Every person has moments that are uniquely memorable. They are experiences that make you laugh, make you smile, and you think you will never forget them. To a certain degree you don’t forget, but generally the memory is tucked away, filed in the back of your brain and rarely shared with anyone again.
Writers are the exception to this because they tend to put things in writing. Journals, family letters, scrapbooks, blogs, articles and books all contain snippets of a writer’s memory. The average person often looses those memories. They may post them on a social media sight such as Facebook, but eventually the memory is lost and forgotten. This is a sad loss, because your children, grandchildren and others should be able to someday enjoy the joy in whatever happened.
I recently flipped though a notebook of newsletters I have sent to family members over the years. Flipping through that notebook I was reminded of things not forgotten, but tucked away in my brain. I encourage everyone to preserve their memories in written form for future generations to enjoy. It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary, just a simple diary or journal will serve the purpose. Years from now you can revisit those memories on your own, or your decedents can enjoy and treasure them. You may be thinking, what kind of memories do I write about? It doesn’t matter, it can be the mundane, everyday stuff or it can be a special moment in time.
When my daughter, Caroline, was about three years old she and a neighborhood girl followed the ice cream truck down the street in our subdivision. They followed it for a long enough distance that the ice cream man finally gave them each a popsicle and told them to go home. How do we know? Because my husband and the other girl’s father were talking and discovered neither of them had made the purchase. Speaking of ice cream trucks, I remember when I was a child my sister having saved up pennies and used them to pay for her ice cream. I can still remember the look on that driver’s face when my sister handed him that baggie full of pennies. Priceless!
My son, Patrick, came home one time and talked about he and a friend rigged up a “motor” to propel a boat they had down a canal. When Patrick told me about it I thought he was making it up until a woman that lived on the canal happened to be telling a story about these two boys who devised a way to propel their raft down the canal and she was quite impressed with their inventiveness.
The memories you record don’t have to be lengthy, just tidbits of life that reveal personalities, activities, and the joy of living living. Small glimpses at life, such as Patrick calling me up at work and saying “I’ve got the eggs boiling, how do I double them again?”. What he wanted was the recipe for making deviled eggs, but I could not convince him it was “deviled” because in his mind once you cut that egg in half, mixed in the ingredients and put them back together they were “doubled.” To this day he loves “doubled” eggs. Patrick also loves Fruity Pebbles cereal. I have photographs of him eating it as a before bed snack, and as he got older the bowl got larger. Why use a cereal bowl when a large Tupperware bowl that will hold half a box works just as well? Patrick is now an adult, but a stroll down a cereal isle where Fruity Pebbles are on sale makes me smile because I know if he were still living with me I would be stocking up.
My daughter, Caroline, attended almost all the formal dances in high school and we usually managed to find her formals at very good reduced prices. It was the most expensive gown we purchased that the spaghetti got dumped on. Luckily it was a dark red/maroon dress and a quick stop at home to wipe it down between dinner and dance and no one was the wiser. Then came senior prom. Caroline was going to attend with her boyfriend but they broke up. She then had someone else she was going with, but he had a death in the family and had to go out of state unexpectedly. Caroline had tons of male friends offer to escort her, but she viewed them as friends not dates, so someone set her up with a blind date for prom. The guy she got set up with did not look like her type at all, and the date flopped. They attended the dinner, but shortly after he got ticked off about something and walked out, leaving Caroline stranded at prom. Rather than get upset Caroline figured she was at her prom, knew plenty of people, and would be able to hitch a ride home when the time came, and she did. Her analysis of prom – best formal she ever attended because once the blind date walked out she didn’t have to deal with any jealous boyfriend/date issues and was able to really enjoy the evening.
We have many family vacation memories as well. Almost every vacation included playing putt-putt at least once because Patrick loved it, touring an historical home because I love them, and an amusement park. I remember watching Caroline and Patrick come off an amusement park ride that my husband and I did not want to ride. As they approached us at the same time we heard Caroline say “I’ll never ride that again” and Patrick said “that was awesome, can I go again?”. Patrick loves amusement parks. Due to a rainstorm at Disney on our last day of vacation we almost missed a plane because Patrick wanted to ride the Mine Ride one last time (he was only four years old at the time). None of us will ever forget the mad dash from rental car check-in to luggage check-in, through security, and a run down the hall towards the plane. Once Caroline and Ron had boarded the stewardess came running down the hall at Patrick and I to assist with our carry-on bags, and as we stepped onto the plane the doors slammed at my back and she said “sit anywhere”.
Life is full of memories. Cherish them. Little things, like when I sat in the back seat during Patrick’s road test for his driver’s license and the tester’s leg kept getting in the way because he wasn’t used to having someone take their road test in a stick-shift vehicle. Patrick passed the test. Caroline having to repeatedly pull forward and try over and over to back the trailer down the boat ramp for the first time. A huge line-up of boaters developed as they waited. I had walked over and offered each an every one of them the opportunity to cut in and go first, but they all waited patiently, having at one time been in that same spot themselves. When Caroline finally dropped the jet skis into the water the crowd waiting to use the ramp gave her a massive round of applause.
I could continue to write memories for a long time. Tidbits of life that are fun to remember, such as my husband and I taking our motor home to a campground for the first time and he mistakenly putting the levelers down as far as they go so it felt like we were climbing into a tree house every time we entered. Instead I am going to close by challenging each and every one of you to preserve your memories in a written format somewhere for you, your children and grandchildren to someday read and enjoy. Those memories tell important stories about your life and personalities. Don’t let them slip away.