August 08, 2006
On lost memories
Friday before last, I ordered the new cell phone. Sunday, I found the old cell phone right where I left it. I had been driving the car with the baby seat, but on Sunday I'd dropped Annabel off for a playdate, then took the other car to get some DIY supplies. And there was the phone, in the other car.
I would have looked in the other car if it weren't for my "memory" of having the phone on Tuesday morning on the walk from the parking deck to work. I had manufactured this "memory" and I don't know why. Lately, though, my memory has been anything but reliable. And it's bugging me to no end. My short and long term memory is fuzzier than the two month old pasta leftovers I found in the fridge. Is it sleep? Is it age? Is it Alzheimers (thanks to years of drinking soda from alumnium cans?)
I hope it's not age. I'm not even really into middle age yet.
Which leads me to the e-mail I got today from my grandmother:
Dear Family: I believe the time has come for me to begin to downsize my home and possessions. Therefore, I would like for each of you to write and tell me of anything I own that you might like to have. This includes furniture, dishes, keep sakes, pictures, small appliances....and the list goes on and on.
The e-mail was a bit of a shock. I never thought my 83 year old cannot-be-stopped-you-can-only-hope-to-contain-her grandmother would even concede to age. She's owned that house ever since she moved to Tulsa in... 1978. Yeeagh. 28 years. I remember when she moved. I remember the house in McAlester (and neither of my brothers do). That can't be 28 years ago.
And now... she's turning her stuff, my memories into jetsam. And I know some of it is valuable -- Royal Daulton, Wedgwood, Hummel, ivory, silver, china, crystal, antique furniture. But I don't really care about the valuables, honestly. I expect most of my family has already hit eBay and tried to price various things out.
But it's memories, you know? I stuck my name on the cuckoo clock years ago, because that's something that reminds me of my grandfather and the den in the McAlester house with the TV and the smell of stale tobacco from my uncles' habits. I've also wanted the striking mantle clock that plays three or four chimes (Westminster among them), though I wonder if my cousin already claimed it. I always looked on that with fascination -- how could a box like that play three different tunes by pushing a little knob up and down?
But these aren't valuable, not compared to the Royal Doultons or the china. They're most trinkets. So is the electrical timer I won at a Save Energy fair back in the 70s, thanks to my grandmother helping me understand how to read an electrical meter. I wouldn't mind having that. I bet it doesn't even work anymore.
I struggle most days with remembering where everything is. My brain creates memories because it can't seem to handle right now. I can't focus at work. But I can still remember when I was six years old in Woodland Hills Mall trying to learn how to read a meter.
I've been worried that I've been losing my mind. I think I left it in the other car, and it's right next to the cuckoo clock.