Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Ok so I should probably give this memory thing a rest but Lizza mentioned in her comment yesterday about how things that were very important can suddenly be triggered by something in our life and we wonder how we could have ever forgotten. Just yesterday that happened to me twice.

The first was while reading that cursed memory book on the train. Schacter wrote about how we can hear about events in other people’s childhoods that trigger recollections in ours, for example pushing the paring brake and the car rolling. I froze. That had happened to me. I was terrified at the time. My younger sister and I were in the car and Mom had to run into the house to get something quickly. I remember Shoshana was in her car seat (although I could be wrong about that one) and I had short hair, which would make me about five. I climbed into the front seat of our Lynx and started steering. Somehow I tripped the parking brake. The parking spot at our condo was on a slight incline but to me it was enormous. The pavement leveled at the alley and then there was another parking space and a drop to a yard below. The drop seemed huge. I have no idea how big it really was maybe 15 ft? As the car started to roll I though we would gain speed as we were going down the “hill” and then roll over the edge and down the “cliff”. I knew I had to save my sister. She was far too young to die and she was my responsibility. I turned the wheel of the car and it ended up in the alley parallel to the drop, we were safe. I was still very shaken. Mom wasn’t happy. In my mind this event took a long time, in reality it couldn’t have been more than one minute. I was shocked that I had forgotten an event that had scared me so much.

Last night Tony and I were talking about “big kids” and how, when we were young, they seemed so grown up and so out of reach. I went to a K-8 school so there were plenty of big kids around and they seemed like grown-ups. Even if they had missed a grade or two, the biggest of them couldn’t have been older than 15. While in kindergarten I don’t think I came in contact with the “big kids” too often. We were relatively isolated. By 1st grade, however, I saw them much more often. I suddenly remembered that my friend Claire and I were mugged by “big kids while walking home from school. She was younger than me so I was probably in second grade when it happened. We only lived about three blocks from school so it wasn’t a far walk at all. As we were walking two “big kids” came up to us and had a switchblade and told us to give them all out money. I had no money and told them so over and over. Claire also told them that she had no money. They made us turn out our pockets and were extremely scary. After what seemed like forever, but was most likely not even a full minute, they let us go. After we were a little way away Claire turned to me and said, “I have a dollar”. I was so pissed. I couldn’t believe that she wouldn’t have given these mean kids her stupid dollar because who cared that much about a dollar anyway. We could have been killed, although I doubt that would have happened. I went home and told my mom and she called the cops and they took us back to the playground to find the muggers. I can’t remember if we found them or not, I guess that wasn’t as important to remember as the fear. What I did remember, however, was that I rode in the back of the police car to look for them. Just a few weeks ago someone (or maybe a myspace survey) had asked if I had ever been in the back of a cop car and I said no. Obviously, the retrieval clue for the experience had nothing to do with the cps, they were a second thought. It was all about the “big kids”.

It just goes to show that you really need the right retrieval clue to access some of your memories. It makes you wonder how much is stored in your brain that, depending on what you encounter, will surface and show you more about your past. If we had all the right clues would it be possible to remember everything? Probably not, things had to have a strong impact to be stored for that long or at least I would think. Both of the above memories had a strong emotional component to them and that is what made them memorable. Even so, I am sure there are things locked inside that I may never get out. That makes me a little sad.

Ok I promise I’ll get off the whole memory trip, at least for a while. It’s somewhat depressing and that isn’t cool for too many days in a row. All five songs were guessed yesterday and they weren’t even super easy. Good job people. Here are five new ones.

1. Everyone’s feeling pretty/ It’s hotter than July/ Though the world’s full of problems/ They couldn’t touch us even if they tried. Master Blaster (Jammin'), Stevi Wonder. Identified by My Parents. (on a side note I used to LOVE this song and ask for Ja-men all the time)

2. It’s raining/ It’s raining/ There’s nothing you can do/ It doesn’t only rain on you/ But you’re acting all upset/ like you’re the only one that’s wet.

3. Darling I/ I can’t explain/ Where did we lose our way/ Girl it’s driving me insane.

4. Just the thought/ Of our bed/ Makes me crumble like the plaster when you punched the wall beside my head. Out Of Range, Ani DiFranco. Identified by Brooke.

5. Ain’t it just like the night/ To play/ Tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet. Visions of Johanna, Bob Dylan. Identified by Jaclyn


Jaclyn said...

Number 5 is my ALL-TIME favorite Bob Dylan song "Visions of Johanna", which I named my Monte Carlo after while I was working with the union. Her name was Louise, the other girl in the song.

God I love that song. Thanks Nat!

taureandevi said...

Man, Number 3 sounds so familiar but I am lost.
I wouldn't want to remember everything I have experienced. I have weird snapshots though. Like I remember my father poking me in the eye and an eyeball falling to the floor. It was of course a joke but I at four was devastated. And of course mistaking my sister's green tights clad legs for a snake.

Brooke said...

4. Out of Range - Ani. Man, talk about memories! That song is so very freshman year to me.

BTW - my recollection of that much discussed Tori concert is that you, me, Roxanne and Valdez were there. And it got freezing so we left before Alanis Morisette played. Does that correspond with your memory?

notfearingchange said...

memories are very strong at times eh?

Mom said...

#1: Master Blaster (Jammin') by Stevie Wonder -- actually, Dad got it before I did, but only because he read your blog earlier in the day. So, I'm kind of posting this "by proxy".

Have enjoyed the memory posts. (BTW, I don't actually recall the incident with you and the rolling car. And isn't it amazing how responsible older sisters feel?)

Lizza said...

Those memories of yours were kind of traumatic, maybe that's why your brain hides them. And I agree, the thought of all the memories that might be hidden inside, possibly never to see the light of day, is sad.

Nice dream you had, though. Having a facial sounds good. :-)

Blondie said...

Memories are so crazy. I just had a memory of sliding off the road in my car because of YOUR memory of rolling in a car. Interesting...

Natalie said...

Jaclyn- You had a car other than Thurman? Did they love each other?

Danielle- It's a real well known one that people will slap their heads after I reveal it.

Brooke- I think you are completely correct in your memory. I forgot Alanis was there. We really didn't care too much about her.

Not Fearing- They sure are. They just come up and bite you in the ass.

Mom- It could very well be that the car only rolled a tiny way and my mind made it a much bigger deal. Or not. Big sisters are very responsible.

Lizza- Maybe but it seems that some of the most traumatic are also the most vivid. It is interesting what the brain tries to repress and what it doesn't. I haven't ever had a facial but my forehead has been dry. Maybe that's why I dreamt of it.

Blondie- And I just had a memory of sliding off the road in a friend’s car because of your memory of sliding off a road. It never ends.