Years of Faded Memories

3 11 2010

I recently got a call from our middle daughter, Sam, asking about something from her childhood.  She and her family were driving through Louisville around the Cherokee Park area.  She asked if that was the place where we use to fly kites in spring and sled in the winter.  I get calls like that all the time from our two oldest daughters.

Over 30 years ago, their mother and I divorced and agreed to split custody.  When the girls were with me, we generally did simply things like flying kites, sledding or camping.  I think the primary motivation for those types of activities was monetary in nature; they were fun and yet inexpensive or free.  During the last couple years at the end of my first marriage and until the time that my wife, Linda, and I married there seems to be quite a few faded memories for the two older daughters.  I assume that a lot of it goes back to the fact that no matter how hard I tried, their lives lacked stability (maybe the topic of a blog post some day, just not today).  Still, they have faded memories of simple things that they recall with obvious pleasure.  I gladly do my best to fill in the blanks.

After Linda and I established Broken Plow (the name of our home place) the girls’ memories seem to be just as pleasant but far more clear and concise.  Somehow, stability of location seems, at least in the cases of our children, to create more detailed memories.  I don’t know if they are any more accurate but they are clearer.

The recent phone call reminded me of the experiences I am having as I drive around Princeton.  As I recall my pre-teen years, I have very clear memories such as my dog, Pepper, my first bike, my first ball mitt, and our family’s first car; a 1949 black Plymouth coupe.  I remember our upstairs apartment on Hall Street, our first house or Stormont Street and our next house on Seminary Street.  I remember my dad walking with me from the Hall Street apartment to my maternal grandparents’ house on Race Street as I pedaled my red and white firetruck.  He used an old broomstick to push on the back of the firetruck as I attempted to pedal up the hill from West Street to Hart Street.

The point is that even though we lived in three places during my pre-teen years, I have very clear memories.  There was stability in my life.  A routine that involved parents, grandparents, the same school, the same Little League park, the same public swimming pool and the same sense of security.  I cannot recall ever feeling any sense of insecurity or instability.  I have no way of knowing if my situation was truly as stable as I remember it and nothing in my adult life has ever caused me to come to any other conclusion.

The youngest member of our “hers, mine and ours” group of children came home from the hospital to Broken Plow and lived nowhere else until she moved into her dorm room in Bloomington with her best friend.  Childhood memories for Cass also seem to be very clear.  She alludes to those memories quite often in her conversations with me as well as with her siblings and on her blog, Back To Her Roots.

As I commented in an earlier post, memories are funny in that clear does not necessarily mean accurate.  However, I do suspect that the more stable a person’s life is, the greater the chance that those memories are accurate.

I hope that our children continue to have the opportunity and willingness to afford their children the kind of stability that I remember from my childhood.

-gw-

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2 responses

1 12 2010
jimmy

makes me want to drink alchoholic beverages

1 12 2010
gw

I am not really sure how to take that comment but I know I never needed an excuse to drink but I have used drinking as an excuse after the fact.

Thanks for commenting on my post.

-gw-

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