(from an e-mail today to a friend)
I find you have to keep putting things back into the mind daily. Reading and rereading is very important. I’m glad I was a film classifier for three years and I still point out details in commercials to K that she misses. I often share memory things with old schoolmates; last week the big blizzard in Wpg on Mar. 4, 1966, that kept us out of class for 3 days.
Having a spouse at this point is like 1 brain with 2 people recalling at times. I can still hear and identify about 90% of retro pop piped into restaurants. Songs, titles, where I first heard them, contexts. Relating this info to old school chums causes them to recall, too, which enlarges the memory field.
I still use yellow stickies for daily reminders and chores to do. Then see how many of these I can remember on my own. Staying organized is a key part of the memory process.
And I can still, on the spot, spontaneously conjure up memories from various past moments like seeing Elvis on Ed Sullivan or RFK being shot in the Chicago hotel. I believe a lot of this visual inner recall comes from the no. of tv and movie hrs. logged.
I can also ‘roll thru’ entire relationships and teen years.
Memory and accumulated memories are largely who we are and have been. This is a nonstop process of past and present experience held together by memory.
There is also a lot to remember and I believe our overloaded minds dump a lot of the trivial and unpleasant.
When I watched Skyfall, I was revisiting the Bond movie experiences, comparing and contrasting, but letting myself feel the movie, too. One thing I’m conscious of is the lost first excitement stuff and so I go back quite often to how it felt to read Frost’s or Keats’ classics for the first time. These are touchstone kinds of experiences for me though nothing beats live in person with old friends, as I did last summer in Wpg. Feelings do come back under those circumstances. Magical time machine stuff. Do I still have a 6, 15, 21, 38,57 sensibility? Yup, regardless of changing physical exterior.
Hence, the shame and tragedy of Alzheimer’s and dementia when people lose that core consciousness.
I recognized the fact of Time early on, and after I retired, memory, which had also been important from 17 on in a real way, became core and much of what I dealt with and still maintain in various ways.
Today, some musings about Canada, it’s history and geography–favorite places for sure.