Our topic this week was “Memories.” All I can think of when I hear that word is the movie Fame and the audition of pathetic little Doris Fenseker, in which she earnestly eeks out…”The Way We Were.”
Such is the nature of memory. It plays tricks on us. It makes us believe we lived through something one way, when, in fact, it was another way. It gets you lost in the town you grew up in because you were positive that Locust Street connected to Sudbury when you lived there, and you’re sure of it because your best friend, Eddie, lived at that corner and that was where you broke you arm when you fell out of his tree right after your sixth birthday.
But your mother tells you that you never had a friend named Eddie, his name was Danny, and he lived on Third and Stoughton, and you broke your arm when you were eight at a baseball game because you wouldn’t stop fooling around on the bleachers.
Hmmmm…And who is right?
You shuffle through pictures, trying to find that one with you and Eddie and that cast on your arm. But the one you find likely has you, at a highly recognizable eight years old, with a cast on your arm, next to a kid that you suddenly recognize as…your old friend Danny.
I mourn the corrected memories. There are strong emotions attached to them, there are lessons we thought we learned, and the sudden, irrefutable proof that they are wrong feels like a violation to me. I hang onto them these days, and I try to not speak of things I am slightly unsure of in front of people who are likely quite sure of them, and who are quite sure to point out how faulty my memory is.
I’m keeping my emotions, and my lessons learned, and maybe one day I’ll learn how to maintain a journal so that I can look back myself and keep my embarrassing memory lapses to myself.
By the way, an awful lot of lovely things have been said this week, about the start of The Debutante Ball, and about me. I am enormously flattered and touched, but I do have to say that the surest way to make people think you’re brilliant is to surround yourself with brilliant people. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have found such amazing women, and I treasure my time with them.
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