Let me start by saying I rarely watch TV anymore. I remember the first black and white we had–probably not my parents’ first one, but the first one I remember. It was a floor model, on four legs, and there was a circular plastic hard film through which you could see what station the TV was on. I couldn’t leave it alone. It was just so much fun to poke, until I broke it and my mum got mad at me.
We got our first colour TV in the 70s. It was amazeballs. You couldn’t tear me away from it.
But one of the things most etched into my mind from back then was cuddling up to my dad on the chesterfield while we watched either “Bewitched” or “M*A*S*H.” We both loved “M*A*S*H”–never missed an episode. All I can really remember about “Bewitched” as it relates to my dad is saying “Soool Saks!” every time we saw the screenwriter’s name in the credits. No idea why we did it. I’ve never been able to forget good ol’ Sol Saks. Even though I had no idea what he looked like until I Googled him five minutes ago.
I cuddled up with my dad on the couch right up until the week he died. Ah, but we laughed a lot. That’s the most important memory of all.
Mementos come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they?
In fact, some of them don’t come in physical form at all. Some are memories, whether shared or intensely personal. Some are music …
I am so insanely happy that Bohemian Rhapsody won at the Golden Globes last night. From the 70s when I first heard the song on the radio, to buying the album (which I still have, so I suppose I do have a memento) and listening to it in my parents’ basement over and over again, all the way to Wayne’s World and the new era of the song, it’s been part of my life almost since my age hit double digits.
I had the immense pleasure of singing “Love of My Life” not once, but twice, to Brian May’s accompaniment at concerts, and though I never saw Freddie, he was there in spirit, I’m sure.
My true mementos are my memories of this. And I’m so glad that the world hasn’t forgotten either.
The movie is amazing, even though they took a few liberties with the timelines for artistic purposes. That Brian and Roger have approved it is good enough for me. If you haven’t seen it, do. If you can, see it at the theatre. It’s well worth the money.
Rami Malek’s acceptance speech last night brought a tear to my eye. Watch it here.
I don’t remember if it was in response to a comment or just his general opinion, but I once wrote a letter to the husband of a friend, explaining why I had tattoos. This was years ago now, so I also can’t recall what, exactly, was in the letter, but apparently the writing of it made an indelible impression on me.
I can, however, tell you what made me get my tattoos. My first was a rose on my ankle, which reminded me of my father. Roses were his favourite flower. The dragon on my chest is close to an image I was obsessed with as a young teen. I drew it everywhere. My butterfly on the back of my neck was for the emergence of my life as a mother. I’ve had two more since I wrote the letter, but those three are the ones I have the most connection with. The memories that required me to have an indelible mark placed upon me, so that I’d never forget.
Strangely, I find my tattoos comforting. They are a guarantee that as long as I can still see, I’ll know that I had a life worth writing the story of on my skin.
Turns out it was first coined by Richard Dawkins in his book, “The Selfish Gene” in 1976, but he shortened it from the Ancient Greek word, mimeme, meaning “imitated thing.” (Wikipedia link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#Fathering_the_meme ) HA! I can now say to my son. Though if I’m too old to say the word, how old does that make me? Still feeling a little weird about that.
Getting older is weird though. We have memories which give us the wisdom not to repeat our mistakes (with any luck) and yet our memory, or our capacity to remember, decreases with the shrinking of our brains. As much as I don’t like this, it’s inevitable. I either accept it or I fight it – fighting it takes so much more energy.
Having said that, I can fight it to some extent by continuing to learn and challenge myself. I wonder, often, if people who refuse to change their mindsets, form new opinions, or think they already know everything worth knowing lose their memories faster. I had an aunt who was very set in her ways. When she made a decision, she stuck with it no matter what. It might have been that she just hated making decisions so she got them over and done with as quickly as possible. But her decisions also were very predictable, because she never changed her preferences. She was stuck in a certain time, probably her childhood or early adulthood. I’m not sure I was born when she stopped trying new things. I always knew her as completely focused on the way things should be.
And, of course, the memories she shared never changed. The stories we all hear from our older family members are inevitably told as though they’ve never been told before. The polite thing to do is sound surprised, no matter how many times we’ve heard them. I wonder if people who are closed-minded have a narrower memory. Something my ever-learning mind will likely look into one day.
Now that I’ve veered totally off-course from my original intent for this post, I’ll have to go back and change the title. Coming up with titles for posts is hard, isn’t it?
I think about all the things I used to do effortlessly when I was younger and I wonder that I can’t anymore. I know you young ‘uns out there are saying, “We don’t want to hear about all your aches and pains, ya old coot!” I know. I remember thinking it myself. I also thought I’d never get to this stage. But here I am.
Gone are the days when I didn’t have to struggle to get up off a hardwood floor after sitting on it for ten minutes. Gone is the ability to sleep through the night without waking up with a sore hip; the ability to read things on the tv without glasses, and the ability to do the splits…
There’s a message in some of this for you kids out there. The message is, don’t stop. If you can do the splits now, or touch your toes without bending your knees, or run half a mile, or multiply large numbers in your head, keep it up! It’s when we stop because we no longer need to do it that we lose it. Age has little to do with some of the things I find difficult.
But you know what? It’s not all that bad. There are things I CAN do now that I couldn’t do before. Like write a story or a blog post, or even a novel and put it out there for the world to see without caring what anyone thinks. Or like effortlessly sing all the low notes that used to hurt my throat to even try. Hell, I can even sing in front of people now. It used to be that I wouldn’t sing in a house when I was on my own, unless I was singing to something playing on the stereo.
It’s not all bad, getting older. Then again. I’m not THAT old.
This “Effortless” prompt is brought to you by Dan Antion at No Facilities. If you don’t already follow him, please check out his blog!
To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today. It’s never too late! And don’t forget to ping back your January 11th post here!
Yes, my prompt for today is “Dachshund.” It’s the most challenging prompt so far – it may just end up being THE most challenging prompt for me. Thanks, Bee. 😉
I’ve lived with a few different breeds of dog in my life – my first dog was a black lab. We had him for only half a year because my parents kept saying he was “too big for the house.” As a five year old I could never figure out what that meant. The dog was much smaller than the house.
So the next time we got a dog it was a black miniature poodle. We named her Cindy. Cindy had seven pups – I wanted to keep them all but my parents would only let me keep one. Perhaps seven (or eight with Cindy) was equal to the size of the lab and would be “too big for the house.” Who knows?
My mom still had Cindy and the pup (her name was Gigi, because what else do you call a poodle?) when I moved out. I got married to my first husband and the first thing we did when we moved in together was bought George from the pound. Guess what kind of dog George was? Yes, a Saint Bernard. He was a fantastic dog. So well trained, he even knew sign language – we could make him lay down past shouting distance. Strangely enough, I never thought he was “too big for the house.”
George was the last dog I owned until I got Winston, just two weeks ago. He’s a beagle mix – the vet thinks he may have some basset hound in him. He’ll be ten weeks old tomorrow; even though he’s just a puppy he has quite the character already. The cats think he’s “too big for the house,” but we humans think he’s just right.
So what does this all have to do with Dachshunds? Only that I’ve never owned one.
There are certain things that will always be frozen in time. Moments we remember, though they may change for the better or worse in our minds, that remain static. Like the birth of a child; finding it impossible to forget the joy but the pain of childbirth becomes distant, as something we women dissociate from, transforming it into a story to be related many times as a comparison to every other kind of pain. Or like the size of a place we frequented as a child – our elementary school gymnasium, or a traveling fair’s ride that seemed massive until we revisit it as an adult.
In the interest of keeping things real, I’ve always found journals to be most helpful. As I go through this blog in the next few days and weeks for the purpose of writing a post on my 2015 year in review I’m sure I’ll find that my frozen shoulder was much worse than I remember, and that my summer was unbearably hot (it’s hard not to want such a thing when you’re freezing to death in January, no matter how miserably humid it was).
I’m trying to think of a moment in my past other than the two examples above that might not have been as big or wonderful, or as unhappy or painful as I remember it, but of course, in my mind it’s all exactly as I now imagine it was.
Have you ever heard a song on the radio that you haven’t heard in years, but that you once knew so well you could sing in your sleep? It’s fascinating to me the process in which a song like that comes back to me, note by note, lyric by lyric. I find myself singing along and remembering AS I SING. Whenever that happens, I can’t help but smile to myself at the sensation of knowing as I go.
The songs I remember from my childhood are the ones my parents listened to. I, at the time, was too young to discover anything for myself. This was before I had even been to a Disney movie, and it was long before home videos.
My mother and her best friend used to listen to Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck (who I’ve actually seen in concert as an adult and discovered he has an absolutely amazing voice, much to my surprise), and my dad listened to Chet Atkins. He loved the guitar.
What are your earliest memories of music? Are they memories of your own favorites, or someone else’s?