Memory? What Memory?

I can’t really say my memory is not what it used to be because mine has always been pathetic. Some people are fortunate to recall childhood memories, like who came to their ninth birthday party. I don’t even remember being nine, let alone a party. It’s gone – completely obliterated from the deep crevices of my gray matter.

Since my past has shaped the person I am today, it would be nice if I had a tad more recall. Bits and pieces of my life may be buried in the corners of my mind, but they’re stuck like Super Glue and not about to budge. For some, just mentioning a name or word from the past is all it takes to release the floodgates and their memories spill out with perfect recall. Those people annoy me.


Take Susan, my childhood friend who has a memory to shame an elephant. She comes in quite handy at times, refreshing my recollection of, basically, my life. The woman recalls just about every event she’s ever experienced, as well as most of mine. She even remembers the dress she wore to her First Holy Communion. We were in the same class, but naturally I didn’t remember that. So she showed me a photo. And there it was in black and white. She’s the blond seven-year-old with the same eyes and smile she has today.

If only I had known I was going to forget so much of my life, I would have paid better attention. But one important thing I did remember to do is keep a journal. Since age 10, I’ve chronicled just about every inconsequential step I took through puberty into adulthood. Now don’t get me wrong; knowing those mundane facts are available to me is somehow very comforting. Reading them, however, is another story. We’re talking a lot of pages to look through. Who has the time? It’s easier to ask Susan.

But one recent rainy afternoon, I took myself back in time by going through the cedar chest where I keep my journals. I wish I had been more interested in world history as a child so I would remember what I was feeling as a third grader when President Kennedy was killed. Or when I was 14 and man first stepped on the moon.

Instead, what will forever remain in my memoirs is that Albert was the first boy I kissed (behind my parents Buick) and that January 4, 1968 was a traumatic day (my first encounter with a bra).

So, next year at our 40th high school reunion, I’ll go in prepared, just like the Girl Scout I may or may not have been. I’ll study my journals and yearbooks in an attempt to unglue those memories and hide the fact that I barely remember a single soul there.

Failing that, there’s always Plan B: Stick close to Susan.

Our high school graduation, 1973


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