Day #81: Sound as Memory

I very clearly remember the sounds of bowling. When I was small, my mom belonged to a weekly bowling league. She would take me along and I would sit at a restaurant table, easily in view of the lanes, watching the game, creating stories about the women who played on her team, and reading once I had learned how. The sounds of bowling are distinct. I remember them faithfully. I heard them over and over again during the bowling season for eight years.

bowling ball and pins strike!

Memory fascinates me. Another one of my goals with this Gratitude Journal is to explore memories. But they cannot be only that this happened and that happened. What is our awareness of the senses involved in our memories?

Neuroscientist Mark D. Humphries writes, “But the brain is constantly surprising us. Things that we think must be true about how neurons work often end up trashed by reality. So it is not a foregone conclusion that the hippocampus must represent all the sights, sounds, and smells of the world. And we know less about the brain than you think. No, less than that. A bit less than that too.” Episodic memory. Echoic memory. Memories of sounds. Fascinating stuff. I am specifically grateful for the memory of sounds (and acutely aware that this is a gift not shared by everyone). [“The Sound of Memory,” Mark D. Humphries, Psychology Today, 16 Sept 2017 }

Day #63: Photos and Memories

Stuff. What to do with stuff? Marie Kondo encourages us to consider what sparks joy and remove everything else from our lives. I read books about organization like my life depends on it. Maybe it does. Steve and I are doing our best to live without buying “stuff” so it makes each choice about what to get rid of difficult on many levels. Will we need it again? I have the hardest time with “I remember my grandmother using this slotted thimble when she crocheted” and “here is an unfinished quilt my grandmother started” and “these are the favors I designed for our 2000 family reunion.” The sentimental “stuff.” Our connections to history.

I am grateful for the advice to take a photo of the item in question. Hanging on to that stuff is about the memories. Looking at a photo evokes the same memories, even the smells, textures, and sounds.

child's rocking chair

A number of years ago, a cousin to whom my mother had lent my childhood rocking chair gave it back to my mom. Her kids were grown. Mom hung on to it. When we packed up her house, I couldn’t bear to part with that chair. I spent many happy hours in it reading books. But it really wanted a young person to sit in it, rocking and reading, so we gave it to a grandma who was happy to share it with her grandson. We took a photo before sending it on its way and it DOES make me happy to look at that photo now and then. Memories don’t have to take up physical space.