Memory…. is the diary we all carry about with us – Oscar Wilde

What a wonderful statement and so, so true. We tend to carry on living our lives and enjoying different experiences and often sharing them on our blog page or in personal journals to look back at in the future. I for one never stopped for one moment to think of my memory as the most wonderful diary of all. The best thing about that diary is that it is so totally limitless. There are no boundaries tied up in words and even the most creative writer can never conjure up the best images that are triggered by the other senses – touch, smell, taste or sound. There are no words to describe or produce images that you would get on experiencing a certain smell, for instance.

I remember years ago when my children were small, we lived on top of the West Hill in Hastings. Every day I trundled them all, including baby in the pram, down and up this hill that cars struggled to get to the top of, those living in Hastings will know Mt Pleasant Hill very well. Anyway, right at the top just before we rounded the corner to home, there was a bakery and a few doors up a wool shop. As a very ‘crafty’ sort of person, I was always in the wool shop buying wool, patterns and the like and after reading the above quote, which did trigger off loads of memories, I realised why it was my favourite shop.

As a child I lived a lot with my grandparents in their tiny cottage. two up and two down with a tiny kitchen out the back no hot running water , no bathroom and an outside loo with a solid wooden seat that always smelled of jeyes fluid. We bathed once a week in front of the living room fire in a tin bath filled with water heated in the copper and transported by my grandfather in a tin bucket…but that wasn’t only memory it triggered. It was the smell. The kitchen always smelled of homebaking and Lux soap. So what does this have to do with the quote and the reference to the wool shop? I hear you ask. Walking into that wool shop was like walking into my grandmother’s kitchen. The smell transported me back immediately to that time and place. I mentioned the smell to the lady in there once and she couldn’t smell it but smiled sweetly at me and nodded as if I were mad. I guess the smell from the bakery must have permeated the wool shop, the soapy smell was maybe co-incidence, but to me it was just heaven. A moment’s escape from a very busy world.

As I wrote about my Grandparent’s house a million memories came flooding back to me, more and more with each one I remembered. a mountain of tumbling thoughts and words, feelings, smells, sounds, words, experiences that I have never written down. Each one bringing its own feelings to add to an experience from a lifetime ago and it is just wonderful. I do write many of life experiences down, notes, thoughts, images and memories so that I don’t ever forget the wonderful times I have known. However, that statement brought back to me more memories than I would ever be able to transcribe to page and I have a whole new concept on life.

Life is a series of experiences, good and bad, happy and sad but there are none that we haven’t learned anything from. Our ego, our consciousness tells us we should be sad or angry about things that happened to us, sometimes it brings happy times up and then tells us to regret that we no longer have those times. For me, each person that has passed through my life, those who were there for a short while, or even longer – what is the reference ? a reason, a season or a lifetime? Some were with me for a moment, for the reason they needed to be to play their part in my experience, some saved my life, offered words of kindness yet others were cruel and left me with painful memories before they faded out of my world. Others stayed for a season or two and held my hand through difficult times, supported or encouraged me before moving on and yet others have remained with me, even if it is from a distance, from the moment we first met. I now know that each and every one was as important as the rest and as important to me and my life experience as each moment that passed. And that if I stand back and reflect, my own personal memory diary is always open to be remembered. The difference is, as I have got older, I am able to see the wider picture and now understand the whole reason for needing to record everything… I simply forgot about my wonderful memory..

I know that doesn’t make much sense but I know that one day my memories will be lost just as the memories I had with my grandparents mean nothing to my children. But in recording them in the only way I can – in words on paper – or on digital memory systems these days, I feel I try to keep the memories of past generations alive for those future generations that will never have known them. My experiences might help them to make sense of a strange and sometimes cruel world. I hope it will be useful to them and maybe a little more than just a snapshot of a time past for when my own personal diary has closed.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    nenskei said,

    But what if we have Alzheimer? What if we accidentally got amnesia? How about memory lose?
    Oh well, start a new memory I guess.
    I remember the movie.. ‘The Notebook’ , have you seen it? Good story, isn’t it?
    Writing our memories into journal will always help us to remind that somehow, sometime, we had once enjoy the life we have.
    Tho, here’s mine… just a thought of mine.. a memory is good to keep in.. best moments are feel better to reminisce but somehow, why we skip bad memo at all?
    in my side, I keep remembering painful thoughts that I encounter.. I had once a conversation with my sissy and I told her about something bad experience we had and she told me, ‘stop talking about that, I don’t want to go back there’ ..
    For me, why not? Remembering those hard times makes us motivate more. Right!

    • 2

      wordangell said,

      There are a lot of ifs and buts in life and it is sad that we can lose our memories as we get older which is why I have reams and reams of precious stuff I have written since I was a child to remind me. Not seen the movie Notebook, I will see if I can find it, sounds interesting. I think you are so right about bad memories, they do teach us things, I put my bad memories in little boxes in my head and bring them out when I know I can accept and deal with them properly. I think I wrote a blog about them some time ago… Thank you for commenting on my blog, good to ‘meet’ you. M

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