…every minute of it was still a delight to cherish in memory.” 

Last night was shut the windows and doors cold. I even pulled out a sweatshirt. Today though, is lovely, sunny and in the low 70’s. The weekend is predicted to have perfect weather, just what the last weekend of summer deserves before the season fades away.

When I was growing up, I didn’t realize the memories I was making. Even now I can close my eyes and see so much of what fills the the dustiest of my memory drawers. When we lived in a duplex in the project, there was a small rotary in front of my house because the road ended, and it made it easier to sort of turn around. Four duplexes circled the rotary. Behind and below the four houses was the field. It was filled with tall grass in the summer. A path led across the field to the old fallen tree then to a glade and finally to the swamp. Beyond the field on the right beside the path to the water tower were blueberry bushes. They were a snack on the go. I still lived near the field when it was plowed under to make room for elderly apartments. That broke our hearts.

I remember every inch of my walk to school. I walked back and forth for 1440 days from first grade through eighth. During that time, the train still ran, not a passenger train but a freight train. It was usually only the engine and a couple of cars. I loved the sound of the train whistle when it warned cars the train was crossing the road. I still count it among my favorite sounds.

I remember my mother and I going to Arlington to buy my school uniform before I started the ninth grade. The room was large and around the room were tall boxes where all the parts of the uniform were hanging: the pleated skirts, the grey vests, the short-sleeve white blouses and the grey blazers. I used to wonder why this memory was in the front of those memory drawers. but I finally came to realize it was a giant step for me. I was officially ending childhood. I was going to high school where my future was becoming my present.

My parents drove me to Logan where I boarded a plane to Philadelphia, to Peace Corps staging. I remember the beginning of the flight when my seat mate, seeing all my carry-on bags, asked me if I was running away from home. I told him I was going to Peace Corps and West Africa. He bought me some drinks, out of embarrassment I figured. Next, I remember standing outside the airport with all my bags while waiting for a taxi. I noticed a guy wearing khaki pants and a button-down collar shirt who was surrounded by bags. I asked. He and I were both going to staging. We shared a cab. The other prominent memory of that day was standing in line at the hotel to check in with Peace Corps. After that I went to my room and dropped my bags. The adventure had begun.

These memories were insignificant, I thought, until I spent some time with them. Now, so many years later, I see them as stepping stones, as important moments in my life.

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2 Comments on “…every minute of it was still a delight to cherish in memory.” ”

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today is sunny again with a predicted high just under triple digits. Will it ever rain again? It will probably flood when it does rain. 🙁

    Everything you listed of your memory are called episodic memories. These are events in your life that have strong meanings for you. My memory banks are also filled with episodic memories but they are not 100% reliable. Scientists tell us that every time we recall one of those memories, we change them slightly. I think the slight changes don’t really affect the essence of the memory, but just some small details. Regardless, they are part of our brain and they make our life interesting.

    Have you considered compiling those memories into a book to leave for future generations? I have been writing mine down since the pandemic lockdown when I was suffering from shear boredom. 🙂 I doubt my children will ever read the document.

    I would have loved to have a written document from my grandparents who are long gone. I would have loved to ask them so many questions about their lives growing up in Russia and Poland as well as their early adult years in this country. But they couldn’t write in English and I can’t read Yiddish. I did record some family history from my wife’s grandmother when she was 98. Unfortunately, I recorded it on VHS tape, and now there’s no way to play it back even if I could find the tape. Maybe leaving sleeping dogs lie, is the best advice. Our memories may only be interesting to ourselves.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Tonight is chilly. It is only 55°. The back door and all the windows all closed.

      I can perfectly described to you exactly what everything looked like. I can tell you the houses I passed on the way to school. Once I was giving a friend directions to a hospital in Boston. I told her exactly the number of street lights and what lanes she needed to be in for turns. I have an eidetic memory. I can recall places, images and even sounds though some do dim over time. I can even remember where I sat in class in elementary school but only for grades 4 and up. I don’t remember any more the first three grades.

      I haven’t really given any thought do writing things down though maybe Coffee will help pass along my life and memories. I used to listen to my grandfather’s stories and in turn my uncle’s. They gave me more history of my mother’s family. I know little about my father’s. My grandfather never discussed it.

      If you find the VHS tape, there are places which will transcribe it even to a disc. I sent my Ghana slides from 1969-1971 to such a place and receive a DVD in return. I think information which extends the history of any family is a treasure.

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