Posts Tagged ‘memory’

That’s Not the Way It Happened!

Was the sky tinged with yellow when I painted this scene or did I only remember it this way? — Art by Pat Bean


          The function of memory is not only to preserve but also to throw away. If you remembered everything from your entire life, you would be sick.” – Umberto Eco

Morning Chat about Memory

          Discussions of past events with family members and long-time friends were once awkward for me because I often didn’t remember things happening the same way the story-tellers did.

As time passed, I began noticing I wasn’t alone in this respect. I often heard people, especially husbands and wives and siblings, interrupt conversations by saying: “That’s not the way things happened.”

It was especially true in my own family so full of strong personalities.

I eventually came to realize that each individual experiences life differently, and even though the stories differ, each person is telling the truth as they remember it.

A compliment given by one person to two people might be received as just that by one of them, and as a snide remark by the other. I use that as an example because I’ve long been a person who ends up with her foot in her mouth rarely knowing why.

Meanwhile, as a long-time journal keeper who has recently begun rereading her words from the past, I got a good comeuppance this morning when I was doing just that. My own memory of an incident I thought I remembered clearly didn’t jibe with what I had written of the event the day it happened. My memory had several specifics quite wrong.

The only thing I could do about it was to laugh at myself. And laughter always makes life a bit easier to digest.

Bean Pat: Avoiding traffic jams https://johawkthewriter.com/2020/01/07/avoiding-traffic-jams-and-connecting-with-the-fast-lane-daily-quote/#like-5959 Making use one’s time is a smart idea.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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            “Always remember to slow down in life, live, breathe and learn; take a look around you whenever you have time and never forget everything and every person that has the least place within your heart.” — Unknown

Friesian Horses and Birds, But Not Birthdays 

I've never seen a horse I thought more beautiful than the Friesian. -- Wikipedia Photo

I’ve never seen a horse I thought more beautiful than the Friesian. — Wikipedia Photo

“Isn’t that a Friesian horse?” I asked my daughter as one appeared in the movie, Eragon, which we had sat down to watch together this past week.

I was pretty sure it was, but my daughter is a horse person, so I asked.  I once wrote a newspaper feature on these beautiful creatures. Seeing one always brings to mind the first time I saw one, which was in the movie, “Ladyhawke.” It was shortly after that movie was released that I did the story.

During the 37 years, I was a journalist, I easily wrote over 200 articles annually, many more during some years. That adds up to well over 7,000 stories. What, I wondered, lets me remember some of them as if I wrote them yesterday, and others not at all.

What lets me remember very clearly the time I saw each of the over 700 birds on my life list, but forget my own children’s and grandchildren’s birthdays? OK, I do remember my own kids’ birthdays, I just forget what day it is.

I've never seen this bird except in photos, but since it's a bird I'll probably be seeing it in my quirky brain fro the rest of my life.  --Wikipedia Photo

I’ve never seen the stork-billed kingfisher except in photos, but since it’s a bird I’ll probably be seeing it in my quirky brain for the rest of my life. –Wikipedia Photo

Why is it that names of some people, whose faces I can clearly see in my head, suddenly escape my brain?

This is not age related, at least in my case. My brain has had these quirks all my life.

One nice thing about the short-circuit in my brain is that I tend to remember the good things and forget the bad.  It could be the other way around, like a couple of people I know who relive a stressful event day after day after day.

What do you remember, and what do you forget?

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat Layover in Singapore http://tinyurl.com/pvz3gu5 This is the first time I’ve seen the stork-billed kingfisher, whose awesome photo leads this blog. It’s not on my bird list, because I haven’t seen it personally, but I do think I’ll remember it.


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Freshly sprouted blossoms shout out their spring song. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us. A year impairs, a luster obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory, then indeed the lights are rekindled for a moment – but who can be sure the Imagination is not the torch-bearer? Lord Byron

Travels With Maggie

Spring is bursting out all over!”

The song lyrics played joyously through my head this morning as I took my dog, Maggie, outside to do her business. The trees were budding, the dandelions were sprouting, a cool breeze stirred my hair, the squirrels were chattering and the birds were twittering.

Back at my desk in front of my computer, I was curious as to what musical from my past had been the inspiration for the song. I suspected it was “Oklahoma “but wasn’t quite sure.

Will I remember that it was a yellow-eyed great-tailed grackle I saw this morning, or will memory rename the bird a Brewer's blackbird? -- Photo by Pat Bean

I Binged, which is what I do instead of Googling, and discovered my memory had tricked me twice. The actually lyrics are “June is bursting out all over,” and the musical in which the song was featured is “Carousel.”

Memory is such an unreliable source.

This fact was made extremely plain to me when my children, now all grown and most with children of their own, began recalling past incidents in their childhood. Although all five of them may have experienced the same thing at the same time, each of their stories were different. More startling was that none of the tales fit my own memories of the events.

How could this possibly be? I still don’t know the answer, although I’ve learned a lot about human nature since the differing stories began being shared.

These memory quirks we all seem to share, however, have increased my appreciation for being a writer. Blogging daily in a public forum, which I have been doing since the first of the year, has become a way of making my life more tangible, to the point that sometimes things don’t seem real until I write them down.

And what was real this morning was that spring, not June, was bursting out all over.

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