Friday, September 3, 2010

Losing Memories. And Finding Them.

(Yeah, I know the photo is a little crooked - my dad took it!)

The other day I was trying to remember the name of my first grade teacher. I couldn't pull it out of my brain. I realized something: my dad is the only one who might have known the answer.

So it seems, that along with all the things I forgot to ask him about our relatives--like who are those people in the pictures in the trunk, why did you save this obituary, tell me about receiving this honor--there are a few things I needed to know about me that are now gone. The one person who remembers my childhood intimately is dead.

This gave me a very forlorn feeling.

I was talking to my youngest sister about this, telling her I had tried to find the teacher's name on the internet and couldn't. She said, "I know where you might can find it. There's probably a report card in the trunk from first grade."

I haven't looked yet, but it might be there. And I'm beginning to understand the value to a person's descendants of leaving behind papers and letters and pictures. Regardless of whether that particular teacher's name will be retrieved, I know that my dad was thinking ahead when he put each and every thing in that trunk. Thinking about a time when I might need to know something and he wouldn't be around to answer.

1 comment:

Greta said...

Mamie, this post really speaks to me. Even though Mom shared family information/memories spontaneously, there are many things I wish I had asked her. I think my failure to do so is part of my motivation to write a memoir. (Otherwise, I'm not sure why I'm doing this!)