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April 17, 2007



I wish I could remember more from when my children were young - more of their innocent commentaries on the world, the expressions on their faces, the smell of their hair, the songs they would sing. My life has always feels like I'm running down the street to catch the bus that is just pulling out.
Most of all, I wish I could remember to take time NOW to remember today.


I have what is known as eidetic memory - complete, precise, frighteningly vivid recall of virtually anything I experience. It's actually quite the party trick - friends will tell you I have made their jaws drop with things like "Yeah, I remember the dress you were wearing at the Spring dance in Junior High ... it was black and white checks and so short that when Kenny Dowse danced with you and you had to reach up because he was so tall, we were all giggling because it kinda rode up ..." or "Yeah, I remember the first time I saw you, it was high school and you were in the gym playing badminton and you had a t-shirt with the Abbey Road cover printed on it ...". Or even "Yeah, I remember the first time I came here it was after you made a comment on a Dooce piece about Christmas presents and you had written about Santa bringing your brother a Sears guitar and I had gotten a Sears guitar one Christmas ..."

It all sticks. Little stuff, big stuff, important, useless. I remember the first date I had with the girl I would marry - August 20, 1971, driving in the countryside, Paul McCartney singing "Admiral Halsey notified me ...", pulling into a farmer's driveway to ask directions, ending up on the hood of my mom's car with four German shepherds snarling around the perimeter ... (it's a good story, and I tell it well).

But it cuts both ways. Because you remember all the bad stuff, too, in every gut-wrenching, heartbreaking detail. Break-ups that the other person might toss off as "I said some mean things, and he probably did too" are played out on Imax in my head with Dolby sound and Smell-o-vision. I remember vividly every hurtful thing ever said to me, every insult or dismissal, every time someone didn't come through on a promise, every time I was made to feel not good enough.

If I could have those memories fade and the price I'd have to pay is seeing some good memories through a vaseline-coated lens, I think that might not be such a bad deal.

I guess I could have saved myself a lot of typing by saying "Go back and read "The Monkey's Paw". And be careful what you wish for ...

repressed librarian

This relates to a post I've been writing in my head. You may or may not (depending on how closely you read, as I don't mention it often) know that my husband died suddenly nearly six years ago. He's been gone almost as long as we were married, and I am afraid of forgetting the incredible life we had together while it lasted.

It's been long enough that I should be "over it," and I am as over it as I think I will ever be, but I still miss him so much sometimes that it hurts physically. And even though it hurts so much to remember, I think it would be worse to forget.

I want to remember the way he looked at me, how it felt to be loved so completely, to mean so much to someone who was everything to me.

I want to remember any and all of the days we spent together. The amazing college days, our hopeful young adult life. Our first date that we didn't realize was a date until we were well into it; the days and weeks and months we worked side by side renovating a home we loved; the end of every work day, when we were so happy to be together again; the hours in the garden planting flowers and trees that still grow and bloom in a place we have left behind; the peaceful and happy hours on the beach at Cape May; and so, so much more. Even the bad times, which were never really that bad at all. We had each other, and that was enough.

Those memories are all I have left of the great love of my life, and I cling to them fiercely.


I've journaled since I was 11 years old, and so if I chose to review a time in my life, I could bring pieces of it back by re-reading my own accounts of it, but I don't want to. I'm almost embarrassed to say that I don't want to relive falling in love with my husband or details of our first dates because I'm afraid it would feel almost like an out of body experience. I'm not 17 anymore, he's not 22, and I don't feel an intense connection with the younger versions of our selves. I don't even associate myself with the girl in my wedding pictures--she looks so wide-eyed and young. Who the hell was she? I don't display those photos at home and didn't take them with me when I moved.

E and I had a long distance courtship, and I have two years worth of letters in storage that I'm always thinking about tossing. I don't want to have my younger self shadowing my current self. I've come too far, we've come too far together. To me where or how our relationship started doesn't matter. We've been together 25 years, and my focus is on the here and now. I don't know why that is. I used to be incredibly sentimental.

That said, I do have a better memory than most people, though nothing like Nils. I recall details, people, names and places pretty well.

Recently I heard from my first love--a guy I dated for two years in high school. It had been more than 20 years since we'd had any contact. He's married, has four boys. I hadn't thought about him for years. Since I heard from him though, my brain is flooding me with memories of when we were together. Part of me marvels over all the details stored in my head, looking for a trigger, but part of me does not want to be trailed by my past. I keep the memories to myself and try to focus on the present.


I'd love to remember what it was like when I was little and it was just my Mom and me. No little brothers. No second and third husbands. There are whisps here and there. I remember carnivals down the street and riding in a seat at the back of her bike. I remember trips to TCBY and the pet store... But in broken fragments and hazzy maybes. I'd like that part of my life back.


I have a hard time remembering two distinct babyhoods of the boys now. They have morphed into one vast babytime. I keep asking, "Was it Jared or Sam who___________?" I feel like the most horrid mother in the world because I can't remember which boy did what exactly. And they were three years apart, so I don't have a real valid excuse, in my mind.


I'd like to remember more of the little things my mom told me about our family history and about life, in general.


I have a pretty graphic memory of the milestones in my life.

Right now I wish I could remember why the hell I walked into the kitchen and what it was I wanted.

Oh, The Joys

Hmmm... I think most of what I have forgotten, I have done on purpose.


i'd like to remember everything that's happened since i had my daughter. i don't care much for most of what happened before.


I watched this Robin Williams thriller recently that reminds me of this post. The premise was that in the future, people could have an implant put into their child's brain at birth that would record their entire life for playback later on.
I thought it was such an interesting concept to be able to recall your sixth birthday or that day in the sixth grade when you won the spelling bee. Just random mundane stuff that's lost forever, that's what I want back.

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