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Monday, September 23, 2013

Accidental Memory Revival

I thought I remembered everything.  Well, everything long-term, not short-term at any rate.  I've had a manilla envelope full of about dozen letters from my mother to my Grandma Lucas that I'd never taken the time to read. As I continue to sort out my papers though I have to face these things down.  Today I began to open them.

If you read the entry "A Broken Home and other terms that pissed off mom" you may remember a reference to the tweedy furniture that ended up in our garage post divorce.  Imagine my surprise when one of the letters I opened today contained a swatch of that black and brown houndstooth.  My memory in this instance was as good as a photo.  It is exactly how I remembered it and it was an incredibly odd sensation to hold the fabric in my hand and see it as brand new.  Unlike the long lost couch it once covered, this little piece of fabric hasn't seen light in 46 years.  I was immediately transported back to Spring Valley in a brief, unexpected bit of time travel that made me queasy.

I read on and this is where I can't believe I didn't remember.  "Jennifer has her bar for feet --Uses it at night and doesn't seem to mind."  Wow, what a thing to forget.  I needed a brace on my legs.  How did I forget that?   It  clearly didn't make a huge impression on me unlike when my elementary school friend wore leg braces in third grade.  Her mom had to make her pants to fit over them and I always walked behind with her to recess. 

I'm the kid who always folded my stick of Juicy Fruit over my front teeth to simulate orthodonture that I would never really need.  You'd think corrective bars on my feet would have made a dent in my psyche good or bad. However, if I hadn't read the letter I would never have remembered them for the rest of my life.  I am certain.

I called Diana.  She remembered them because she was jealous of them.  Kids are hilarious.  But the most curious thing about these letters is why they may have been kept.  Why just this year and just one letter from 1960 about my brother as a baby?  Was it just the years of most change?  The family was started in 1960 and it was complete in '67 and it was divided in 1970.  I will continue to read and see what else I've forgotten, or never knew.  It's funny how one little line in a letter written so long ago changes the memories as I have had them ordered for so long.