Look back in your past and choose a memory. Think of all the people that were part of that memory. Think of all of your friends and family members that should know all about that memory. Do they remember that memory the same way you do? If they were older or younger than you were, how would their perspective be different than yours?
I have recently realized that not everyone remembers the same things I do. Laugh now! I am the oldest sibling, and 5 and almost 10 years older than my two siblings. I finally realized that they may not remember the same things I do, and if they do, their memories would be radically different. I try to share memories with my niece and nephew, because my mother is no longer around to share those memories with them. Unfortunately, my mother passed away 26 years ago, and my niece and nephew never had the opportunity to meet her.
Saturday, July 6, 1968 was a beautiful warm day. It was not quite dark, so I am guessing it was between 8:30 & 9:00 pm. A thirteen year old is not aware of time of day. I was 13 , my sister was 8 and my brother would be 4 in the fall. We were in the car, driving home from Helena. My father’s mother and my family had driven to Helena to visit my mother’s family. Interstate 90 was still under construction. At that time you could drive from Missoula to Drummond on I-90. In Drummond travelers had to exit to the ‘old highway.’ We were east of Drummond on the old road. There was a small hill, a creek and farmland on the left side of the car. Suddenly, my mother cried, “Turn the car around! There are kittens across the road sitting by an old bag.” So, my father turned the car around, and we scrambled out of the car. The ‘old paper bag’ was the kittens’ mother. She had been hit by a car. Someone had dumped her and her litter of kittens off the road. They had no way to get to the farm across the creek, and there were no other houses near by. As an adult, that action, by a heartless individual, angers me deeply. At 13, I didn’t totally understand why someone would do that.
We scrambled around, rescuing the six babies and ensuring that there were only 6 in the litter. We got back into the car and drove home. I remember all of us, except my father who was driving, having great fun holding the playful kittens,. I remember them being about 4 or 5 weeks old. We got them home, and gave them milk. Our cat was a grumpy cat. He hated fireworks and would disappear up on the hill behind our house to do an extensive hunting trip/fireworks escape. He came home that night. Six hungry kittens were gathered around his bowl eagerly lapping up milk. He growled, hissed, spit and then left for a few more days!
That is my memory. I finally realized that at 8 and almost 4 my siblings would have very different memories of that night. So would my father. I have never asked any of them what their memories are, but one of these days, I will. It would be interesting to compare those memories, especially 53 years later.
I am beginning to collect memories. I will record them here in rather rough forms. One day, I hope to turn them into a simple memoir. Family stories are important, and should not be lost. Be warned! You will probably have many of those memories inflicted on you.
Memories are subjective, but they are also a matter of perspective. I have a specific memory that illustrates this statement. Picture a two year old standing at a screen door sobbing and heartbroken. Her parents just left to go and work on the ‘new house’. She was left behind-all alone. Even when I still recall that memory 64 years later, that feeling of being alone is the primary emotion that comes with that memory. As an adult, as a mother, and knowing my own mother I know that I was most definitely NOT alone. My grandmother was there with me.
Perspective is a large influence on memories. A memory is truly your perspective on any event. Others included in that memory have a different perspective. My mother and father knew they were not leaving me alone. They were talking and planning as they were on their way to do some painting on a new house. After a long work day, my father would have been tired, and I am sure that he could think of things he would rather be doing that painting rooms in our new house. The day we could move out of my grandmother’s house and into our own new house was becoming a reality. To be honest, I am not even sure we were living at my grandmother’s house. Mom and Dad may have been dropping me off there. They had no idea how devastated I was.
My grandmother did her best to comfort me. I don’t remember those attempts to comfort me, but other memories of my grandmother tell me she would have done that. Her grandchildren were very important to her, and she would not have just left me there sobbing. In my two year old mind, I was all alone, but my other memories tell me my grandmother was doing her best to comfort me.
I smile as I type. I am now a much older woman than my grandmother would have been when I was sobbing my little heart out. Another viewpoint of perspective! People seem to stay in our memories as we were when the memory happened. And in present time, I still see her as older. Perspective is interesting, and at times comical.
I am finding that when I start stirring the memory pot, many memories surface. I am excited about recording them here. If my memories stir up memories of your own, please share them in the comments.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.