In my life: memory

My memory allows full sequential replay for a few days back.  Go back a few weeks and the snippets are frequent but the continuity is gone. The surviving memories - images, sounds, and sometimes smells - become gradually fewer and fewer the further back I journey. 

The memory "film" of my first 5 years has faded to white, with only a few seemingly random images, sounds, smells and feelings remaining.  Perhaps they are significant. Perhaps they are merely memorable.  Nevertheless, their rarity makes these explicit memories precious... to me.

This is not to say that these snippets are reliable or unchangeable .... just that they are vibrant and evocative to me.

One memories that "feels" ancient and occurs in a freezing room is just being alone in bed, under the covers with a torch.  My  mother beleived that this memory was recorded at "The Shingles", Prey Heath Rd, Woking, England where we lived for a year or so when I was about 3 years old.  

Why is this memory so clear .... and so alone ? I cannot remember any other factor contributing to the memory.  No sense of guilt (staying up too late?  pinch the torch ?).  No-one there with me. 

Another memory presumed to be from this winter is the spectacle of milk emerging from the top of a frozen milk bottle delivered to our door.

Consid all the sights and sounds of a trip across the world in an ocean liner to London, and later, the English countryside.  I cannot remember anything of that trip other than these two images.  How frustrating.

It seems that these memories alone, by chance or unknown significant escaped the active culling of memory that is especially intense in the first 5 years of life.  I would love to be able to accurately replay an real time movie of my life.  As one grew older with this ability, past memories would accumulate until the temptation to replay the past could distract from dealing with the opresent and future. This may be one of the reasons that these memories are actively eliminated.

Leunig - Present past future


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