It is funny how some things remain with you through life as strong and vivid memories. They were those events that had an impact in some way I suppose, and this is why we remember them while forgetting much of the rest of our lives. Memory is a very strange thing. My mother often tells me that she can remember with clarity things from 50-years ago but what she did an hour ago is a mystery! For me, its names. I remember people and places and context but I am clueless as to their names – old school friends and the like now nameless faces.
Of course, memories can be reinforced. If we talk about some event in the past often or if like us, you have old cine film of family vacations and so on that has been watched many times, then the memory is strengthened. I am sure that there are other ways that memory can be enhanced but repetition has always been one technique that worked for me. Anthony Peake, whose work I admire a lot, has said that the brain actually records all of life – it’s all there locked away in memory. So have I lost the filing system then that I can only access certain memories?
Growing up, we had great holidays. Cornwall, South Wales, Scotland and later, France. They were beach holidays. We all loved the beach and the sea. Often, we would go with one or more families and so there would be my cousins or parent’s friends kids to play with too. Dad used to enjoy helping us build sand castles and I have many happy memories of spending hours piling sand up into a giant mountain before the tide came in and then defending it against the incoming ocean. The sea always won but we had a lot of fun anyway. I often had a sunburned back from that particular activity.
One of my best memories though is of the time we were in Tenby and Jack, my Dad’s friend, bought a whole bunch of pea shooters and peas. Right there on the front we had the battle of a lifetime with little hard peas shooting everywhere. They stung like hell if they hit you too! What has kept this memory in place is the sheer fun and how much I enjoyed the 30 minutes or so that it lasted.
The interesting thing to me is that despite all the plastic toys, video games, technology and so on available to kids now, the most fun has always been found in the simpler things. The wrapping the presents came in, the cardboard box or the penny pea shooter and a bag of peas.