11.22.2021 – memory depends

memory depends
have we intentionally
apprehended it

My cousin Joy has been on my mind since I stole a photograph of hers to use in yesterday’s haiku,

In the discussion about that haiku I commented on the camera versus memory when seeing things today.

I quoted from the author, Alain de Botton that using a camera blurs the distinction between looking and noticing, between seeing and possessing.

Mr. de Botton makes the point that the camera gives us the option of true knowledge, but it may also unwittingly make the effort of acquiring that knowledge seem superfluous

That is a great discussion for the here and now.

Having a camera with you in the here and now.

But what about the then?

The back then.

Here is a snapshot of sometime in 1962.

It is me and my cousin, Joy, sitting together on our Grandfathers lap.

My sister’s Lisa and Janet stand an either side.

I have NO memory of this photograph being taken.

I have NO Memory of seeing this photograph in the many many nights watching family slides.

Recently a nephew of mine digitized the family slides allowing us to travel back in time.

Otherwise I would have NO memory of this at all.

But I remember, with the help of the photograph, everything in the photograph.

My cousin and I we are the same age.

Our Mom’s were sisters.

I was my Mom’s 8th kid.

Joy was her Mom’s, my Aunt Mernie, 1st.

They were visiting from New Jersey.

This must have been a Sunday Dinner at my Grandma Hendrickson’s house.

Someone, my Dad most likely, arranged us altogether and said SMILE.

My character, even at age 2, seems to be pretty much set.

I can look at this picture and tell you what it smells like.

My Grandma’s house at that kinda moth-ball/natural gas smell due to the gas stove with no pilot light so you turned on the gas and lit the burner with a match.

As it was Sunday dinner it also smelled of my Grandma’s famous Pork and Beef roasts together in the same pan.

We were a meat and potatoes family to be sure.

But to be more accurate we were a mashed potatoes and GRAVY family.

Our parents would fill our plates and then cover everything on our plates with this pork-beef gravy that was what gravy was all about.

My Grandfather, that solid dutch guy (notice all the BLUE EYES??) in the picture, could eat mashed potatoes and gravy like it was an Olympic event.

Want to know the real kicker to this photograph?

Today, my cousin Joy and I are about the same age our Grandpa was when this photograph was taken.

I love this photograph and the memories it brings to mind ALONG with the memories it creates.

I have no memory of this day.

Looking I the photograph I remember everything.

Using the photograph, reseeing the scene, I can repossess the memory and the knowledge of the day.

It’s an effort.

Through the snapshot, I intentionally re-apprehend to my memory.

It is anything BUT superfluous.

*Adapted from the book, The Art of Travel (2002, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton, and the passage:

True possession of a scene is a matter of making a conscious effort to notice elements and understand their construction.

We can see beauty well enough just by opening our eyes, but how long this beauty will survive in memory depends on how intentionally we have apprehended it.

The camera blurs the distinction between looking and noticing, between seeing and possessing; it may give us the option of true knowledge, but it may also unwittingly make the effort of acquiring that knowledge seem superfluous.

Adapted from the book, The Art of Travel (2002, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton.

According to the website, GOOD READS, Any Baedeker will tell us where we ought to travel, but only Alain de Botton will tell us how and why.

As I said in the section on Architecture , what I find irresistible in reading Mr. de Botton is his use of language.

I get the feeling that if you made a spread sheet of all the words, adverbs and adjectives used by Mr. de Botton, you just might find that he used each word just once.

Neat trick in writing a book.

If I knew how to do that, hey, I would.

** More from the category TRAVEL — click here

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