys in other cars. It was great.
In my senior year of high school the car started to have problems. It wouldn’t always start. It took a while for my father to figure out what was wrong. Those cars had starter buttons in the floor that you pushed down to start the car. For some reason that piece was not connecting with the piece it connected to in the engine. We could push the car to start it popping the clutch (something most of you have never heard of or done). It didn’t take much. Just rolling a little bit would get the car going. The other more interesting option was to open the hood and hold a piece of metal between the starter and the starter connector and like magic we were on our way.
When we went downtown to shop we tried to find a parking place at the end of the block so that if we had to push the car it was easy. I’m sure you can imagine that we met lots of boys that way.
In those days the place to hang out was the Hot Shoppe. It was a drive in place where car hops brought you your food. Tons of friends met there on Friday and Saturday night. No problem getting the car started there.
Later on more problems began to crop up. While stopped at a light at a very busy intersection on a hill I couldn’t get the car started. My father was with me. The light changed and the man behind us kept blowing his horn. My father calmly got out of the car and walked back to the other car. I was worried about what was going on. My father returned and calmly sat down in his seat. I asked him what happened and he said “I told him I would blow his horn if he would start my car!” My father always had the “mot juste.” He was known for it.
Another day at another busy stop light I lifted up on the steering wheel and it came off in my hand. I stuck it back on and drove us all home holding it on.
The final event came when the car began having electrical problems. My father took the car to be rewired and all seemed well. That night we drove the car into town and on one of the main streets smoke started coming out from under the hood. We pulled into a gas station thinking it was overheated and opened the hood. The car was merrily in flames. A gas station attendant rushed out with a fire extinguisher and put out the fire. My father came and picked us up and the car was gone for good.
I have never since had a car that was more fun and more interesting. I am sure I never will.
Thinking back over my almost 80 years there are so many memories of those who were a part of it. Lots of them are gone but they live on in my mind. It is funny the ones you remember and the ones you know must have been there but have no defining moment to think about.
I do remember some of my teachers particularly from High School and College. The ones I remember the most were the ones who were real characters. That is probably why they stuck in my mind. I remember a Latin teacher whose looks and demeanor were perfect for the part. She was petite, wore dark rimmed glasses, had grey hair and was really tough on us.
Another was a history teacher who made me love history. He gave us a assignment that was 100 questions. It was not something you spent time writing but researching. The questions were obscure and finding out the answers was difficult. You got a grade depending on how many you got right. One of the questions was “What is this ***** ? Yes, it was just 5 asterisks. It was a pseudonym for a writer whose name is lost to memory but I got it! His whole point was you could find anything if you knew how to research.
A college professor was named (by us) “paperback Bednar” because he didn’t have us buy a text but lots of paperbacks. He taught Philosophy of History one of the more interesting classes I took.
Another had student evenings at his home for discussion on anything including religion. He was a student of C.S. Lewis and shared much about him. He also wrote a book telling about his wife, his great love of her and her loss called “A Severe Mercy.” I still find people who knew about him and have read his book. His name was Sheldon Van Auken.
These people made an impact on my life. There are many more and I will be thinking about them from time to time.
It is funny the things we remember and the things we don’t. A while back I went to a conference about how we remember things. The speaker, from Emory University, has been doing a study on how accurate our memories are. The study is more complex than just that but this is a big part of it.
They got information from people following a major life event right after it happened and then again a year later. It was amazing how different the accounts were. We can also believe that we have a memory of something that we actually didn’t experience. If we have heard about the event often enough we incorporate it as a memory.
On the opposite side we forget so many things. I have had people come up to me and tell me a whole incident where I helped them in some way and not only do I not remember the event but I don’t remember them. Our memory is a very chancy thing. It is not as accurate as we think.
However, there are some memories, that we will never ever forget. Those are the ones that are so important to us. I will never forget my marriage or the birth of my children. There are other memories that bring me joy and comfort. I am glad I have those.
In my youth I envisioned the future as a wonderful place, Peace, flying cars, visiting space. That idea is gone. Have the changes made a better world or one more frightening, more dangerous, more ominous? My memories make it seem that way. When will we ever learn what really matters?
My past is a dream A memory A life of summer days Poodle skirts Bobby socks
We did Hide under desks With fear of A bomb And built Air raid shelters
That did not Dim our hope Our dreams Of a better world Free from fear
Time moved on Electronics, VHS, DVD’s Computers, internet Instant everything A better world?
Strange My memory world Seems happier Less fearful More hopeful
The better world Vision lost More war More sickness More hatred
Today has been hard. The isolation has finally hit us both. My husband really wanted to go out for lunch but not possible.
Yesterday I talked about living (as a child) through WW2. My husband’s experience was much more noteworthy than mine. He was four years old living in Hawaii behind Diamond head in army quarters when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He remembers waking to lots of planes flying overhead. He got up and told his father who told him it was people training and go back to bed. A few moments later his father was called about the bombing. His father was in charge of the Coast Artillery that was actually in the volcano.
My husband, his mother and sister, lived in a bomb shelter in the yard that day expecting the bombers to come back. Later they moved into the volcano and stayed there for several weeks before being evacuated to the states. The ship that took them to the west coast went back for more people but was bombed and sank before getting there.
His memories are much scarier than mine and clearer. After all, being bombed is enough to sit in the memory for quite a while. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live where that is a threat every day.
This crisis is bad. It is testing our will just as WW2 did. I hope that we can pull together as we did then to get past this enemy. I hope it will unite much of the world to the real threat….the distress of the environment which may be why these viruses are gaining hold. I don’t know that… I just wonder.