“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”

The day is cloudy and has a bit of a chill, a long sleeve shirt sort of day. Everything is really still and quiet. I like a day this way. Sun all the time makes for a dry lawn and garden while clouds all the time make for gloom so I’m happy with a mix of days. Yesterday was a perfectly lovely day so I don’t mind today’s clouds.

A chickadee is building a nest in one of my bird houses or at least I think so as I have seen her going in and out of the house which is a flamingo with swaying legs. It is pink as flamingos are and has a small opening, perfect for a chickadee. I’ll keep an eye.

Dandelions get a bum rap. They appear in the lawn and are dug up or summarily destroyed. They were the first flowers I ever gave my mother. Nothing so beautiful could possibly have been anything but a flower to me. Dandelions reminded me of the sun: round and bright yellow. My mother always took my gift, the bouquet of dandelions, with profuse thanks and put them in a vase in the middle of the table. She never saw them as weeds. They were a gift.

Before I visit my sister, I go up the hill to the house where, other than this house, I have lived the longest time. I know every part of that house and can close my eyes and see each room. The kitchen was small with only a little counter space, a corner which barely fit the table and chairs and a small stove on the same wall as the table. The fridge was beside the back door, my mother’s bugaboo. The door was wooden and painted green and in the summer had a screen instead of a storm door. My sisters, who played in the yard most summers, went out that back door which always slammed behind them. That drove my mother crazy. Her warning, “Don’t slam the door,” always seemed just a bit too late, drowned out by the sound of the slam. For some reason my mother and that door are a strong memory from that house.

I have this mind which seems to hold on to so many things though words and some names are beginning to escape me. I have to think long and hard to remember some of them. The other day I was trying to come up with Pierce Brosnan, don’t ask me why as I don’t remember, and I was with a friend who couldn’t remember either. I gave her hints: he was Remington Steele and James Bond. Neither one of us came up with his name. In the background, while we were talking, music from the mid 60’s was playing, and we knew every word. Once I told a friend how many traffic lights she would encounter on her route through Boston. I just closed my eyes and drove the route in my head. I remember odd things of little importance, but sometimes I forget why I am in the kitchen or I lose forever that small list I thought I’d memorized. Even mnemonics don’t help as much any more. I sometimes forget what they mean. I do, however, have a hold on so many past memories, long ago memories, the best memories like the dandelions and the back door.

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16 Comments on ““Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Much the same weather here but it’s fairly warm, it’s actually quite nice and I have the kitchen door open. Sune has chased Nova around the cottage several times but she’s just too fast for him 🙂

    We’re much alike when it comes to the memory 🙂 I can remember things from when I was a tiny kid but forget what I’m doing right now. Sometimes it scares me a bit like when I couldn’t remember what the equator is called 🙂 I remembered the tropic of cancer (or the northern tropic I think it also can be called) and the tropic of capricorn but not the equator 🙂 🙂 🙂

    To be honest, is Pierce Brosnan that important to remember 🙂 Well I think he was a good James Bond though 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      The sun has come out since I wrote my blog. I took Gracie with me earlier but it’s too hot to take her on my next errands.

      Yup, forgetting the equator’s name would be something I’d do as well and I’ll have all the hints but not the name. Getting older does that.

      No, he’s not but we were talking about something which reminded me of him. I also thought he was a good James Bond. He had the right personality and haughtiness.

      Enjoy your evening!!

  2. sprite Says:

    This spring I couldn’t remember the name for dogwood, but I remembered for four days that I couldn’t remember it. I wasn’t sure if that was a failure or a victory.

    • katry Says:

      sprite,
      I think I’d go crazy trying to remember something for 4 days. That’s when you load every hint in your head into Google and hope for the best.

      I think it’s a combination. Remembering you’re forgetting is the victory but forgetting in the first place is the defeat.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Just yesterday I was thinking how strange memory is. There’s a house one street over on the route I take when walking the dog. Every time I look at that house I think of the song Seven Daffodils and I get a picture of lying in the grass behind that house when I was maybe 10 and either singing the song or listening to the song. I have no idea who lived in that house then or now or why I would have been in that back yard or who I was with but the memory is strong. I just shake my head and hum a few bars. 🙂

    I love dandelions. It’s a good thing because there are a lot of them in my lawn some years. This year has not been a good dandelion year so far. Lots of hawkweed and cinquefoil in the lawn but few dandelions.

    I got a door dingus for my wooden door so it wouldn’t slam shut like that. Interestingly enough the man at the hardware store knew exactly what I was talking about when I asked him for a door dingus. 🙂

    It’s sunny and either 70º or 64º depending on which weather site I use. There’s a light breeze. The jeep is in the shop again so I am hanging around avoiding boring things like dishes and laundry. But my grass seeds need water so I will be doing that.
    Enjoy the day!

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Memory is sometimes so strange especially when out pops a memory like the one you’ve described. I figure the experience must have felt near perfect for you: the warmth of the grass and singing, two of the great things in life.

      My landscaper puts down something to keep the lawn weeded so no dandelions. I loved it when they were wispy and you could hold the stem and blow them into the wind.

      Hardware store guys know exactly what you mean. I think they are trained to translate ambiguities.

      Warm here now. Earlier Gracie and I went out for on errand, and I still need to do one more, but I wanted to bring her home so she didn’t wait in the hot car.

      Not having the jeep is a perfect excuse to sit and read.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Speaking of doors…(ouch!)… Ray Manzarek of the Doors has died.
    A song for your chickadee:
    Annie Sellick and the Hot Club – Chickadee & Cockadoodledoo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqqrNBAZl_Q
    I saw them live several times, she’s a great entertaining singer and Richard Smith is a wizard on guitar. His solo concerts are also recommendable.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I noticed his death in the paper’s obits. I thought of how many we have lost lately, then I realized that many of them were in their 70’s, still young but also old, and I’d not thought of how old we’ve all gotten.

      I haven’t ever heard of Annie Sellick and the Hot Club, and I really like their music!

      I thank you, Birgit, as do my chickadees!

  5. Bill S. Says:

    Peg’s mom used to say “Shut the damn door!” in the summertime, so her younger sister (12 years younger) grew up thinking it was called the damn door instead of the screen door.

    On Sunday we had over two friends from Durham to celebrate his birthday. We have known them since UNH days, 46 years, but it is always like yesterday. We commiserated on aches and pains, and trials and tribulations of family members. They are getting ready to sell his mom’s house, and cleaning it out–you know how that goes.

    The Doors opened up a lot of doors for me–I smoked my first dope to their music. It was not a gateway drug, though.

    Warm and mostly sunny here in NH. We’re looking forward to a cookout and the pool this weekend.

    • katry Says:

      Bill,
      That’s funny!!

      I do know how that goes and how painful it is and sometimes how joyful to find some wonderful mementoes she’d tucked away.

      Nope, no gateway drug here either. It was the gate and the whole fence.

      It was actually 76˚ here today. I left Gracie home while I did errands as the car was too hot for her. I sat out on the porch and read a while. Tonight is supposed to be in the mid 50’s-quite a drop in temperature. Reminds me of the harmattan with those brutal hot days and cold nights.

  6. Bob Says:

    Today a line of vicious thunderstorms came through this afternoon bringing lots of rain, lighting, wind and thunder. This is the time of the year when theses storms span killer tornados like the one that went through Moore Oklahoma yesterday and leveled the town.

    Memory can be triggered by current events. The tornado in Oklahoma yesterday reminded me of the one that came through Dallas in 1955. That was one of the first tornados that was tracked on radar and was the most photographed funnel cloud at the time. I remember my mother being very scared in our house because we didn’t have a basement and my father assuring her that the storm was hundreds of miles away. My mother came from NYC where a tornado was something that she saw on a movie screen like in “The Wizard of Oz”. The tornado was only a few miles from our house but in those days men told there wives white lies to spare them having to face up to bad news. Several years later while my mother suffered from stomach cancer he never told her that she had cancer because he didn’t want her to worry. I think she knew near the end.

    If you are a connoisseur of a golf green type of lawn, Dandelions are among the nasty weeds that spoil that green carpet look that makes all the neighbors jealous. My dad always took pride in his green weed free lawn. After the rain he would run outside and pull up all the toad stools. Memories are wonderful, too bad I can’t remember the sound of my mother’s voice.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      The western part of this state had tremendous thunder and lightning storms and were on a tornado watch for most of the afternoon into early evening. The weather all over is crazy.

      I haven’t ever seen a tornado either except in the movies, but I have been in the middle of many hurricanes, many of them causing tremendous damage and outages for a week or more. After Bob, the roads were filled with downed tree, huge trees and wires and litter, leaves, branches, was everywhere. The leaves all died in August.

      I would want to now if I am going to die. There are things I’d want to do, a sort of finish to my life.

      I have a landscaper, and I haven’t seen a dandelion since he sowed the grass seeds and started taking care of my lawn.

      I don’t remember voices either though I do remember favorite sayings my mother and father used. My sisters and I come out with them all the time and then laugh when we realize it was something my dad or mother would have said. I think we remember family in so many ways.

      • Bob Says:

        A hurricane is far worse than a tornado. Usually, they are very localized events. The one yesterday was only about a mile in width which created a very wide swath of destruction. A hurricane, on the other hand, can create damage from winds and the storm surge for hundreds of miles. I am always amazed at the amount of energy that is created in a huge low pressure system and expelled in the thunderstorms that they create.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        Hurricane winds are so scary. Trees are blown low to the ground, and the sound of the wind is horrendous. When my sister was born, there was a hurricane which knocked down the tallest elm tree in out neighborhood. During the eye of the storm my Dad tool us outside in the eerie stillness. I was only 7, and I never forgot walking though the branches of the tree.

  7. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    Your post made me almost cry.. not sure why. I am sneaking around my bedroom because I have to take Simone to the vet for last shot. She can be a debil to get into the carrier.

    Monday the weather was hot, so I swam at a friend’s apt. building in an outdoor pool, and it was lovely.

    I’m amazed at the selective memory I have, and when a memory will suddenly come to me for what seems to be no apparent reason.
    Lines of poetry or a word from a song, will come to me and I when I return home, I try to google it, to find the poem or song. Sometimes I feel like a human “Name that Tune” game. ( I really enjoyed the Anne Sellick song Birgit ).

    I often think of something I need in another room, go there, and can’t remember why I am there. I shrug, go back to my bedroom, and find I can’t accomplish what I was doing without the item I need which was in the other room. How foolish I feel.

    It’s time now to ( shhhhhh) put little Simone in her carrier. My heart is pounding.

    Waving,
    Lori

    • katry Says:

      Lori,
      I hope it was a happy cry, not a sad one.

      Some cats are like that. They know the only reason they get crated is for the dreaded vets.

      Pools here are still too chilly and will be until the end of June or so. We had weather in the 70’s yesterday for the first time. Today was humid and not as warm. I left Gracie home while I did errands as I thought she’d get too warm in the car.

      My mother swore we suffered from selective memory as kids because we’d forget what she told us to do but always remembered our own stuff. I do the same thing with lines of a song or poem when I can’t remember the title. That drives me crazy!

      Hope all went well with Simone!!

      waving back,
      Kat


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