Deep in my heart, I carry my precious memories. Whenever I recall a yesterday memory, I bring it forth with deep affection. Today, we have thumb drives and much more! All mechanical ‘memory’ drives! I am truly blessed and thankful for my yesterday’s recollections.
Speaking and writing about memories, a few days ago I saw my hometown on the news. Scrolling across my TV screen were the words POTUS will speak in LIMA, OHIO. That caught my eye! He’ll visit the last TANK factory in Lima! That opened my memory box very quickly! That’s where I lived for the first thirteen years of my life. And, yes, I used to run out to the street and stood under the Catalpa tree, where the bean from this tree was as tall as me, to watch the tank parade go by. Most times they were hauled on flatbeds and other times they came rolling up 4th Street. You see, the tank factories were at the end of 4th street where all the factories and the railroads were. Before the tanks could be sent overseas they had to be tested and that was the reason they went by our house each day. At the opposite end of 4th, there were farmlands which the government used for testing the tanks. There were army and navy tanks alike.
No one spoke of these happenings with joy because it was a very sobering time. Wars and government can make boom towns but when war is done, then ghost towns are born! Often times my grandfather, Papa, would stand by me and tell me about his memory when he was a young soldier in Italy and Mussolini sent him and other soldiers to Ethiopia. He didn’t speak of the battle but he did tell me what shocked him most was malaria fever which he contracted and lost his hair. The size and color of the Ethiopian soldiers alarmed him as well. He was not informed about the people he would encounter or the treacherous climate! He had never seen such tall ebony skinned men or felt such hot weather. Even the food disagreed with him. He felt that the Italian soldiers were ill prepared! So goes war! Now, whenever I unlock this memory, I realize just how strong and wise he was. My grandfather’s wisdom revealed to him that there are no real winners in war and mothers were the biggest losers!
My wisdom from this memory nugget is history keeps on repeating itself. The irony of it all is that some of these factories are making body parts for our wounded heroes!! Is this progress? Is it wisdom? Have you ever used memory as an excuse? You’ve been asked to do something or be somewhere but you were not excited about the doing or going to, so the comment, “I forgot” becomes very convenient. Some people are not as blessed, and can’t recall, and do suffer because of it. What they wouldn’t give to have total recollection.
I always jot my appointments on my daily calendar; even my lunch dates. How often, during the day, do you bring your memory to the forefront? For me, most of the day! I bless and pray for my memory. Such a gift.
I want to write a little about reliance upon memory. Especially, a young new mom. If she has not been exposed to caring for an infant, imagine how difficult this is. Along with her nervousness, she tries to recall what she has been told to do, perhaps by her own mom, or a book. Her infant’s cries throttle her to a point where she stops thinking. But suddenly, the memory of her own mom’s advice kicks in. Her mom told her if she’s crying louder than her baby, put the infant down, wash your face and start over again!
How about ‘test-taking’ for the very young. Try to recall your elementary school days. A test was going to be given on naming the days of the week! Oh, excuse me, perhaps today it’s at pre-school level! Basic, you say but to one who has trouble gathering facts and figures, it’s not so simple. In my grandparents home, it was the Italian language being spoken and I learned days of the week in that language. Yes, beautiful but if you’re the only one who knows Italian in your class, how helpful is it? Not even the teacher knew my dilemma. I was too shy to speak up. So, I practiced and learned the days in both languages. Such as, Monday=Moon and in Italian it’s Lunedi. And so forth! The long way around but I got it!
One of my favorite writers was an excellent Professor Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D, and he taught his young students with such patience that each learner was a winner. Engaging the ‘memory’ is at the forefront! But when you’re frightened, how can your stored up knowledge come tumbling out? Sometimes we learn by viewing pieces of art or paintings. Being anxious can squeeze out memory. Funny thing about memory!
Keep this in mind when someone you know has a test or two coming up. Singers, actors, speakers always amaze me! Yes, some have cue cards, teleprompters and maybe a hidden microphone in their ears. But, if you’re going to Broadway or a concert to see a play or your favorite singer and paying large dollars, you don’t want your idol to be on cue cards. No, they have to do the real thing. Know their text, song or whatever they are bringing to the stage! Yes, stage fright happens to the best but I bet they have a helpful memory cue that gets them right back to the limelight! I always say a prayer for those performing. Not easy and they, too, can have a bad day. Knowing and memory go hand in hand.
As a new young wife, memory was of the most important for me. Especially in the kitchen. Boy, if that meal was off center, I’d get questionable frowns from Larry, rather than smiles! That’s when I came up with a new game plan. My idea for my new young husband was: tomorrow night it’ll be your turn to cook! Then we’ll compare meals. No more frowns. I always tried to remember what and how my grandmother and mom cooked. Their little secrets certainly came in handy. And it was their cooking wisdom which guided me in the kitchen. Again, a salute to memory!
Did you know that Hummingbirds have colossal memories? They have total recall. They remember where each and every flower is in their area.
Remember Bob Hope and his phenomenal song “Thanks For The Memories” it became his winning song throughout his career.
Take care of your memory as best as you can. Sometimes, it’s not old age that makes our memories slip but accidents, drugs, diseases can do an unmerciful job on us. I do agree with Julie Butler, “Your memories are your jewels!”
If you’re out shopping or walking and you bump into an old family friend, or yours, and they don’t readily connect to you, be kind because their memory might be on a slower train than yours. Go make some beautiful memories.
As we end our month of May, please recall all those who have passed on. A flower, a prayer, a flag! Be kind with your memories! I began this blog about ‘memories’ in my mind but I want to pay tribute to those who have tiptoed out of my life. In their memory, I celebrate them with a poem by Emily Dickinson.
Nancy Fraioli is a retired Benefits Asst. from Town/Village of Harrison, NY. She’s alive and well, residing in Sarasota with her daughter and family and enjoying the Floridian lifestyle daily.
Her passions are writing, reading books of philosophy, children’s stories and poetry. Her deep love is living, learning and sharing how faith, meditation, and music guide her daily life. And she loves to lunch with the ladies!