Saturday, May 19, 2007

"You're history,
That's what you are."

Hey-ho,

Been keeping it real, sista? Select! :)

It's been a bit of a strange week. One packed with memories, or more accurately, ghosts. Echoes of things passed, dredged up from my backstory, cued up by the oddest of triggers.

Monday: During a meeting at work, someone (very kindly) offered me a cup of tea. It wasn't until I drank it that memory kicked in. The tea was just like my Gran used to make - I know that sounds a bit daft. Tea's tea right? Nah. I don't know if it was the blend or how the person had made it. But what cemented the memory for me was the shape of the cup. Slightly triangular with a hint of art deco to it. For a moment I was back in Gran's dining room; sat on one of her old chairs listening to the clock on the wall tick-tock and the soft ping and hiss of the gas fire. Outside I could see to the bottom of the yard and over the brick wall to the park.

Wednesday: I traipsed in through the rain and took a short cut though one of the old buildings. You know how houses and buildings have their own smell? Well the stairwell had one like my Dad's old workshop. A strange mix of dust and a whiff of ozone. Again, another childhood memory of waiting for Dad to lock up after we'd been in town shopping.

Thursday: I was in the north of the county, not too far from where my (other) Gran & Grandad used to take us as kids (as grandparents are want to do). The town had changed significantly since I'd been (it was the 80s, maybe even the 70s) but again, it all came flooding back. Walking through town holding my granny's hand as we crossed the road. Although now, that same street is pedestrianised.

The funny thing is, I haven't thought about these memories in a very long time. I don't look back and wish things were like that. I know they're just snapshots. Maybe not even real memories, but imaginings of tiny fragments of fact. There are also things I would prefer to forget. Silly things. Moments of embarrassment or social gaffs. I doubt that the other party would remember, yet my mistakes ripple up. I wonder, if you could edit the past, would I - or would you - ever be satisfied? Would you tumble through time trying to make everything just so? Is it better to concentrate purely 'in the now' or do you embrace who you where?

I remember reading that much of our memory is made-up. If that's true, can we ever be sure of what really happened? How long does a memory stay before imagination works its magic over it? Does it get distilled down to a capsule of words, smells or fragments? Gas fire, tea cup, taste, granny's house?

Perhaps that's another reason why I blog. To get down on paper - so to speak - my thoughts and feelings at the time. Of course, this blog isn't a 100% accurate picture of me. How could it be? I only write so much and I choose what to put. It's highly editted. Do you really want to read about project meetings? Nah! Me neither and I have to sit through them! :-)

[ This week's lyrics: Shakespear's Sister ]

8 comments:

  1. Doesn't matter to me if they're real or only imagined. The good ones are always nice and cozy. Like your gran's tea seems to have been for you. On the occassions I've actually gone and checked the facts though, I've actually scored near perfect accuracy at least of visual details.

    Change them? Maybe.Probably not though because as I get older I spare less and less energy for regre. And would it make a difference if I could? If I were guaranteed that I could change only exactly what I wanted, I'd be tempted. But then I wouldn't be here reading your post Lynn, would I?

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  2. So maybe I should have been writing about regret. It is only in my darker (weaker?) moment that they come back to me. Normally, I give them no thought.

    TG - to be or not to be? :) All I can say is I wouldn't be me if I wasn't. While life isn't always a bowl of cherries, I don't think I'd change it for the world.

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  3. Well, the recollection of my granny's salad sandwiches are no illusion. They were scrummy, served on a Saturday tea time as Fratton Park kicked out.

    I don't know I think maybe we selectively remember somethings and release them when they are needed - since Jess came along a lot of very vivid memories have re-awakened in my mind, things I know (I think - damm this gets philisophical) to be true, but equally things forgotten till they were needed.

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  4. We were cleaning the attic out last year and came across some documents that belonged to the people who built our house, in the 1890s. Dance cards, the little notes people used before telephones were everywhere etc. Ephemera. Do you think that blogs will be looked on in the same way, a hundred years from now? Most will have gone but there will be a few that show people what life was like.

    Sorry, off topic rambling.

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  5. Maybe good memories are our own vaccines against regrets we might have. It is as you said the weaker moments that regret hits hardest, turning things that dull aching black. I try my best not to give in them, usually making the black to at least a shade of grey. Maybe finding something I've supposedly learned helps too.
    But I cherish the memories. They are moments I feel were well spent.

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  6. Jessica > Ahhh, family mealtimes. A gaggle of memories there. You're right about memories being 'released'. Odd how incidents jog one's memory, dredging something long lost.

    Penny > Dance cards? Cool! Other than the language, I guess they'd be about the same type of stuff as we talk about now. Okay, maybe not for the TG massive, but in the main :)

    Will blogs last? Ooo, good question. A programme on C4 earlier in the year suggested not. The digital realm moves very quickly and it leaves little behind. It's not like we have paper copies is it. When Blogger disappears or is subsumed by something else.... will all this be gone? One historian suggested that we could be on the cusp of a new dark age. Video tape rots, CDs rust and disk based data corrupts. More over Gibson. :)

    Emma > Regret... ah, there would be a topic for a long conversation. Not so much a list of regrets, but the notion itself.

    Honestly, I try not to have many and the few that I have, seem rather minor in the grand scheme of things.

    With regards to memories, perhaps that is why some of us cherish photo albums so much. I'm not massively keen on having my photo taken (ironic for a tranny) but I do like to see the moment caught.

    Earlier tonight I was reading to my little boy and as I looked at him, I realised how he's changed (like duh!). I wondered how many bedtime story memories I'll keep, or even, will he really remember me reading to him?

    Do any of you remember much from your formative years?

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  7. I seem to be a bit of an oddity in my family because I can recall things very visually from as early as age two. Not just a fragment of two, but many episodes with a very strong recollection of physical detail. I think this has alot to do with those years being very good ones, despite many of the factual circumstances. And I can't discount the visual element, which remained a deeply ingrained part of my life. To this day I love observing everything around me.

    Story time is wonderful to share with your child, isn't it Lynn? I started story time with my son when he was only a few weeks old. I'd make up things that I could tell with hand gestures and simple words. It went on, on a regular basis until he was 9, as much for myself as for him. When he could understand words better, I used to make up serial stories if we had no new books to read.
    When he was three I was teaching on weekends out of state for extra money. I'd drive back and forth each day ,150 miles each way, just to be home for story time.
    Whether he will remember, I don't know, but I hope he will.

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  8. Two? That is early. I think I can manage some pre-school stuff - not that this is a competition - but I guess it's different for us all. It is rather enjoyable to sit at watch the world go by some days.

    I can't quite remember when we started reading to Wee Man, but I think it was fairly early. Luckily for us, he ate the most annoying book (as rugrats sometimes do). Like you, I like to make the stories up - it's as fun for me as it is for him (at least I hope so). He really enjoys Charlie & the Chocolate factory. Dahl's got a wonderful way with words.

    Will he remember? Possibly not, but I shall.

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