Friday, September 11, 2015

The significance of dates and remembering

We all have events in our lives that splash across our memory out of nowhere.  Sometimes silly insignificant things.   Like remembering wearing saddle shoes and thick tights in the winter.  I couldn't tell you what dates I wore them, but I know that I did.  And with some reasoning, I could narrow it down to the season, and possibly even how old I was.   But why.  It is a small snippet of millions upon millions of snippets of time that are happening constantly.  Most go into us to either stay with us or just go- passing through. 

Scent can elicit memories.  Sights.  A child in a red winter coat.  The smell of pie in the oven.

But there is some point where the brain seems to shift gears.  Things take on importance and meaning.  My own children are always telling me stories of things I did.  Usually ways in which I was not the perfect mother.  But, wait, that's not how I recall at all.  No, I did not say that.  Did I?  Did the kids remember what they knew and expected me to say, thus creating a memory based on  memory, facts and wishful thinking.

And then there are the cultural, world changing facts that we hold on to forever.  

I remember clearly the day John F Kennedy was killed. I was nine years old. I saw Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald- on live TV.    My dad and I were both home sick and saw it all.  I am sure the significance was much different to each of my parents and each of my siblings.  It was a shared experience.  It was terrible.   We all cried.  We went downtown to watch the funeral cortege go by.  It was cold that November day.  It will be with me for as long as I have any memory at all.

I remember dates.  The dates of my children's birthdays.  My mother, father and brother, even though they are dead.   I know those dates.  I know my husband's birthrate.    We celebrate, we commemorate the day.  We have family rituals.  We are very predictable that way though if we do something different every now and then, it's alright.

Each time I learned I was pregnant, I was thrilled.  I remember that.  And the two pregnancies I lost too.  The first time holding, smelling, nursing.  I could not tell you the time of day, but it's all inside me.

Recently I read that with each pregnancy, fetal cells from the unborn baby travel into their mother's brain. 
So, there are "memories" and a sense of being that child's mother without even knowing it.

Today is September 11, 2015.  It is the 14th  anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Buildings in New York City, the Pentagon , and the thwarted attack on Washington by a fourth plane.    

We sat glued to the TV that day in 2001, not knowing what to do next.  Shops closed down.  Everyone wanted to be home.  With their families and friends.   To feel some comfort in a very uncomfortable frightening situation.  

Today is the anniversary of that attack, now known as 9-11.  On  MSNBS TV, this morning they were streaming the footage of that day on real time.  So, when the footage from  14 years ago said the time was 11:25, it actually was that time, here on the east coast.

There is a prayer/ poem read at military memorial services- at national events.   I heard it a lot in Australia.

They shall not grow old
As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them

Lest We Forget

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