You CAN, and in fact WILL, take it with you.

No, not your money -- but your memory,
or memories, of course.

They are one of the few things in the world that belong uniquely to you. Even if you go through the same experience with someone else, your memory of it will be completely your own.

A fingerprint on your brain.

I was thinking of this for a couple of reasons. One of our daughters was talking about something recently that made Russ and I both raise an eyebrow and grin at each other -- it was a skewed memory, at best, perhaps even a fabricated one.

Which is not the same thing as a "fabrication" (read: lie), but is some kind of tricky amalgam of events and perceptions and time.
We all make them.

"You Don't Say," L.K. Hanson

Chelsea and I were at the store the other day and had a little disagreement. It was actually a failure to communicate about this:

It did not involve whether or not to purchase the package of candy (we were already in agreement on that, of course) but we were looking for the best package -- the one containing a good ratio of flavors we both like. Chelsea kept telling me she really liked the blue ones; I didn't see any packages with blue. After a few puzzling minutes I realized that Chelsea calls the purple suckers the blue suckers. So while her mouth is watering for delicious blue tootsie pops, mine is getting itself ready for purple grape-y goodness.

One man's blue is another man's purple, I guess.

"F Minus," Tony Carrillo

Last week my father sent me a history of his mother that he had just written, at the request of some cousins who were putting together histories for a family reunion. It was fascinating -- some of the stories I had heard before, some validated or explained personality traits I remember in her.

There was even a big moment where I
recognized something in myself and said,
that's where that came from!"
Fun to still be figuring things like that out.

And it got me
thinking how
I would love
to be able
to read her version
of the same story.

Put the two up side by side and enjoy the story that emerges between the lines.

But alas she left us all too soon,
and took her memories with her.

In the packet were some pictures I had never seen before.

In this picture, for instance,

judging by her facial expression I think we can safely assume that my dad's memories of the day might differ slightly from his mother's.

Which I'm finding, as my kids get older, is often the case. I only wish they remembered things better than they actually were more often.

Note to self:
Space is increasingly at a premium.
Try to concentrate on storing
the best parts.


Judy said...

Recently I've been sending portions of my journal to my kids. Of course, I'm just sending selections about the good times. Guess I'm trying to get them to see things MY way. Maybe if they don't remember the event, they'll remember MY memory, right?

susan m hinckley said...

Smart thinking, Judy . . . if only I kept journals (I'm sporadic, but now that blogging's been invented I feel that will improve, because it can count as a journal, right?)

But maybe I could "fabricate" old journal entries and then use them as propaganda to influence my kids' memories!

Crayons said...

I like the images in this post. In literature/philosophy courses I learned that it is impossible to represent the actual truth of anything....and so memories become even more stretched.

Chelsea said...

The first thing Jake said when he saw this was "Honey, Susan just made a fool of herself on the internet by posting that blue wrapper and calling it purple."

At least I've got one person on my side.

I am well aware that the flavor is grape.

The wrapper is clearly blue.

Great post mom!

Amelia and Justin said...

Hahahaha....I am laughing out loud at Jake's comment about the blue wrapper - that is hillarious!!

I agree with Chelsea - they are the blue ones...grape flavored, but blue nonetheless.

I was actually coming to comment about the picture of Grandpa - it was my favorite picture. I loved it. Also, everyone in your family has a very good and very strong memory for a lot of things. It's something I've often envied...

VO said...

Once I read that if you compare stories growing up in the same household it will look like you both grew up in different homes. I believe that is true. My siblings and I see so many of the same things from slightly different perspectives.

Sometimes I look at my kids and wonder what are bad times to them and whether I'd agree with them.

luanne said...

thank you, this post brought a real "aha!" moment. i would always have said that grape tootsie pop wrappers are purple. everyone knows grapes are purple, not blue, right?

hmmm... so i always believed/perceived. maybe the grape wrappers were purpler when i was growing up? maybe welch's purple jelly labels convinced me early in life that grapes = purple?

until now i never questioned it.

i just looked at my color wheel and from that reference, maybe i'd call the label blue-violet. but my eyes now tell me it is bluer than my brain ever believed.

so now i can go forth wondering about what else will turn out to be a different color than i always thought it was. so much for certainty!

Judy said...

I fully intend to rewrite my high school journal, Susan. As it is, it is just TOO embarrassing.

Allie said...

Well, thank goodness for blogging, that's all I can say. It's the only way I'll remember anything from this year.
I hope my kids remember something - anything - so they can remind me!

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