Challenging Memories

I’m fascinated by memory, particularly what triggers certain memories, and the odd or random things we can conjure up from certain dates or events while other details seem to have been lost to time.

25 years ago I was sitting in 2nd period art class, probably working on a pear still life or something, when a girl came into the classroom and said the space shuttle had exploded. We had to ask her several times what she was talking about because such news seemed so difficult to comprehend. It wasn’t until later, when I watched the footage on TV, that I really understood what had happened.

I can’t tell you what transpired the rest of the school day. The memories are gone. But what I do recall from that day is that my mom took my brother, sister, and I to McDonald’s for dinner. It stands out because it was rare that we ever went into the restaurant to eat. If we did go, we’d typically hit the drive-through. My dad must have had bowling or a board meeting or something that night. I think the 5:30 national news was on there, and I remember my mom talking to us about what had happened.

Another tragic anniversary is around the corner. September 11, 2001 started off as a regular work day for me, a gorgeous early fall day with a cloudless blue sky and brilliant sunshine. For years I could recall nearly every bit of that day, even now I do, though I’m sure I’ve let go of some of it. I’ve meant to just sit down and write it all down, whatever I could remember, but never have. I want my kids to know not just the history and timeline of that day, but the feeling of it. I will get it down in writing this year. Some memories should never be allowed to slip the surly bonds of your mind.

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