Remembering things differently

Memories and what people remember in their lives has always held a fascination for me.  Why do we remember some things and not others? Do we really remember them or are we just reminded of them by other people?  I can remember some things of when I was 5 but not many things.  Are we just told things so often and that’s why or do we really remember them?

When I was little I was told many times over that I put raisins up my brothers nose and he had to be taken to the emergency room but I don’t really remember that.  I was told that I did that.  I was talking to my brother one day about something that was really clear in my mind and he had no idea what I was talking about.  Why do I remember that and he doesn’t?

I remember a few years back when I was at a family gathering and one of my cousins was practically jumping up and down telling me something that we did when we were little and I had no idea what she was talking about.  But she was so darn excited that I pretended to remember because it sounded like it was one of her happiest memories and I didn’t want to take anything away from her.

My mom also does this all the time.  She will remember things in the past and I don’t and I often wonder if we even lived the same life.  It’s almost like she remembers our life like Little House On The Prairie.  It was nothing like she talks about.  But I don’t say anything to her either.  I just let her ramble on and on.

So what is it that makes us remember what we do?  Do you often find yourself remembering things that other don’t?  Or do others remember things you don’t?

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13 Responses to Remembering things differently

  1. SKL says:

    I used to have a really good memory. It still isn’t bad, but nothing like it used to be. I am not really sure why.

    I do remember some moments as far back as age two. But that is probably because I have remembered them so many times – maybe I am remembering remembering them. The details get fuzzier as I get older.

    I don’t know anyone who remembers things better than I do. But I know lots of people who don’t remember things I remember. There are folks who are just better at moving on to something new, whereas I have always tended to rehash things in my mind to make sense of them. I’m always categorizing things and creating a logical structure or filing system in my mind. When someone brings up a point that I feel isn’t quite right, I think for a moment and bring back historical facts from decades ago that only I seem to remember. It would be kinda cool, if people would believe I wasn’t making stuff up.

    It does happen that occasionally a sibling brings up a past event that I don’t remember at all. I guess different things are important/memorable to different people. Maybe my mind was on something else when that exciting thing was happening – maybe my birthday was the next day or I’d just won a prize at school.

    I think it’s pretty normal for moms to convert memories into June Cleaver’s Diary. I will probably do it myself someday. For the record, I have had some moments when I was horribly impatient with my daughters, and I really hope they are too young to remember. But will I remember? Check back with me in a decade or two. (I kinda hope to forget.)

  2. K. Trainor says:

    “I think it’s pretty normal for moms to convert memories into June Cleaver’s Diary.”

    Boy do I agree with that one! Memory is selective for a reason. I think we remember what we choose to (and how we choose to color it) most of the time. Except maybe when we’re sleeping. I don’t know what happens then, because dreams are such weird, weird things.

  3. SanityFound says:

    I think for me it depends on what I focused on at the time. Primary and high school I remember little of, I remember faces, people, conversations clearly but the other details not. I have this memory that that retains stupid information, whole conversations and details of things, taste, feel, touch… I don’t know why some of us remember more than others…perhaps it is all to do with focus?

  4. Sue says:

    I know my memory is getting worse with age!!!! Hmm, now where did I put that? I don’t remember it that way! I do think our minds are selective b/c there’s only so much room in there and the stuff that doesn’t get used gets lost.

    I have a girlfriend who remembers the scores of our volleyball games from high school and what date prom was or some other social event, but not me. You can tell her your uncle’s mother’s birthday once and she’ll remember it, but if you tell her say, a date from history that’s important, she won’t remember it.

    I use to be really good at remembering what people said, but even that’s getting fuzzy. I think it’s having kids that makes you forget more and like stated above, when you do remember is always better than it really was.

  5. pammy wammy says:

    hey joy.Am I the cousin you mention.Will be back later to give you my input,too much to say,not enough time now

  6. Joy says:

    Hey Pammy, no it wasn’t you. I remember all the fun (trouble) we got into. It was a younger one and I think it was just because I was older and it didn’t mean as much to me as it did to her. I was probably thinking about some boy!!!

  7. nikki says:

    I’m so glad my computer is cooperating today,YAY!! I think there are things from my childhood that I know of because they’ve been told to me so many times. There are also a LOT of things I don’t remember, that I think I should. I don’t know if I choose not to remember or they were too traumatic and I have blocked them out. My memory is quite bad actually. But I’m okay with that. I do have some memories of my Grandmother that are so vivid it seems like it was yesterday.

  8. slightlyignorant says:

    I know exactly what you’re talking about, Joy! It’s so odd to have all these moments that other people remember and you don’t, or the other way around.
    But there’s something wonderful in it, too, isn’t there? I mean, things that you won’t remember, others will tell you and you’ll be able to think about them, even if you can’t for the life of you really remember them. You get to tell people stories about themselves that they don’t remember. The fact that we remember different things makes us able to fill in the blanks for others sometimes!

  9. Amber says:

    Before I got sick… I had near perfect recall. I could read something and tell it to you word for word. My memory was amazing. But that all changed when I got sick. Now I have times where I have to stop and think about my words to get them out.

    But I still seem to remember times when others dont. But at times people swear they tell me things and I am now blank.

    Weird huh?

  10. pammy wammy says:

    Iemember stuff.Like I was in trouble everyday.Had my mouth washed out with soap everyday.I was soooo bad.When life is full,I forget little things,but only when my mind is on overload.There are pieces of my childhood that I have no memory,only climpses.I was told by a councellor of mine that sometimes things are blocked when our mind and soul knows we cant possibly handle the trauma.So thats ok with me.Everyone is different and unique in there memories.Sometimes,stuff is just stored up and away in the shelfs of our memories.They sometime surface and they sometimes dont.Life is a mystery,but interesting.Memories are all we have of people whp have passed on.I cherish all the great and awesome ones.The ones I dont remember,oh well.

  11. kwoneshe2 says:

    I have found that many people who went through the same life together have different memories of it. I think it has to do with how we look at things….are we optimists or pessimists? Does the other person mean a lot to you, or are they just a backdrop in the shared life? There are so many factors.

  12. Jane says:

    I think maybe we remember things that are important to us. We may blank out things that were either painful or just uneventful. I sometimes can remember things I had forgotten if someone else “nudges” my memory. Or I’ll remember part of something and one of my cousins or brothers fill in the gap.

    My dad says the same thing about my grandma in that she remembers things far differently as she ages than to how they really were. Weird.

  13. SKL says:

    I remember my grandma saying that she never hit her kids. Then my dad said, “Mom, what about the broom when I was hiding under the bed?” To which she answered, “Well, you were a RAT; what did you expect, sneaking in the window at night like a rat? What do you do with a rat besides go after them with a broom?”

    I once told my mom that my granny (other side) told me “never hit a kid in the face; God provided a better place.” My mom’s wry response: “She obviously has a selective memory of raising her own kids.”

    My mom swears she can count the number of times she “had to beat” me on the fingers of one hand. They must have been some whopping beatings, or my memories got together and made babies, because they don’t seem rare in my memory.

    And I am of course the perfect mom – just ask my kids – and don’t ask me why they respond to “you’ll get a spank” like they know what that means.

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