Saturday, November 24, 2007

Forgotten Memories ... Really ... ??

Several of you have asked me how I seem to remember so much detail about my childhood. Really I do not know. I just do it. I was there when my memories occurred so I just remember. Certainly you do the same thing.

I have forgotten a lot of things that happened in my life. One day, I tried to make a list of forgotten memories. Did you know you can’t do that? You cannot make a list of forgotten detail. Oh, something may flash to mind that you had forgotten, but then it can’t go on the “forgotten” list because it is no longer forgotten. So put it on your “memory” list before you forget it again.

Here are some tips on how to pull up memories into the conscious portion of your brain. I am not aware of the scientific or medical terms so I’ll just explain it in terms I do understand.

Sometimes it helps not to try too hard when remembering things. Just let the memories flow. If you think too hard about it, the memories may go away. In other words, you should not force a memory. Just let it happen. Have you ever said to yourself, “His/her name is on the tip of my tongue but I just can’t recall ...” Well the name is not on the tip of your tongue … rather it is on the tip of your consciousness. And if you try to think, that name will further elude you. Just relax and think about that person’s facial features. Sometimes, you can incidentally recall the name by remembering your experiences with that person. If you try going through the alphabet attempting to remember a name, do not go A to Z. Rather go Z to A. This may help your mind to shift gears thus allowing memory to get off of dead center.

On occasion, I set up a projection screen in my mind and then call for my childhood. When the memories start up I sit back and watch the movie. There are times when my memories are in color. But most of the time they are black and white and green. I can understand the black and white but not the green. Weird, huh?

I remember being in a department store in 1938 when I was three years old. I looked out of the front window. Every few minutes a green streetcar passed. I do not know if I was in Port Arthur or Beaumont. All I recall is that those streetcars were the most fascinating things I had ever seen. You see, they did not have a steering wheel and I wondered how they managed to go straight down the middle of the road.

Then there was the king snake that stayed in our chicken house at Beauxart Gardens. He was black with yellow lines decorating his slithery body. I remember watching him crawl around. I wondered how he walked because he did not have any feet. My mother was nervous about my liking the king snake because she feared I might like all snakes and try to make pals with the wrong one.

Sometimes you can run a “search engine” in your mind. Think of a subject, lock it in then hit “search” just like you would on a computer. Your consciousness will run around inside of your head checking all the files it can find. If anything is found, you will become aware of that memory.

One of these days I plan to read up about memory and see what the experts know about it. In fact I’m going to do that next week.

If I don’t forget.

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


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