Monday, August 16, 2010

Back Into the Way-Back Machine

Some have wondered how it is that I have such detailed access to events that have occurred in my life. I don't have a stack of journals in my basement; it comes almost exclusively from memory. The fastest way for me to access them is by seeing myself in a specific place.

For instance, if I project myself into my childhood bedroom, I can recall the time I played "Doctor" with a girl whose parents were friends with my parents. As she laid on the bed, I touched her bare chest. Suddenly I heard the door open, so quickly put my hand in my lap as if we had simply been conversing. Looking into my sister's bedroom, I see the diary she used to keep. It had a lock, but she didn't always put it to use. Curiosity compelled me to look at it a "couple" times.

Going into the dining room, I remember an evening in 1982 in which my cousin mentioned that the title of the upcoming Star Wars movie was going to be "Revenge of the Jedi", except he didn't pronounce Jedi correctly; he called it Jeedee. I enjoyed playing the children's version of the Jokers Wild game there.

One afternoon, as I read the novelization of "The Empire Strikes Back" at the dining room table, I came across a word I'd not heard before; "countenance" (it was referring to Princess Leia's face).

Heading upstairs to my parents' bedroom, I see the evening in which I, laying in a twin bed, dared my sister and brother, laying in a queen-size, to take their clothes off underneath the covers. They did so, but a moment later my father came into the room, saying that he heard what we'd been talking about through the vent; I suspect he was listening in standing next to the closed door. He gave a good little talk about how being naked is a sacred thing, something to be shared with another at a later time. Properly chided, I talked to my siblings about other topics.

Taking a look into the upstairs bathroom, I can see the time that my mom chewed me out because I'd left my underwear in there; we'd had a lady who was doing fix-up work for us and she must've had a gander. To this day, I wonder if they had skid marks.

Heading into my father's den, I see him doing some accounting work as the portable heater blows and a Gene Watson record plays. I visit for a few minutes before leaving him to his work.

Now, it's morning. I just woke up and am still in my pajamas. I bring the Saint Paul Pioneer Press in and browse it as I sit Indian-style next to the living room heater. Bill Diehl has a movie column that I read a couple times a week. After having pancakes for breakfast, I set off on my bike, eager for the next adventure.


ExtraO said...

Wow. Pretty amazing that you can remember so much, so well.

Rocketstar said...

Wouldn't it be really cool if our memories were actually reliable and we remembered things like they were videotaped? Unfortunately our brains are not big enough.

I think we should have all wrote things down more. i just don't trust my memory enough. I can trust basic occurences but details... no way.

Thomas said...

Extra, to me, it ain't no thing as it's just the way I'm built, but it does feel good to impress others with this ability.

Rocket, it would, indeed, be something if our memories were infallible, but as you noted, this is not the case. This is why I'm writing so much now so that when I'm older, I can look back and enjoy the juicy details.

Another way our mind fools us is by giving the impression that our long ago's were better than they actually were (the good ol' days).

Timothy Smith said...

Having kids I know what the "long agos" is all about. I look at my daughter and long to be young sometimes. When I speak with her I am glad I am older now.

What I think is going on is when you look back you wish your life was as simple now as it was when you were young. A few problems with that. One, back then we were not as good at dealing with things. Two, back then we did not realize how simple our lives were as we had nothing to compare it to.

Just my .02 cents.