Mixed Memories

My brother-in-law Ken once told me about his friend and his memories. Let’s call this friend Buddy.  Buddy and his parents were together for the holidays once and his mother mentioned an important event in Buddy’s life. Buddy had no memory of it, but it did bring to his mind something he thought was important. Neither of his parents had any memory of it. With the important memories of the parents not even being remembered by Buddy, and vice versa, they spent the rest of the evening seeing if the really important memories of one person were remembered at all by the other. There was no overlap.

I thought this so interesting. It meant parents were working so hard to instill lessons in their childrens’ lives and yet these “lessons” completely blew by the children and it was the unimportant and unremembered moments of a parent’s acts that really stuck with the sons and daughters.

Recently I asked a childhood friend if he remembered, “that bare wire incident that’s so vivid in my memory (room was dark, you were near the train model in the NE corner of the basement, you were sitting on the floor).” He had an electric cord that he plugged into the wall but it ended with bare wires. I was worried at the time that he’d electrocute himself, and indeed he touched a toolbox with the wires, it sparked, and blew a fuse. Not surprisingly, he had no memory of it.

But this got me thinking, I should try this little experiment with my sons during the coming holidays and ask them what they remember as a big deal and tell them what I remember. It could be more fun than playing Risk, or Settlers of Catan!

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