Rememberies, Part 1

My first “real” memory was of myself probably about 2 years old or so. I’m sitting on a hardwood floor, in a patch of warm sunshine coming in through the screen door. I’m playing with plastic dinosaurs, all shapes and sizes, in neon colors. I remember being warm and happy but not much else. I think we were living somewhere in Southern California at the time, my dad having just got his first real assignment in the Navy. Also, I remember seeing a photograph from this time, me in a Navy Dixie cup hat, chubby cheek baby, drinking from a water fountain as someone holds me up, somewhere on a Navy base, I guess… I don’t remember the actual experience…

When I say “real” memory I mean one that wasn’t brought up from and old picture or movie. Sometimes I’ll think of something from the past and the images I get are in black and white! I was always a big one for looking through the extensive photo albums we had and some of those pictures have implanted themselves as memories, sometimes replacing the images I already had. It seems the black and white “memories” have stuck around a longer time becuase they were reinforced better. A real memory is only experienced once, even and old black and white photograph can be “re-lived” countless times…

My dad was a great one for taking pictures and Super 8mm, until recently I had a video tape of some old 8mm he took when us kids were young, doing things I could not remember doing until I saw the images on the TV. Making new “old memories,” I guess, laying down new pathways in the brain. How much real experience was “overwritten” to make way for the “modified” memories, I wonder. Even though I’m just 38, I’ve seen a lot of stuff, been all over the world and packed a lot of images and memories in this old skull. Good times, bad times, thing I wish I had done better, things I wish I could do the same all over again, regrets, desires…

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I want to write some of this stuff down. To help jog my memory, to records something of what I was before I get old and forget all of it. I fear that, a little bit; not being able to remember what I’ve experienced being alive for a lot of years…

When I was a kid I wanted so much to be “grown-up” because everything moved so slow and I “knew” only good things could happen to me as a grown-up. Well, I know how all that went… When you are 10 years old, a year is one-tenth of your life experience and seems to take forever to go by. When you are forty, a year is only one-fortieth of your life and just screams on past, sometimes too fast to grab hold of.

Would I trade everything to be back in 1964, playing in that spot of sun? On the cusp of doing it all over again? Good question… If I had to make a conscious choice to go back, I don’t know if I could. As fucked up as my life has become, I’ve got a lot of memories I want to keep forever, memories I would not have if I had done something different down the line. But if the choice was made by someone, something else, and I found myself back with the neon dinosaurs? I would enjoy living that life all over again, you bet your ass…