Scraps of My Past

by Ginger on October 2, 2012

in Becoming Myself

I have these snippets of memories, these little scraps of my past that pop up every once in a while to remind me of where I came from. Usually, they are small, inconsequential moments.

I am sitting in the back of my grandparent’s car as they take me to Dairy Queen for what will invariably be a Nerds Blizzard as a reward for getting straight A’s on my report card. My grandfather is doing the “magic trick” of “making” the light turn green.

I am sitting on the floor, up late watching The Wizard of Oz (remember when it would come on like once a year? That & Gone With the Wind?). I

I am laying in bed as my dad’s Australian Shephard noses her way into my room during her nightly rounds to check on me.

Moments, snippets, snatches of time that don’t MEAN anything. They’re not going to be the basis of my memoirs, should I ever do anything memoir worthy, but they are bits of my past that occasionally flash in my head like someone spliced them into the filmstrip reel of my present.

What is it about memory that is so fleeting? Why do certain things stick and others don’t? What’s the purpose of remembering laying on the floor and playing with the orange shag carpet, and not, for instance, remembering the names and faces of people I knew? Is there any rhyme or reason?

As I get older, I find myself wanting to record those memories, differently than what I write here. Most of my memories are post-it notes to this blog’s full page papers, and I’ve found that the harder I try to expand those post-it notes to full blown events, the more they slip from my grasp. They are to be looked at with my peripheral vision, allowed their brief flitting moment through my mind, or they disappear. I can’t force them to the surface, I can’t will them into anything more than they are. They are brief glimpses of my past, not to be held for overanalyzation or attention.

I don’t know why it suddenly seems more important that I remember things. It’s not in any misguided belief in “the good ole days” but more that I feel, sometimes, like I woke up here and don’t know what happened the last 33 years. I mean, I remember the BIG stuff, but that doesn’t seem like enough. I feel like I should remember more.

The past is the past is the past…but I kind of want to be able to lay claim to MY past, ya know?

Charleen October 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm

“They are to be looked at with my peripheral vision, allowed their brief flitting moment through my mind, or they disappear. I can’t force them to the surface, I can’t will them into anything more than they are.”

I like this.

Ann Soutter October 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm

As I get even older, I have the same, flitting memories….getting a certain phone call when a friend died, but can’t remember when it happened….sitting and talking to my grandmother on the phone in a duplex in NC….conversations in locker rooms of various hospital ORs….dropping the watermelon during the 4th grade picnic and it shattering……being on a road that I don’t remember, looking at a house I don’t remember, but knowing that the event happened. And, I can’t remember names of folks that I have met once, and should remember, or my shopping list at the grocery store, or all the errands to run. Glad to know that I am not the only one with these snippets that come into my mind for no apparent reason, and disappear before I can talk to someone who might know more about the event.

Sidney October 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Nothing wrong with sentimentality.

I just left my spouse of 14 years. When I broke the news he wanted to talk about things, not feelings. Although it made leaving some belongings behind, it made me very sad that’s all I was to him: the gal with all the stuff.

I think there’s a happy medium out there…

Sidney October 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

*snicker* This was the NEXT link I clicked on: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/incredible_photos

Elizabeth October 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Sometimes I can’t sleep at night because I am desperately trying to grab at this very kind of memory. Sometimes I get a little panicky about these huge swathes of time filled with the most ordinary moments. If I have forgotten all of those, what will I forget about these moments?

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