I have an amazing memory. Well, I mean that I remember things very well…although I also have quite a few memories that are amazing! Only, my amazingly accurate memory hasn’t really been a lot of help to me. Yes, I remember everything I read…but only if I find it interesting, and this didn’t help me pass Biology let me tell you. Not only do I remember things I read, but I also recall conversations in detail. I remember that I once recited a conversation that my friend and I had about her now husband. She was shocked that I remembered a talk we had the year before about something that didn’t have anything to do with me!
Anywho, what I want to know is, why don’t I remember some things as well as others (and I’m not talking about my Biology textbook). You see, like most of you I’m sure, some of my memories are really hazy. It’s as though I was left with only impressions of the scene or my emotion..maybe even just a smell. It’s as though my memory, in certain parts, has fragmented and I’m left with wibbly womey timey wimey flashes of green, sunlight, sadness, and the smell of rain (for example). Why am I left with these flashes when others are quite complete and detailed…like watching my own life on tv? I have a perfect memory of laying in bed as my boyfriend type guy got up, he stops, looks down at me, smiles, leans down to kiss me…and we accidentally bump teeth ( I know! It was so romantic up to that point, but it’s the story of my life). Why do I have memories so complete as these and others are merely blobs? How does memory work that way? I know you’re out there saying that the things that I remember with clarity are the things that were very important to me, and everything else is just …life. Well, I’ve thought about that, and even though the blobs are blobs…many of them still feel important. Was I too stressed at the time to make a complete picture? Could my brain only hold on to one sense…and therefore I was left with a color or smell or emotion?
Memories from my childhood are still very complete, though I don’t always know the details of the places, or occasion to which they pertain. For example, I have a memory of a wooden fence in a plain backyard, from a house on the corner of a street…and the fence is half covered with honeysuckle (a smell which never fails to make me happy). I have no idea if this was my house (I have a feeling it wasn’t) or why I only see the empty backyard instead of it filled with my childhood friends, but there’s something important there. It’s funny, a lot of memories from my childhood don’t really involve other people. Most of the time, I have an empty scene that I’m looking at, or I’m on the outside looking in on myself. As an adult, even some of my happiest memories are only timey wimey flashes. Sitting on a couch next to someone…being relaxed…with the feeling that I’m about to sigh.
I heard that the strongest sense memory is the sense of smell. With the scent of something being the trigger, emotions or memories can come crashing down and encompass you. Well, I must say that I have a lot of that going on….but fragrances only really bring impressions and flashes. Honeysuckle, oil, sawdust, freshly cut grass and weeds, they all bring a sense of happy contentment. Ex-boyfriend’s cologne, lust and sadness. Moth balls and rich lady perfume, my grandmother..which is a mix of resentment and wistfulness. Fresh laundry on the line (yes, that has a smell, too), my long since passed grandmother, and even though I didn’t like her, the smell still makes me feel at home.
Whenever I take a trip down memory lane, I alternate between re-living the memories…and experiencing them as though I’m dropping off to sleep. I hope that what memories you re-live, and however you see them, are happy ones. Happy travels, dear Vagabond readers.