Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Turn Your Face To The Moonlight....let your memory lead you



The weather has been atrocious today, and even Winnie , who loves her morning hike around the village took one look at the driving rain and gave me one of her " you've got to be fucking kidding" looks.
The only person I spoke to when out was a mom who had previously shared with me the fact that her young daughter had been rocking herself to sleep at night.
" It's a sign of damaged childhood " she had ventured with a worried look.
I didn't tell her that  I had rocked myself to sleep for years when we were small children.
I wonder what a modern psychologist would have made of all that then.
I just can't remember the fact all too well.

My memory, or more importantly my lack of it , does trouble me somewhat for great swathes of my early childhood memories never seem to ever surface even though on many a dog walk, I try so very hard to recall days gone by.
Is this normal?
I hardly remember anything of my first decade on this planet. A vague recollection of model airplanes hanging from the ceiling of my brother's bedroom, a sense of me and my sister walking a small terrier on the pavement outside our house , being frightened of a low flying jet after a summer bedtime.
It's not much for ten years of life is it not?

This morning after retiring back to bed after a 6.00 am puppy walk, I dreamt of my grandparents' living room circa 1972.
I remembered it all, the teak effect electric fire surround. The cheap plastic clock on the mantle. Plastic flowers in a wartime wall holder .The pristine white net curtains. The heavy swirling carpet and the shepherd and lamb cushions of the hardwood upright armchairs. The small oblong child's stool with it's blue plastic padded seat.
Oh and standing either side of the clock were two deer figures. Both must have had accidents as their antlers were  short and filled down.


74 comments:

  1. I wouldn't concern yourself about not being able to remember your childhood, John. I am the same...hardly no early memories at all. Vx

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    1. same as me. I seem to remember from 9 on

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    2. I was worrying for no reason me thinks

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  2. I have always had a creepy memory .. I might not remember what I was supposed to do today or what I said yesterday and it pisses me off to no end when my son says in that Super Patient voice ... Remember, mom ?
    But I can remember when I was 5 .. the house we lived in, places we went , I have a very tiny memory of earlier than 5 .. we moved to Hawaii when my mother remarried when I was around 4-5 and there were many things from those days that stayed in my memory. I also remember when I was 3-4 , having asthma and being left alone in a bathroom with hot water running to "steam my lungs" ..
    But I cannot remember what I said yesterday to the real estate lady.

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    1. I think, i should remember more.. But i guess a child's life in the 1960s and very early 70s werent interesting enough to remember

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  3. I remember next to nothing of my childhood...I expect I'm in denial...it was all a bit too Angela's Ashes for my liking...

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  4. I don't remember that awfully much either, until I am with my brothers and we fill in the gaps! Kept one diary for about a year when I was about 10, and wrote faithfully in it, in detail, every day..interesting read now....but dull!

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    1. Lynda, you have hit the nail on the head me thinks... A child's life is generally very mundane

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    2. It is ! and that is good I guess , mostly. But the things that stand out hopefully are good , like a baby brother/sister being born, a favorite dog or cat .. before my brother, I was in love with the horse that lived up the street lol .. Star .. she was better than a therapist.
      My kids are good for remembering things one would rather forget.
      I am at the point now where what I remember is good enough .. the good stuff .. like my husband and our lives together .. that will keep me going for a few more years .. although it is good to have a goal .. make more good memories.

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  5. I don't remember much either John but the bits I do remember are of a lovely childhood (except for school). I do recall the aboriginal girl my parents adopted used to rock herself to sleep for the first little while.

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  6. My childhood wasn't that great so I tend to block it out. Between that and old age (I'll be sixty this year) I can't remember much. Quite frankly I don't want to.

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  7. My memory is sporadic and I say things that I don't mean like "I'm tossing the clothes in the dishwasher."

    I teased my hubby that one day I'll look at him and say "You look really familiar but what did you say your name was again?"

    I think my brain is just too full...

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    1. Mine is full of dust and fluff :-)

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  8. My memory is sporadic and I say things that I don't mean like "I'm tossing the clothes in the dishwasher."

    I teased my hubby that one day I'll look at him and say "You look really familiar but what did you say your name was again?"

    I think my brain is just too full...

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  9. I remember people, some conversations, playing and having best friends. They were good, innocent times. I only wish I could forget some of my teenage years.

    I still rock.

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  10. Very few people remember much of their childhood, the brain's wiring isn't complete... and because it's more important to our survival to recall scary/unpleasant situations (we can't avoid what we don't remember) those are more firmly implanted in our long-term memory. Relaxing makes it easier to access more pleasant memories.

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    1. Good point..i a, having an ah ha moment

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  11. I remember quite a bit. Especially from my grandparents homes...but above all I remember the smells...from one grandmas fridge to the others hand washing soap. Strange?

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  12. I think we all have a lot of gaps in the memories of the first 10 or so years of our lives. If you think about the sheer amount of information you are taking in at that time and how much you are learning to understand the wider world outside the safety of your own home and family it's no wonder, it is most likely our brains filing and coping mechanism.

    I have a first memory at about 18 months of age and then like you snippets of things in the following years. Photographs bring the memories back, but even after a trawl through the family albums those memories retreat to a place where only they live after a while.

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    1. Another excellent psychological point to add to the others......i feel a lot better

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  13. Every Charity Shop in the UK now has several pairs of those wooden Antelopes. I wonder when they'll become fashionable again?

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  14. One of my sons rocked himself to sleep, my health visitor told me, when I mentioned it that most damaged children rock but that most children who rock aren't damaged.

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  15. I don't know about normal, but most of my childhood is gone as well.

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  16. you have a clear and wonderful memory of your grand parents home, don't worry about what you can't remember, relish in the good ones you do remember,,

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  17. Memory plays funny tricks in any case John. What we think we remember accurately is not necessarily the truth. I do think that as we age more and more memories surface, so perhaps there is hope for you in the future.

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  18. Loads of memories from about 2 onwards. In fact, I think my parents were nervous about how much I DID remember - we lived in a one bedroomed flat.

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  19. I remember only bits and pieces as well. Very fragmented. And no worry, I rocked myself to sleep when I was young. It was comforting to me, and I may just start doing it again. At 48. *ahem*

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  20. My sister is 18 months older than me and she has a fantastic memory of our childhood. Our memories of the same events both tell different stories.

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  21. I'm 62 and I still rock myself to sleep. It gives me comfort. I had a very dysfunctional childhood. I have more memories than I wish. But, I turned out pretty good. So, I'll just keep rocking on ...

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  22. I find it too depressing to think about. I have some big gaps but they are things blocked out. Along the lines of Wanda but my gaps are in the 1990s.

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  23. I have very little memory of my childhood, I think I've blocked so much and the memories I have aren't too good. Born in the mid 50's most of my memories until the mid 60's are totally blank.
    I pat my shoulder to help me sleep. Someone could write a thesis on it.

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  24. I had a pair of those wooden antelopes. A house warming gift from a friend in England many years ago.
    I have strong memories of my happy childhood. They have sustained me during less happy times as an adult.
    I think memory is selective don't you?

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  25. I remember many things from babyhood, dreams, family events, homes. Then from the time I was about 7 1/2 (and for a couple of years on) not much of anything. Major family problems erupted at that time and my mind will not acknowledge everything that went on. I won't pursue. My early childhood was idyllic and then it went to sh*t.

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  26. Can't really remember anything before about age 6 apart from a couple of vague mental images.

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  27. I have a hard time remembering yesterday let alone what happened 60+ years earlier

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  28. You've struck two interesting, related yet distinct chords; memory and dreams.
    I have weird dreams sometimes, where people come to me. Humphrey Bogart, for instance, came to me in a dream and asked me "Do you want to end up like me? Then you better quit schmoking". Well, when Bogie tells you to quit something, you darned well do it, and I did.
    My earliest memory was when I was two years old, going to the long gone train station in Wilkes-Barre, PA to meet my mother who was bringing back my 1 year old cousin from Niagara Falls who later would become my brother. Long story, ofcourse, but must have been a momentous day because I remember it, clearly.

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  29. I still occasionally comfort rock, my earliest days were dictated by strict German baby care rules enforced by a mean German granny. She's still alive and I still don't like her, crazy old thing that she is.

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  30. I don't know how common it is, but I also have only a couple vague memories of life before age 10. Snippets, really, seeing a cat knock my brother's hat off, a Lionel train going around, my dad landing a fish. That's about it. I do however have around 20 years more on the tally than you.

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    1. Perhaps this amnesia is more common than i thought

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  31. I recall scooting under the wings of an airplane in our garage, my father and a friend was rebuilding it, the smell of lacquer thinner triggers that memory; I remember visiting the Grand Canyon when I was 5, a landing the plane when I was 6 or 7.

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  32. My first memory that I can put an approximate date to is when the space on my Mother's lap ran out because she was pregnant with my younger brother. I would have been 2. Most of my memories are happy - I had a most fortunate childhood. Some other memories of daily walks through our tropical garden (we lived on Okinawa at the time) every evening to see what new plants and flowers had unfurled, killing giant strawberry-eating slugs. One of my most vivid unhappy memories was getting completely hysterical when my parents were going out for the evening, also when I was 2. I knew that everything was OK , but my emotions were totally out of my control. I could not be comforted and had to just cry it out until I was exhausted. Pity my poor older sisters who had the duty of babysitting ...

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  33. Weirdly I have a super clear memory of the time when for a year, my mother left me with people .. apparently some kind of private foster parents ( I only learned a few years ago that they were not relatives) when I was 3-4.
    I have a clear as a bell memory of my mother calling and me, talking to her on the phone in their hall where the little Telephone nook was. And the birthday party that the people made for me .. that was very big and nice and must have really made an impression, all these years I remember little bits of it.
    Sadly, a lot of people remember only the bad things that happened to them.
    I am thankful I have at least an equal amount of happy memories.

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  34. My earliest memory is the smell and feel of my cousin's english bull terrier. I now know it was the weekend after my father's funeral, I was two and a half but I have absolutely no memory whatsoever of my father. Go figure....

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  35. Fascinating discussion here. In my case I have a terrible memory for useful things but I can recall silly things like hair styles and clothing with great clarity! And believe me it's not because I am stylish. I think it's more that I've always envied those who look neat and attractive, effortlessly it seems.

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    1. I always thought you remembered the funny
      I guess you just need to remember one and others follow

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  36. It used to trouble my sister and I that we had very few memories from our childhood....and the bits we seemed to remember were not the greatest...but I like the idea that our brains had so much info to take in that we couldn't retain everything. I'm glad I'm not the only one with this amnesia.

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    1. I suspect i was worried that my amnesia was related to unhappiness... I dont think it was, it is related to not needing to remember the banal

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  37. What a wonderful dream, your memories came to visit you.

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  38. When i have a little trouble falling asleep, I have a technique I use that works all the time. I pretend I am taking a tour through my childhood homes. I walk in through the front door and see every room from 60 years ago! I surprise myself with the little details I can see in my mind's eye! Comforting...yawn...

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    1. I tried that as i was driving home tonight..... I remembered every detail of my old fish tank that stood in the hallway recess

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  39. I had hypnotherapy to try and figure out why I had a mental illness ( and no, it didn't work, just relieved me of a lot of money!) and the therapist did actually help me remember odds and sods from my childhood. Unfortunately (for her) there were no grim secrets, just recollections of my nans front room wallpaper and a poodle called Scruff!

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    1. At least you knew you had a normal upbringing x

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    2. True John, a bit poor, a bit tough, but there was the best love my mum and dad knew how to give.

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  40. Memory works in strange ways. How we remember and what we remember are signposts to our true selves. You can't fake it. You can't decide to remember particular things. What comes to the surface is as random as flotsam and jetsam being deposited upon some distant beach. Anyway, that's what I think about remembering.

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    1. Interesting. Signposts
      I would like to discuss this further with you YP

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  41. Wow, I must be weird but I still have some memories of when we lived "down the old end". A woman named Ruby terrified me because she was cross eyed (I was under 3). I remember hiding behind the sofa from her. Shopping at Mrs. Hen's shop (think "Open all hours"). We left "the old end" when it was bulldozed (slums in central Birmingham) and I stunned my mom by telling her how excited I was about moving only for "Aunty Nora to steal our removal van". She couldn't believe I remembered that as I was 3 when we left and Nora's removal van did in fact arrive and leave just before ours. Also, walking round the back of our new council homes before they put the garden fences up. Weird I know but I can see it clear as day. And the smell of ladies' face powder will always mean my mom to me. I was the youngest so when we went anywhere I always sat on her lap in the front seat of the car (yeah, I know - dangerous - it was years ago) and the smell of her face powder was lovely. But I really do remember so much of my childhood. I didn't realize others didn't. I guess we are all wired differently. Anna

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    1. Thank you for that stream of consciousness anna xx

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  42. I remember the grim bits of my childhood far to well , back to being 3 or 4 years old. I keep them well locked away but if things are bad it takes skill to keep that bleeding door shut even 50 years later

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    1. Things are buried for a reason old chum

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  43. My 19 year old rocks while awake, he is also unbearably finnicky about clothing textures and scratchy labels but he is a competent, healthy young adult in every other way. Some people just have quirks

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  44. Such an interesting post! My parents also had one of those wooden deers and, for the life of me, I cannot remember my sister being there for all the years of our childhood. This fact has bugged and baffled me forever.

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    1. Funny younsaid that......i remember my elder sister but not my elder brother

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  45. As I started reading through others' comments, I started out thinking that I only had little snippets of memories, and unfortunately the big pieces are of traumatic times best forgotten, but then as I read more comments, I've been remembering other things too. School moments, moments at uncle's dairy farm, moments at home, but one thing is certain... a smell can bring back memories and feelings. Welding fumes, plastic Barbie shoes, chili sauce, auto body filler, cattle manure, ... Interesting post, John! -Jenn

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    1. Smells......another dimention
      Cold cream and face powder......= my grandmother

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  46. Memory is a funny thing. I remember many things back to when I was two and a half years old. Perhaps earlier than that, but that is when I can date a memory. My brother who is a bit younger than I, says that my memories are false. He hates my memories and grows horribly angry when I say, "But don't you remember...?"
    "No! That never happened!" he says.
    My mother used to tell me the same.
    But I know they did. Those things happened. My imagination is not that good and a small child could not make up what I remember.

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    1. Sending you an on line hug

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  47. Memory is a VERY strange thing. I remember quite a bit, my husband is like you only after 10 or so, my son only the highlights(fun or exciting things) my daughter from an early age remembered things that never happened. When she was young I always said how glad I was that she was a 2nd child as we needed corroboration from her older brother and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends that many of her memories just did not happen.
    I do not know if her imagination is so vivid that it all seemed so real to her and she holds them as memories.

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  48. rocking sounds familiar, stroking my own cheeks too as a child was self comforting. I think we do all have comfort mechanisms from an early age - we immediately touch an area and stroke it if we injure ourselves too - touch must be a powerful thing (stroking pets too) my memory is vivid in some places and fuzzy in others due to a dodgy childhood but I quite like the fuzzy bits to stay that way and don't dig too deep!

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  49. I don't have very comprehensive memories of my early childhood either. I think some people just have better memories than others -- I don't think it means we're somehow damaged. (I had a perfectly happy childhood, from what I can remember, LOL.)

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