Memories Mis-Remembered

As we approach the Memorial Day Weekend, I started to think about the power of memory.

Well, the first memory I had as I began typing was that Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day. It started to remember the soldiers who gave their lives in the Civil War. But then it was changed to Memorial Day to honor the soldiers of all our wars.

Memorial Day was traditionally held on May 30th every year but then LBJ changed it in 1968 along with a number of federal holidays to Monday. And so Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Getting back to memories.

One of the nice thing about memories is that we tend to remember the nice ones more vividly as we push the negative happenings down into our subconscious.

I really excel at that.

I can see things form fifty and sixty years ago in vivid Technicolor in High Definition. I delight in reviewing all of them and probably torture you with them more than you need. Of course not all my memories are totally true to life. Heartbreak and failure have been eliminated as have some of my more shameful endeavours.

I don’t necessarily misstate my memories but I just don’t remember the bad stuff in Technicolor of Hi Def. It’s more like they are on a staticky 78 rpm record with sixty years of scratches and dirt obscuring these recollections from my psyche…Thank God for that.

That is not to say that all my vivid memories are accurate. 

There have been a few of my recollections in which I had such certainty only to learn that I was absolutely wrong. It wasn’t anything of real significance or life altering in the slightest but it was still unnerving to realize that I was wrong.

Realizing that I was wrong is always shocking, almost as shocking as when I admit it.

Nevertheless, the point is, regardless of their clarity sometimes we are deceived by our own memories.

Even more reason to discard the bad ones.

One of the aids upon which I most often rely to recall and review my memories is music. I used music always when I was writing A Bronx Boy’s Tale. From the Four Season in the summer and early fall of 1963 to the Beatles taking hold of us in late ’63 and from then on, music jogged my memories and it still does today.

In fact, I have been listening to Bob Dylan as he celebrated his eightieth birthday yesterday. My next blog, probably Saturday, will be my Top Ten Bob Dylan Songs.

Maybe some of them will jog your memory?

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