Sunday, May 25, 2008

Selective Memory

From this:

In my twenties, when I was a disc jockey, we used to play oldies, and people
who called in to request those songs often commented that music used to be
better than it is now. The reality is that in the old days we played good and
bad records, but the bad ones faded quickly from memory just like the bad ones
do now. No one ever asked us to play the music that bombed. The good songs make the former times seem great, as if all the music was outstanding. In reality, there was bad music thirty years ago or fifty years ago - in fact a lot of bad
music. The same is true with experiences. We tend to forget the negative and go
back to recapture pleasant events. The reality is, we have selectively
remembered - and just as selectively forgotten.

This struck a chord with me...

Selective memory.

Because I was trying to remember learning to ride a bike...I know I learned with training wheels. I think I had a red bike. But I honestly cannot remember.

I know we lived in a house while I was in kindergarten and first grade. I've even seen it several times since we lived in it. I know my room was in the back of the house. But the only real memories I have of that room are of the "tommy knockers" (not the Steven King kind, but the mining myth/lore kind), Brit jumping on top of me and licking my face with a vengeance, and one Christmas eve where I was sure that I saw Santa Clause's shadow outside my window.

I don't really remember the rest.

I remember a double-wide trailer...the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the muddy back yard, a living room...but I could not tell you much about the front yard, or the experiences we had. I know we had company...I even remember bringing home crawfish from the creek and putting them into that kitchen sink....but much of the memories are vague or missing details.

So...what's my point in all of this?

I'm not really sure...just mostly that I'm a scrapbooker with a story and I cannot remember what it is. And the fact that there is a bunch of my life before Leadville, Colorado that I cannot recall is somehow odd to me. I believe I had a joyous childhood full of experiences that were fun. I remember the experiences. I remember Mount Rushmore, fishing trips, hunting excursions, school programs.

I even remember the songs they used to teach me my multiplication tables and the lesson on brushing our teeth that I got in the 3rd grade.

But I don't remember the everyday favorite outfit, my favorite afterschool pastimes, the snacks we had, the tv we watched, the toys that I couldn't do without.

Its weird what I do and don't remember...and virtually everything that I remember was an "event" of some kind...a break from the routine.

And I'm wondering if this is normal...what do you remember? Do you remember specific things? Do you remember your every day?


Peace, y'all.


MaryC said...

I remember that certain things happened but not actually visualizing the event. This is especially true of traumatic things.
I CAN remember doing commercials in front of the mirror, using a hairbrush for a microphone and playing pilgrims in my Ninny's backyard. We used the chicken coop as a cabin.

Samantha said...

I distinctly remember seeing my sister in the hospital the day she was born, and I was not quite 3. I can remember what I wore and what I ate on almost every single first day of school, and I can remember specific conversations and very random games that I played with my siblings as children. It's when I get to high school and college that things start to get fuzzy and less specific.

And while I don't remember every day, I do remember many days - and my favorite ones growin up were the ones at home with my siblings. Doing nothing special - just getting dirty, playing on the ranch, being brothers and sisters. I think that's why so many of my layouts focus on the relationships and little things.

I do find also that much of what I do remember is often attached to smells, foods, or other external triggers. For me, the ability to capture an aroma is the one facet scrapbooking has always been missing =)

Karen Wilson said...

I don't remember the details of when I was really young..but I do remember loving my dolphin shorts (purple and white)listening to Air Supply, riding bikes in my neighborhood that was all of 2 streets at the time.
Oh yeah--my room was covered with posters of scott baio, shawn cassidy and the little brother from eight is enough...Nicholas :)

Gina said...

You know, I was actually just thinking about this the other day. I'm working on a "lifeskills" list for the kids (things I want to be sure they know before they leave home) and I was thinking back to what things my mom and/or dad had taught me. So much of the thing I learned, I can't actually remember learning. I know there must have been tons of lessons or even just learning from watching but I can't remember any of those. There are big chunks for me that are missing as well. Rob, on the other hand, has memories back as early as 2. I think I can't remember earlier than 5 or so. I wonder what it is that makes us remember things specifically and others, not at all.