Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From the television show The Wonder Years
I am faltering with this topic of memories. I have no idea where I am going with this so I’m going to let the words fly where they will.
I used to have a fabulous memory. Then I got old! Now I suffer from CRS. However, Dirt Man thinks I remember everything. Everything that has ever given me reason to be angry at him, that is. But that’s not really true. I might stew for a while, but I give it up. Heck, sometimes I can’t even remember my name and I have to check my driver’s license. And even then I have to look in the mirror to make sure the picture matches. Seriously though, my memory has really gone down hill. I remember the wonderful times (and even the not so wonderful times) throughout my life, but my short term memory has gone to pot. I mean I need a grocery list. I date my bills in order of when payments are due. All appointments go on the calendar. I just have to remember to look at the calendar. I do remember that once upon a time I only weighed 125 lbs , and I didn’t have any grey hair or wrinkles. I suppose I might have even been considered “hot”. Yeah those days were a LONG time ago!
So, on the days that my memory sucks, I just compare it with my computer. I know the information is in there somewhere I just can’t find it. I mean I will forget someone’s name. A name I should know as well as my own (that I also can‘t remember!). Or I’ll forget some tidbit of general knowledge like the title of a movie or book author. And eventually, I do remember, just not always in a timely manner. And of course, there are the times, I put things somewhere for safe keeping, but for some reason not in same place I usually put things. Why oh why does memory not serve me well then? And sometimes I find those things – after I’ve replaced them or when I’m searching for the next thing I’ve lost or misplaced. Am I the only one who does these things?
Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume. ~Jean de Boufflers
I have always found it amazing how scent evokes such strong memories. For me these are usually memories involving my childhood. I will never be able to smell Avon Cotillion perfume without being enveloped in a warm hug from my mother. And my father has always had this oily/woody hair tonic smell to his head. The smell of succotash takes me back to my grandmother. Lemon cake wafting through the air is my Aunt Jenny. And the fun smell of play dough takes me back to the sweet summer- kindergarten teacher I had many years ago…and the play dough somehow always takes me to the bouncing the hippoty hops on the basketball courts that summer. And then there are the not so pleasant fragrances that bring back memories, like tequila. I won’t even go there in this post. Or stifling cigarette smoke and stale beer bring back memories of my father’s poker nights. And the smell of the river (trust me, there is a distinct aroma) that always takes me home to the mountains. Kind of like the salt sea breeze means I’m close to my now home. Sorry, I seem to have gone off on a tangent here. Back to memories in general.
Memories stir up strong emotions in me. Memories can make me feel all warm, cozy, and comfortable. I even laugh out loud while recalling some events. And some give me strange feelings that I can’t quite put my finger on; I guess I’d call those unsettled feelings. Some memories are sad and bittersweet and others downright tragic. I can think back to my own children’s childhoods and get totally lost in the memories. From the baby moments and up, I absorb their sweet scents and innocence and wish I could stay there. Those were the days when I was not just needed but wanted. Memories sometimes make me wish I could go back and do it over. And some of them make me thrilled that those days are over. At any rate, I’m thankful that my mind (what I have left of it) has a filing system of memories that I can take out and relive anytime I wish.
Have you ever experienced déjà vu (paramnesia)? This post would be remiss if I did not mention it. I have on occasion had the distinct feeling that I’d been at a particular place or experienced a particular event before but I couldn’t actually remember it even though it was distinctly familiar. I’ve had that with scents and sounds (particularly music). When this happens to me, it is the strangest feeling. I’m not quite sure how to describe it. I suppose this doesn’t exactly qualify as memory since I can’t remember…I’ll file it with forgotten memories!
I may not remember what you gave me for my birthday, but I will remember that you knew it was my birthday. I may not remember what you were wearing on a particular day, but I will remember the sparkle in your eyes and the way the edge of your lips turned up when you smiled. I may not always remember the joke, but I’ll always remember the laughter. I may not remember why I was crying but I’ll remember you held me and wiped away my tears. I may not always remember the exact words you whispered in my ear, but I will always remember the feeling I had when I was with you. And I may not have memory stored of every moment we had together, but I’ll always remember you.
We do not remember days; we remember moments. ~Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand