This theme has me in its grip for a long time now. I have early childhood memories, whereas Stephen acts as if he’s been dropped on this planet later in life and remembers almost nothing.
Since I had the more difficult childhood, and he sailed through his relatively smoothly, it might be true we remember the negative more readily.
Several years ago I read a book on this topic, called “Mistakes Were Made.” One story in particular had a long-lasting effect on me. One of the authors describes a memory from childhood about dancing with her dad every time they read a particular book.
Then she came across a first edition of that book and, in memory of her dad, bought it for her kids. She noticed the original publishing date, which was way after her dad had died. So how could she have such a memory of her dad reading it to her? I think she finally figured out it must have been her uncle who read the book to her.
OK, if you end up reading Mistakes Were Made and the story is a little different, please, that’s what memories are made of, faulty remembrances, but the gist of the story is true.
Often in our family now, we refer to something we might not accurately remember as: Mistakes Were Made.
The other day we had a drunk driver on our road who smashed into a neighbor’s car and kept on going, then came driving back around the corner, still totally drunk and lost in the neighborhood. Before I could figure out what was going on, I was trying to piece together what that loud crash was I heard and my imagination was flying wild.
Several scenarios were swirling through my head. Until what really happened came out of that whirlpool. Here is my hypothesis: what I imagined going on before I knew what really happened might have been more exciting than the final truth, and it features more prominently in my brain.
As we get older and brain function is in decline, it might get harder and harder to distinguish speculation from a real memory.
It probably took me much longer going through scenarios in my head trying to identify the crash. When I finally noticed that a car had hit another car I had already assimilated the hypothetical versions. So what stays behind as real might not always be so, and what has more staying power might be the imagined. Just sayin’….