Memories–they’re not real. They are constructions. But they’re all we have to make us conscious beings with continuous lives.
Whatever happens in your life, if you don’t write it down, with time, date, and place, you may fabricate associations to support the experiences you know you had, because those facts tend to slip away as you grow older.

It is a shock for me when I  realize that I have relocated an experience to another place and time. I still know that it happened, and it seems to fit where I think I was at the time, but the arithmetic shows me that I couldn’t have been there at that time with those people.
I recall that when I moved to Palestine, TX, I insisted on calling a certain street “S. 10th St.” and it did not even run in that direction.  The association was much older than the 2 years spent in the geographic area where I lived just prior to the move, but it was one that was comfortable and familiar, at the time. Later, when I actually drove my car on the real S. 10th St., it was not quite so comfortable and familiar, because the business district had grown tremendously.

What about people with “eidetic” or “photographic” memory? This only refers to images of what the person has seen or read, and perhaps to sounds that they have heard, and the stored memory of textures, odors, and flavors. Pages of printed words or symbols can be verified, but what we experience with our senses is highly subjective and always in a personal context. So we do not remember facts, but experiences.

To “recall” means to call [forth or back], to command a bit of information to appear from where it is “filed” in the brain. Conversely, to “remember” is to pull together an event or story.
On a computer, if you have a keyword, you can search Internet sites for articles, definitions, or places associated with that word. But that information comes from the outside world. Searching your brain with a “keyword” will bring up many of your own associations until you find the one you want. But if you are trying to recall a word, or the name of a thing, you may have to consult a Thesaurus, dictionary, or encyclopedia–or ask someone else.
If you forget someone’s name, you may have to ask him! Nouns and proper nouns are the first things to go as we get older. Everyone experiences it, no matter what devices he uses as reminders. I have often wondered why this should be. Why do we not forget pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and exclamations? This is a real mystery to me!


Author: b4i4get

I am a 68-yo retired Physical Therapist Asst. living in Texas. Currently I have ~5 dozen webpages, including 3 homepages, an e-novel, and 1 blog. I love cats, writing, and thinking about the big questions. I am also a singer-songwriter, though no one has heard of me--yet.

4 thoughts on “MEMORIES”

  1. Oh Dear, This makes me think !
    Yes, there are many things I “recall” from past years,now I am wondering whether I am “remembering” them correctly-what a dilemma.

    Names do elude me,I confess,faces are still familiar,aren’t they ? Heck-now I know I am ageing !

    Re. Memories-When I tell the family about something that happened in my childhood, they say:”yes,Mum,sure”-they are going to regret that when they get older and I am not around to answer their questions nor the details of something in their young lives–I know I do.I have no-one to ask.

    Kaye, you have made a disturbing report on recognotion and remembering–
    Thank you,er, what was your name again ?!

    cheers Maggy

  2. Haha! that was a very insightful comment, Maggy. I know that you and I are about the same age, and our brains have not turned to mush yet, probably because we ask questions that make us think. But we notice when something slips away. I prefer to wax philosphical about it. It’s all about finding out what sort of beings we are, or have become. And we are the only inhabitants of this planet who can think about ourselves!

  3. Kaye-
    Some very intriguing insights here. You’ve touched on something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I agree that our memories are made of experiences rather than facts, but I also think they are highly colored by our “perception” of the experience as well. We remember what we saw, heard, smelled, thought, and felt during the experience. Lawrence Durrell examined this concept in his “Alexandria Quartet” books (too) many years ago. Every witness to an event will report it differently, depending upon how they experienced it.

    Losing nouns and names is an especially annoying experience–glad to know it’s happening to others. As it is happening to me-I can visualize the word or name I want but am unable to bring it to the part of the brain that gives my tongue the command to speak it. Ifind myself substituting another word-sometimes appropriately, sometimes not.

    Thanks again for creating something “memorable” for us to read!
    Happy New Year!


    1. Thanks for taking the time to post such a thoughtful comment, Mary. You are right that the experiences we remember are complete with smells, tastes, sounds, and touches. But you are doing better than I am if you can visualize a word or name (while not being able to say it). The best I am able to do is to have a very nebulous concept of the word or name, while being certain that the word is “hiding”down some foggy corridor in my brain, whole and correctly spelled, but not immediately available.

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