Something someone said recently was one of the ways you remember things, events, is because you’re emotionally connected to them. Basically their traumatic or dramatic to you.
The specific example he gave was that anybody alive when Pearl Harbor was hit can remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news.
I know our grandma could. She told me not only what she was doing but what she was thinking about. Or rather who she was thinking about. First was her brother-in-law who was stationed at Pearl Harbor. Needless to say she was concerned about him. (They later learned the initial blast knocked him backwards onto the dock, off the ship and to safety. He outlived Grandma.)
Second was her unborn child. She was about seven months along with her fourth child. He was born February 1, 1942. Old enough to serve a stint in Vietnam, after fathering four children. Two of which are Bonnie and I. (It should be noted he had two more children after he served in Vietnam.)
I’ve also spoken to people who could remember exactly what they were doing when they heard JFK was assassinated. There are others who have never forgotten the day Ronald Reagan was shot.
Personally one of my earliest memories, and most traumatic, is accidentally dropping a couple of potted plants right into my hands on my birthday. I still remember accidentally bumping the shelf (a not so stable bookcase) they were on and being terrified the owner would be upset if I let those plants fall without at least attempting to catch them. Both hit my hands plant down, then of course I dropped them. Not that either was very big. They weren’t. But because both were cactus plants.
Not only were both my hands full of little nettles but being my birthday, and therefore the middle of summer, I was barefoot, so at least one of my big toes got hit too.
The worst part of the day came later, when it was time to open all my birthday presents.
I could not touch a thing. Bonnie had to open each and every one of our gifts.
She picked up one up and excitedly opened it. “Oh look what I got!” Then she picked up my gift of the same size and shape, opening it. “Here’s yours.”
Rinse and repeat, three times. Our mother bought us, two little chairs, two alphabet books, two miniature china tea sets, two sewing card sets, and two jump rope and jack sets.
Each and every gift told us we were a set, two of one. Never separate, always together. Always the same. Just like our rhyming names told us we were a set. Of course the fact people around us couldn’t tell us apart already gave us that information.
The problem was even at six years old my sister and I already knew some differences.
For one thing, Bonnie didn’t find that tea set appealing. And I know I didn’t care for the jump rope or jacks. In later years I learned to use both, but at six I couldn’t. Plus neither of us liked the sewing cards which were meant to teach eye and coordination to preschoolers.
As much as we hated getting all the same gifts that year, the events of our next two birthdays solidified our resolve to rebel against identical gifts.
The next year our father’s girlfriend and her mother gave us each a baby doll. Only unlike every other time we’d been given such a gift, these dolls weren’t carbon copies. One, just like the mother, had short, curly brown hair, and the other had long blond hair, like Dad’s girlfriend. AND his girlfriend could tell us apart!
Yes, we treasured those dolls.
The next year Momma gave me a baby doll and Bonnie a teddy bear. She was finally getting the idea. However, every single other gift we got was carbon copy gifts except the badminton set we had to share. We even got tea sets, jump ropes and jack sets, again.
We threw a fit!
We did everything we could to make people see us as individuals. We still got gifts we were supposed to share, but I think that was the last year we got carbon copy gifts.
Anyway, the conversation about how you remember traumatic events, and it just being the season, it brought up one of my earliest memories, those plants landing on me.
I believe I stated our birthday is in the middle of summer. We’ve been told, our mother went into labor while at the fireworks display. So we weren’t born on the Fourth, but the stands going up let us know our birthday is coming soon.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.