Posted tagged ‘memory drawers’

“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”

May 24, 2018

Yesterday was so lovely my friends and I had dinner on their deck. It was a summer dinner of hot dogs, watermelon and fresh corn. We played Phase 10, but toward the end of the game, the cold wind arrived. We were done. Summer was over.

Last night thunder rumbled then the rain came, a heavy rain at first then just a constant rain of smaller drops. When I fell asleep, it was still raining, but this morning is beautiful though chilly, in the low 60’s.

I have three stops today. I still have to get my dump sticker, the car needs to be inspected and I have PT for my arm.

The only items on my to do list are the dump and then Agway to buy flowers and herbs. The heading on the list is Friday.

When I was in Ghana, an occasional evening treat was a Coke and a Cadbury candy bar. The DPW near my house had a store. It was one of the few places with cold Coke. My favorite Cadbury was the Fruit & Nut Milk Chocolate Bar. I still buy one every now and then just for the memory.

My memory drawers are loaded. I don’t know why some events and people become memories and get saved while others never do and are forgotten as soon as they happen. I remember the plane ride to Ghana. It was a TWA charter. I sat toward the back by the window. I remember we flew over the Cape. When the plane stopped in Madrid to refuel and change the crew, we got out to stretch. I remember the airport. I also remember getting back into my seat and finding the seat belt caught somewhere. I didn’t use it again. I remember looking out and seeing the Sahara. I also remember my first view of Ghana from the window, and I remember landing. I have a mental picture of my first dinner during training at Winneba. The plate was white. The food was mostly green and white. I didn’t eat it.

Each one of those memories is a snapshot, a colorful, vibrant snapshot which doesn’t seem to fade over time so I get to visit those memories over and over. I never tire of seeing them.

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

February 26, 2016

Gracie snores, and last night she snored so loudly she kept waking me up. My bedtime was late enough without being disturbed by her multiple snores and an occasional snort. I’m tired and it is only 11 o’clock. Gracie, of course, is having a morning nap. The poor baby must be tired.

Cold day today, it is in the high 30’s, but the sun is shining so I’m not going to complain. When I went to get the papers, I heard birds singing to greet the morning. It sounded like spring to me.

I have random memories which loop through my mind. Some I see only once while others recur. Some of my memories of growing up are faded and worn while others are so bright they could have happened yesterday. My grey jacket reappears out of one my memory drawer every spring. It was my favorite jacket because I started wearing it only when the weather got warmer. It had no lining. It did have pockets on each side, and it had a zipper. My brightest memory is wearing that jacket and skipping on the sidewalk on my way to school.

I still remember biology and dissecting a frog. My memory drawer has a picture of the frog lying on its back on a silver lab tray. It looks washed out, too long preserved. My lab partner wanted nothing to do with that frog and the scalpel. It was left to me. She took all the notes. That was our deal. Making the first cut took me a while. I had to forego the urge to gag. Dead frogs didn’t bother me, but their insides were better left inside.

My first Ghana memory is of the morning after our arrival. My room was on the second floor of a school dorm. I remember walking outside, standing at the rail and looking at what was spread out below me. I saw greenery everywhere. I could see rusty tins roofs. I remember the awe. I was in Africa.

My memory drawers overflow. Some I can’t even open; others I can’t shut. The sad memories have their own places. Sometimes they come unbidden. They are not always welcome.

“It’s surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.”

September 20, 2015

Today is dark and damp with the humidity at 80˚. It rained for all of three minutes, stopped for a long while then rained again for a few minutes. I think that will be the weather for the day, on and off rain. I have no urge to do anything constructive except take my shower which I suppose could be construed as constructive.

Tonight my friends and I are going out to dinner, a celebratory dinner for my friend’s birthday. I’m looking forward to the festivities.

My memory drawers are so filled I can’t even close some of them. Momentous events and whole experiences fill most drawers, but my memory drawers also save picture memories, single snapshots, and I sometimes wonder why. I remember my fourth grade lunch box was red plaid. I don’t remember any other lunch boxes. I have no memories of my school shoes, but I remember my sneakers, my play shoes. My favorite pair of dungarees had a flannel lining. The cuff had to be rolled once as the pants were a bit long. I was young and the waist of those pants was elastic, no snaps, no buttons. I remember one part of our walk to church early Christmas morning. It was still dark. I remember walking on the sidewalk and across the railroad tracks but that’s all. Arriving at church and the walk home are lost somewhere way back in one of those drawers. I can close my eyes perfectly see the cloakroom outside my first grade classroom. I remember the thick, painted walls in the rectory cellar where I spent my third grade. From high school, I remember where my freshman locker was, and I remember a before school practice for one of the Christmas pageants. I was sitting in the middle of about the third row. Once I got detention for talking on the stairs, one step away from the cafeteria where I was allowed to talk. I know exactly where that happened. I can even see the nun turn and tell me I had detention, but I don’t remember who the nun was.

In Philadelphia, at Peace Corps staging, we were together for about 5 days before leaving for Ghana. I remember standing in line for check-in. I remember sitting on the rug on the top floor with my back to the wall and reading The Naked Ape. Why I was on the top floor and not in my room escapes me. I don’t remember leaving for Ghana. I do remember after a stop for fuel in Madrid my seat belt got stuck and I couldn’t get it unstuck so I didn’t wear it for take-off from Madrid or for landing in Ghana.

Memories are so many things. Some makes us nostalgic, other makes us sad, some fill us with wonder. I always think the best ones keep those we love close to us whether they are here or not.

“Memories are hunting horns Whose sound dies on the wind.”

July 9, 2015

This morning is the nicest way to start any day. It is dry and cool because last night’s rain drove away the heat and the humidity. I get to turn off my air conditioner and open windows and doors.

Last night was play night, and I saw an Agatha Christie play based on a book I have no memory of reading, The Hollow. When I went hunting to find out more, I discovered the title had been changed for the US edition, not unusual for a Christie novel. Here it was called Murder After Hours. The novel featured Poirot who was not in the play at all. I suspect Dame Christie would be pleased as she believed her having added Poirot to the mix had ruined the novel. The play was well done and fun to watch though I did have a bit of trouble with a few mumbled English accents. The maid, Gladys, was indecipherable.

When I was in high school, I was in plays. I loved acting. It was a perfect extension of my personality. One year, my junior year, we competed in the Globe High School Drama Festival. I remember Sister Corita was our director. She took us out of classes to rehearse, the best perk of them all. We went to the church hall and she sat, watched, criticized and applauded. We’d do a scene then stop to listen to her comments. The only suggestion I still remember was to place the phone receiver on the base opposite its usual placement to make it easier for another character to pick up. I remember little of the competition maybe because we didn’t place, but we did come home with a couple of jars for the biology lab. My friend Jimmy and I took a self-guided tour of the school where the competition was held. We looked into the biology lab which was filled with jars of different specimens floating in formaldehyde. A teacher was working in the room. We told him how impressed we were with his collection, and that we came from an almost brand new school with no collection. He gave us each a bottle filled with I don’t remember what and also a note with permission to take the jars. I do remember the jars were big and heavy.

I won’t ever understand why some events are permanently and vividly preserved in my memory drawers while other memories are sketchy blurs of time. I remember the jars but not the competition. I remember the heat upon landing in Ghana but not the welcoming oompah band playing on the tarmac. I remember waiting in line to go into the auditorium for my college graduation, but I don’t remember the graduation. I remember my father ordering me a daiquiri once before I was twenty-one when we were out to dinner. It was at Mildred’s. That’s it, the only memory of the entire evening.

I believe these pieces of my memories have significance and are in themselves important events. The landing in Ghana is easy, the jars not so easy. I can’t control which memories stay or which memories vanish over time. I just sort of smile and let my mind go back. That’s the fun of it all.

“You never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

June 12, 2014

The morning is chilly, but the sun is shining which gives hope for a warmer day. Rain is coming maybe tonight but definitely tomorrow. I love this time of year when my world is wonderfully spring green.

This morning I realized I know too many useless facts. They are taking up space in my memory drawers, and they don’t seem to have much value beyond a bit of cocktail chatter. Who really cares that the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows or eyelashes? I didn’t even notice until I had read this somewhere. In the shower, most people wash starting head first. I know I do. It makes perfect sense to start at the top and work downward. We all have lyrics in our heads to songs we sang years ago when AM radio was it, was all we had. I even remember the singing commercials. They and the lyrics don’t ever disappear, but ask me state capitals, and I hesitate. Is Helena North or South Dakota? It’s neither. It’s Montana’s.

My descriptive powers are growing in leaps and bounds. Adjectives are my friends. I don’t remember names of famous people as much anymore, but I can tell you how tall they are, whether they have facial hair and sort of describe the movie they might have been in. I read an entire book and forget the title, but I can describe perfectly the plot. The names of authors disappeared long ago. I look to friends for help, and they are as perplexed as I. Every morning I wake up and figure out the day of the week.

I have always been a list maker. Long ago I learned that lists make life easier. Now I find them essential. I keep a grocery list and add to it as I run out of stuff. I have my to do list with items in no particular order or set for any specific day. That’s sort of an out in case I don’t feel like doing anything but lolling. My calendar is a tear off day by day desk calendar with, of all things, a trivia question each day. I put a reminder on my calendar the day before any event because I missed a couple of events by not tearing off the old day. Tomorrow is breakfast with friends.

I think my most important memories don’t ever disappear. They seem to stay around, vivid and almost alive. For the rest of them, there is always Google.

“Strange, what brings these past things so vividly back to us, sometimes!”

May 13, 2014

The warm weather is gone and the 50’s have replaced it. The sun was shining but has since disappeared. It’s a stay home sort of day. I have mail from when I was gone to go through and a few dvr’d television programs to watch. I’ll just stretch out on the couch with my phone handy and enjoy a quiet day. I still ache and yelp when I stand up, but my knees do seem a bit better.

I have some singular memories of certain days and events.

The town plowed the field, filled in the swamp and took down the trees where we had spent so much of our childhood. They build elderly apartments. My father always called it wrinkle city. I remember a lady whose robe had caught on fire. When they brought her out, she had no hair. I can still see that. I don’t remember her looking burned, just bald. When I was in the seventh grade, they found I had a heart murmur. My dad took me for a ride and told me about it. He explained I would be tested to make sure everything was okay. I remember how gentle he sounded. My dad was the disciplinarian and a screamer so this gentleness scared me a bit. Later, though, all was well. I remember the drive to Logan the day I left for Peace Corps staging. I sat in the back and said little as did my parents. I don’t remember saying good-bye at the gate, but I do remember trying to settle all my carry-on at my seat. The man beside me wanted to know if I was running away from home. I told him I was going in the Peace Corps, and he bought me drinks. Not long after I bought my house, my car started to smoke on the way home from buying groceries. I remember crying because I had no money to fix it. All of my money had gone into the house, insurance and passing papers. What would I do without a car? Well, it was only a hose and water hitting the hot engine, but I still remember how distraught I was. I even remember exactly the car was when the engine started to smoke.

My memory drawers are filled, and I love to sift through them hoping for a surprise, something I had forgotten but now remember. These other memories, these singular memories, stay etched by themselves in a separate drawer. They, in some way, changed me. I don’t forget them for that.

“I am an omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles.”

February 5, 2013

Snow is lightly falling and has been all morning, but I doubt it will amount to much. When I went to get the papers, I almost fell as I didn’t see the ice hidden under the new snow. The ice is from the snow of a couple of nights ago which melted during the day yesterday but froze when the temperature dropped in the darkness of the late afternoon. How I didn’t fall is a mystery. I am a faller, a tripper, a down on my butt person so saving myself  is new to me, a miracle of sorts.

I’m feeling so much better that it was a busy day for me yesterday. I filled the feeders, watered plants, put laundry away, swept the kitchen floor, took down the wreaths and took off all their ornaments to save for next year and even made my bed.

We had a mouse yesterday, the first in a few days. When I went to bed, it was in the trap so Gracie and I did a midnight run. It was cold, really cold, but I decided not to leave the mouse in the trap all night. I know the mouse has to be let free over a mile away so its loses its homing instinct so Gracie and I drove to our usual spot. When I opened the trap, that mouse took off like a shot. Some mice have to be shaken a few times before I can get them out of the trap, but not this one. It was out and running. I left it at a spot where a few of the other mice have been freed. I have this vision, like Mole’s little home in The Wind in the Willows, where the other mice invite the new one into their homes where the fire is warming, the chair comfy and the bread and cheese is on the table. I know. I know. My imagination has gone amok!

I always wonder how I know some things. I probably read or heard them and my mind just put them away in my memory drawers for later use. At trivia one night the question was which cartoon character was introduced in the comic strip Thimble Theater in 1929. I said Popeye. Not one person on my team accepted my answer. They discussed it among themselves without any consideration that I might be right though I did offer Popeye one more time, but it was as if I had said nothing. They agreed on some other answer and turned it in. The correct answer was Popeye. They blamed me for the wrong answer saying I should have been more insistent.

In the crossword puzzle today the clue was ______Novo. I , of course, filled in Porto. That was easy. It is a city in Benin which used to be Dahomey when I lived in Africa. That’s one of the weird facts for which I know the origin. Thimble Theater still escapes me.