full drawers, empty folders
What makes a memory?
What do I forget to remember?
What do I remember to forget?
What is it in a memory that lasts a lifetime makes it a memory to last a lifetime?
Sometimes I can remember the general folder heading but the files are blank.
Science tells me that it isn’t so much the memory but what is going on around me.
Am I engaged in something that blocks out all other sensations so that whatever I am doing gets the full attention of my brain.
A moment, so to speak, where time stops.
An example given in the science books is riding on a roller coaster.
The event so over all envelopes or overwhelms all your senses that the memory is written into your subconscious with a sharpie.
I don’t know about roller coasters.
I don’t like them so I avoid them.
I will say that the two times I rode one are INDEED written indelibly into my memory.
I was talked into riding the Splendid Splinter by my then high school age kids.
Who wants to tell their highschoolers they are scared.
I had already ridden on the whirlpool or tilt a whirl or whatever it was called with Jack and D’asia (age 10 and 9, that ride that curled and twisted upside down.
I was so harnessed into my seat I felt secure enough.
Though the little kid sitting next to me tapped my arm and said, “Mister, it is more fun with your eyes open.”
It was on the Splendid Splinter that I discovered a latent fear of heights and came within an eyeblink of a full blown anxiety / panic attack.
What else makes a memory for a lifetime?
What else in my experience took over all my senses?
I will tell you.
When I was 16 I was at the beach with my family.
Some of sister Lisa’s friends were there as well.
I was standing at the bottom of some stairs when Lisa’s friend Leslie came walking up.
Lisa was 2 years older than and so was Leslie.
At that age, a grand canyon of differnece.
She was wearing a one piece swim suit that can be described as, well, brief.
She was drop dead out of this world.
Girls who looked like that did not inhabit my world.
I waited each year for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and here next to me, someone had walked off the page of the magazine.
I said a quick prayer, “Lord, help me help help me be cool.”
I caught her eye.
“Nice suit,” I blurted out.
She fixed me what I later came to know as the Berg stare and rolled her eyes.
She walked past and up the stairs and I watched her all the way.
In the control room of my brain all the guys in white lab coats who were in control my voice were screaming, ” I didn’t do it, or, “Not me!”
OH COME ON!.
I have to say that I did notice that as Leslie went up the stairs, there was a little more swish and sway to her walk.
But still, geeee whiz.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
I couldn’t beleive it.
She was all legs and curves and tan and I needed the crayola crayons labeled DORK and NERD to draw me at that point.
All I wanted to say was something to catch her attention.
Something that might stick in HER memory.
Just a little bit of cool.
I spent the rest of the day hiding under a beach towel.
But that moment was engraved into my memory.
I thought of it often.
I still do.
Fast forward 14 years.
Over those 14 years Leslie and I ran into each other with common friends and church youth groups.
But as friends, little bit more than acquaintances.
Then one day we happened to meet (a story for another time) and I got all my nerve and I asked her out.
She said yes.
I had a date with this same Leslie Berg.
I arrived on time to pick her up.
She invited me in.
I brought flowers.
Actions speak louder than words and I did not trust myself to speak.
She looked, well, gorgeous.
Flat out glittering.
I was captivated!
I managed to say, “You look fabulous.”
She smiled and said “thank you, ” and turned get her coat.”
As she turned, she said over her shoulder, “nice suit?”