A quick stroll down memory lane; that sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? But that is what I am attempting to do. And taking a stroll down memory lane, whether that leisurely trip the word ‘stroll’ actually implies, or one where it is a bit hastened for lack of time, is always worth it (at least for me).
When the memories are built around loved ones (whether happy or sad), they are capable of providing a retreat from the chaos of the current moment. And those unpleasant memories that refuse to leave you, they can be teaching moments, if you so choose.
“Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind. Memories, sweetened through the ages just like wine.” — Elvis Presley
About Memory Itself
What is Memory?
“Memory is the ability to take in information, encode it, store it, and retrieve it at a later time.” (from LumenLearning’s Introduction to Memory, and I also saw similar definitions in many elsewheres). But of course, memory is so much more than this definition which sounds like it could be applied to a computer.
If you ask me, memory is often what we wish we had more of (like when I walk into a room full of intent to do – what was it?!, and don’t remind me of those keys I keep looking for), and sometimes what we wish we had just a little less of – for those things we wish we could forget (like having perfect recall for that last time I forgot where I put my keys, and of course jokes aside, some of those unpleasant ones we would rather forget). But seriously, why can’t we forget that we are forgetful? Because isn’t ignorance bliss!!!
Some More About Memory
Anyways, as I explored more about memory, I found this interesting series of articles on PsychologyToday titled Making Memories. You can check them out when you have the time (don’t forget!). Doing a search for the keyword “memory” on VeryWellMind also returned very interesting reads for me. (Just fyis for you from me..)
According to this article on PsychologyToday, there are two types of memory: procedural (how we remember to do things, and the feelings associated with those actions/things) and declarative (the conscious recall of things, like today’s breakfast). The article goes on to describe more about this and other interesting facts, and says in essence, that our memories make us who we are. So true…
And then I read this other interesting SmithsonianMag article which rang completely true for me. How many of you recall seeing footage of the first plane hitting the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001? As stated in this article, footage of this first aired only the next day. But I have this distinct memory of watching the events unfold on the 11th! Though this kind of memory issues can be put to good use, states this article, by talking about how it can help those suffering from PTSD.
And Now, The Stroll Down Memory Lane
One easy way for me to take a stroll down memory lane is by revisiting these posts I wrote a few years ago; an A to Z of Favorite Childhood Memories, be it games or books or food or movies or just random somethings – with one additional twist – these are memories I would like to build in the future as well – with my kids, if possible!
This series was like one of those posts people share via social media. You’ll love this if you are kid of the 70s (or 80s or 90s and so on). Those posts include pictures of old familiars and instantly bring a wave of nostalgia to its audience. Like this one here or here or this one here or ….
While you can click on the link for each letter below, I talk about a couple of them below. And memories are certainly a topic I have mentioned often in my blog; I have linked those below as well
- Simply Sunday – The Magic of Memories (where I talk about one of my earliest memories, at age three)
- Treasure Trove Thursday – The Treasure That is Memories (again, another look into that earliest memory; and some ideas on how to make memories with my dd)
For the letter A, I talk about the popular Indian game of song-building called Antakshari. The word literally means the last letter (antya meaning the end/last; akshar meaning letter), is(was) a popular parlor game (also a road trip/picnic/anywhere game!) in India. Players take turns singing songs – each person sings a song starting with the ending letter of the previous song. Of course, we can modify the rules a bit; there are no hard and fast rules to fun after all! I have heard of many groups playing this in today’s socially distanced world over Zoom meetings regularly. And I hope to as well!
H brought me memories of the game called Housie or Tambola; also known as Bingo in many places, including in the US. What I loved most about it were: a) the different ways to win playing this game; and b) those totally hilarious housie calls.
But another favorite memory for this letter is the coveted Hero fountain pen. I still recall when I got my first Hero pen – the classic black and gold combination; and was thrilled to also get a bottle of the royal blue Bril ink along with it!
The letter O stumped me for a while until I recalled my dad singing a song for us titled One and a Two, and I Love You. I sadly don’t have his song book anymore (he wrote lyrics to his favorite songs – and there were so many – in it, and there were Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, and English songs among others). But I can still see, in my mind’s eye, the page he wrote these words on clearly….
I managed something for this usually difficult letter!! X was for Xanadu. If you read Mandrake the Magician comics, you will know I am referring to his high-tech mansion here. Of course, there is Kublai Khan’s Xanadu too but I did not know about that then… Mandrake and other Indrajal Comics heroes took me cool worlds!!
And the Rest
As for books and shows and movies, there are so many related to memory and its quirks. Tons of them portraying amnesia or other memory loss issues; from the very true and unfortunate facts of life to the absurd and totally hilarious.
For example, we recently watched an episode titled Services Rendered of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. A young man suffers memory loss after a bump to the head from a falling wooden beam (cliched, I know); he then visits a doctor simply because he finds a note in his pocket with the doctor’s name and address on it. The doctor has no idea who this stranger is but is kind to him. What happens next is what Hitchcock’s show is all about!!
There is lots more to list but I will stick with a few books for now.
Books You Might Enjoy
I have read some of these years ago but recall enjoying them; and others are on my TBR (for a while now). A couple others are books family and friends recommended to me and I am yet to read.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: Another read in my TBR that is sure to be a fascinating read for me.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (the series). I read one of the books, but watched all the movies in this series.
I Before E (Except After C) for Kids: Cool Ways to Remember Stuff: A book with memory aids for kids (and adults)
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro : A book that I added long ago to my tbr, and yet to read. Not sure why I have not gotten to it yet though.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox: A sweet delightful read indeed.
I found these articles to be great reads as well (on the subject of memory, of course)
- What Novels Can Tell Us About Memory (HuffPost)
- Why Forgetting May Make Your Mind More Efficient (Knowable Magazine)
- The forgotten part of memory (Nature.com)
- Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read … and the movies and TV shows we watch (The Atlantic)
- The great forgetting (aeon.co – about our earliest memories)
- Total recall: the people who never forget (The Atlantic)
- A Pioneering Scientist on Memory, the Value of Our Unremembered Work, and the Incalculable Sum Total of the Human Experience (One of my favorite places on the web – BrainPickings.org)
- How Human Memory Works (HowStuffWorks)
- There’s an art to happy memories — you can make more by experiencing more “first”s (Ted.com)