02Mar

Fleeting Memories

Memories

I’ve now spent half my life living in another state other than the one I was born in.  My childhood memories are confined to my visits home — one or two times a year.  I get so caught up in my daily routine at home that I rarely stop to remember some of the people and experiences that have shaped my life.  But I am proud of where I came from, and look forward to my visits here.

And so right now I am home.  My real home, the one I grew up in.  I’m taking care of my mother and didn’t bring my children with me.  So, there is more time to remember, to look around the house I grew up in.

And remember.

The rooms are filled with memories of my parents and sisters at various ages and stages of our lives.  Some of the same furniture remains and my mother hasn’t had any work done on the house since 1980 so I can easily go back in time.

This morning while sitting at the kitchen table, I remembered when we were all having breakfast in 1980 when we found out that John Lennon had been shot.  Later, while sitting in the living room, I pictured a group of my childhood friends having a sleepover and playing “light as a feather, stiff as a board.”  I had visions of my grandparents coming to stay and the summer vacations we took with them.  I remembered my sisters and I spending weeks and weeks in the kitchen preparing cakes and pastries for one’s Bat Mitzvah.  I also had visions of clothes and backpacks sprawled on the floor or my bedroom as I prepared to spend a year in Israel.

And when I took a walk down the street, I saw houses that haven’t changed in 30 years. I stood outside each house that triggered a glimpse of my past, watching myself going in and wondered what had happened to the people who used to live in each one.  Most are gone, most no longer live here. But the houses look exactly the same.

They are good memories, primarily, as many of the bad ones have slipped away.  I’m not sure which memories go first, the ones that haunt you or the ones that you want to stay forever.  I want to hang on to the good ones forever, and I want my mother to remind me of as much as she can.  At age 42, I find myself remembering less and less and the memories are falling off an imaginary cliff as each year passes by.  Seeing old friends definitely triggers memories that I otherwise don’t think about back home.  But even when I come home, I feel the memories slipping away and becoming more faint.  And there is nothing I can do about it.

Today I ran a few errands for my mom, and I encountered one of the best memories of the day.   I saw a gentleman wearing a 688 shirt.  688 was a nightclub I used to slip away to see bands in high school like New Order and Jesus and the Mary Chain.  While those memories are closer in time than of being a girl scout or Bat Mitzvah, I was happy to think about those happy times.  The guy told me where he got the shirt.

I’m going to pick one up tomorrow before I go home and bring some of my memories back to Westchester.  Maybe it will trigger others.  I hope that it does.

 

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Comments

  1. Lovely, Holly. And remember that one of the sweetest gifts you can give your mom is your memory of the happy childhood she helped you have … like jewels. Glad your visit went well.

  2. Beautiful post Holly… enjoying the space between the to do list, like you did in this post, was my new year’s resolution. Whether I keep it or not seems to change daily!

  3. it’s nice you still have your childhood home to go back to. my mom sold and left ours to move to manhattan to be near my brother and me and our families, so while it’s beyond fantastic to have her here, there is no childhood home “there” any more.

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