I have six jars of curry, five deodorants, three bottles of Dove liquid soap, and two cans of unsweetened cocoa. I do not need any of these in bulk. It’s just that there are things I can’t seem to remember.

I have to write stuff down if I don’t want to forget.

I can vaguely conjure the memory of the deep sound of my father’s voice, the way his hands were tanned and bony and smelled always faintly of cigarettes. I have to count backward to remember what year I graduated college, traveled to England, chipped my tooth while eating broccoli, or had my first kiss. I couldn’t tell you what I got for Christmas when I was ten, how I learned to tie a shoe, what my GPA was in high school or what I scored on the SATs, when I started liking avocados, or the last names of many of the guys I’ve slept with.

I can vividly recall though the smell of the perfume my mom wore when I was a kid, sitting on little stools in the kitchen pantry with my sister pretending we were “scientists” and mixing spices and sauces with names I couldn’t yet read to create secret concoctions, the way our backyard looked in summer and how it felt to dive into our pool on a hot day, the way the birch trees out front our house rustled in the gentle wind as I lay on my bed reading. I remember my first kiss and how nervous I was and how squishy it felt (he had very big lips), the first time I got pulled over by a cop while driving, and walking across the stage when I graduated college.

I worry I am forgetting the little moments that make up my life. I want to get back to writing, or rather, to collecting my stories for prosperity so that later when I say I can’t remember, I can be reminded.


16 thoughts on “Remembering/Forgetting

  1. Mr. Mom has told me before that smell is the one sense that goes straight to our brain in some way that bypasses the processing associated with other senses. I’m not explaining this very well but what he means is that our eyes and ears can be fooled, but NOT our sense of smell. That’s why things like the smell of your mother’s perfume are so memorable and why a particular smell can evoke instant and vivid memories.

    I’m like you on the household items. I either have five of something or I’m completely out. When we moved to Missouri two years ago and finally cleaned out and organized our spice cabinet, I discovered I had 3-6 containers of nearly every spice I use. I only put one of each in my new cabinet and stored all the surplus in a container in my pantry. I haven’t shopped for spices in two years . . . I’m just finally using up all the extras!

  2. This is my favorite line from your post: “the way the birch trees out front of our house rustled in the gentle wind as I lay on my bed reading.” I’m thinking of summer nights reading on my bed, with the whir of the attic fan drawing up all that hot air and the curtains on my open windows billowing out like the sails of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Cardinals baseball was playing on Mother’s transistor radio in the kitchen. It was the summer of 1967 (the Cards went on to win the World Series that year). What I remember most of those crackly broadcasts beaming in from St. Louis was the lyrical name of one player: Orlando Cepeda.

  3. My husband’s father left memoirs, 2 to 5 pages per chapter, on different subjects of his life. (My favorite one was “Cats I have known,” where he tells about the different cats he had, from boyhood to old age). The memoirs also contain lots of family history, from his perspective, about surviving the great depression, WWII, and tales of his children when they were young. My husband’s father is long gone, but we reach for those memoirs time and again, reading and rereading.

    There is value in what you are contemplating. Get writing, Sizzle!

  4. My mom told me about a class that she took at a senior center, about writing your own biography. It starts with writing down all the places you’ve lived, and you go from there. Since my own memory has become worse that swiss cheese I think I need to start doing that, especially with the kids. ‘Cause soon they’ll be grown and I’ll wonder what they were like when they were kids. Gah.
    Keep writing Sizzle! I’ll keep reading.

  5. Funny you should write this because I was thinking about the exact same thing last night. On one hand, I remember the weirdest things from my past and on the other I feel like I’ve forgotten enormous sections — memories I shouldn’t necessarily have suppressed. Maybe it is simply a matter of tapping into it with writing and bringing it all back up to the surface?!

  6. I worry about what my job is doing to my brain. What I mean is–if you ask me about any candidate I have talked to in the past 3 weeks I can give you a run down off the top of my head on any one of them. If you say, “Hey Diane, who was that one candidate that worked at X?” I will be able to tell you without looking anything up.
    But all the little day to day seems to be slipping away. Some stuff I WANT to forget, but there’s a lot that’s getting harder to access. I have endless notes that mean nothing (see today’s FB status update for an example). Oh, the names of boys I’ve dated, etc? Yikes, I can hardly get the first name right half the time.
    Anyway, I like your effort to record more. Right now I think it’s all so boring and it’s all in pictures and on FB anyway, but what if FB goes away? Or I can’t access the full story because my brain is full of work-related information? I wish I could plug a flash drive into my brain and do a periodic data dump.

  7. I was just thinking about you – thinking that I haven’t received any email entries in awhile. I was so happy to see you once again in the gods old inbox. I feel the need to jot things down, too. I hope you are well and celebrating your 40s – the best is yet to be. (Truly)!

  8. You have uncovered why I started posting to a blog again after a near-delete experience. (the fact you can “undelete” a blog w/in a 90 day period is testimony to how common the feeling it is time to walk away followed by relenting must be). The writing is for itself – the ability to call back up externally what I can’t quite call up internally? All bonus all the time. Good to have you back, lady!

  9. Lovely and I completely agree! You made me realize that the beauty of my blog is that I have snippets of life that I more than likely would otherwise forget.

  10. I’m right there with you lady. Also? You’re writing is beautiful so I hope you never stop (even if it’s just a personal journal you’re keeping for yourself).

  11. I’m routinely astounded by the things I discover when I go back and read old journals. I forget a lot too. I think it’s the Internet’s fault…

  12. Amazing what our brains remember actively and those that we have to think hard about. Lovely recollections that you brought forth here.

    I have, more than once, started making a dinner only to realize I don’t have all of what I need to make it, but if you ask I would swear that I had purchased the right ingredients. No idea what is up with that.

  13. I remember the first time I heard Blue, by Joni Mitchell… but sometimes I cannot remember the year I lost my first grandparent. I wonder sometimes how much is selective and how much really just does fade…


Comments are closed.