Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I Remember and What I Don’t

I can remember my childhood telephone number: 207-794-8247
But I can’t remember the current cell phone number for either of my children.

I do remember where I was when the planes crashed on 9/11 and when I heard about the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.
However, I don’t remember President Kennedy being shot seven weeks after I was born.

I remember a lot of things from my college graduation ceremony.
But I don’t remember finding out that I was accepted into college.

I can’t shake the image of Billy Buckner letting a routine ground ball go between his legs in what should have been the final out of the 1986 World Series, or whose house I watched it at in Cleveland, Ohio, or the premature, tear jerking victory speech I made just before it happened.
Yet I don’t have an image in my mind of my daughter taking her first steps.

I do remember every room in all six houses that we’ve ever owned.
I just can’t remember where we keep the broom in this house.

I remember turning fifty. It was a blast.
I don’t remember turning twenty-one. I assume I got very drunk.

I vividly recall the births of both of my children.
But I can’t remember finding out Kim was pregnant, either time.

I have at least partial memories of when my brother became temporarily blind (I was two and a half years old) and when my father told me about my mother’s accident (five years, eleven months old).
But I can’t remember a joke, not a single joke. And I can’t remember the name of that guy, you know, that guy with the thing…

I remember being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
But I cannot remember the last time I walked. I haven’t forgotten what it feels like, though, because I still walk in my dreams.

What can you remember? What can’t you?


  1. I remember my first drink of alcohol, and my last. I don't remember when I started walking with a cane, but I do remember trying to play family football on Thanksgiving day 2011, failing miserably, and my family thought I was just horsing around. I remember sunsets on Lake Michigan, my first girlfriend, and my last motorcycle. I remember my friend saying "One day at a time" in response to my asking him, "what the hell do I do now?"


  2. [Un]fortunately, I remember e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!! The memories go back to when I was two! I don't have one of those minds that remembers dates and all that took place, but I do remember events that happened to me and my family. My former classmates from high school still contact me to remind them of certain happenings. A good thing? Maybe, but keep in mind that several memories aren't happy ones!

  3. JE, thanks for sharing some of your memories and your non-memories. I also remember my first drink of alcohol, but I haven't had my last, although the flow has diminished to a trickle.

    Muffie, I've often wondered whether such a strong memory would be a good thing or a bad thing. I think it's a gift!

  4. I used to have a "freakish" memory and everyone would laughingly say I would be their "call a friend" if they ever got on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". Now when people will ask for details of some shared event, or I'm asked a trivia question, more often than not, I know that the answer used to be readily available to me in my memory stores, but at that moment, I'm at a loss. I used to be able to run effortlessly, but I now can't remember the last time that happened. I guess its not all gloom and doom - I remember the day I met my husband, details of my nieces and nephews being born - other happy memories and some extremely sad ones as well.

  5. lovespups, it's too bad that the good memories don't have more staying power than the bad!

  6. Your memory list made me close my eyes and walk through every childhood home. They went from 2 story to 1 story to 1 story with laundry room next to kitchen. Mom was dx'd with Parkinson's when she was 50. She suffered in silence as the Bastard took hold of her physical self. I wish I had sat with her more but I was wallowing in my selfish youth. Guilt trip time travel!
    I, too, crossed the 50 yr threshold. There's still time to make memories albeit with accommodations. Thank The Lord for ADA. It's a compassionate world that let's us misfits continue to play!

  7. I am so pleased to find your blog, as I sometimes feel like a disabled person lost in a sea of able bodied people. I have been wheelchair bound for nine years due to MD, and I just now stopped dreaming of myself as walking. It's given me a certain peace and acceptance of who I am vs who I am not , if that makes sense.

  8. Amy, "lost in a sea of able-bodied people" is so sadly poetic! Yes, your peace and acceptance definitely makes sense. I'm not sure I will miss the day when I stop dreaming of walking either.

  9. anonymous, it's difficult for children to empathize with their sick or disabled parents. I know I should have been there more for my mother, who was a quadriplegic. but you are right, with a few exceptions we do live in a compassionate world!

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