Image from here
Lately, I've been nagged by how untrustworthy our memories can be, and how other times, they rise from some inner depth and break the surface unexpectedly and crystal clear. I've recovered something so wonderfully precious, yet randomly, as stumbling across a fourth leaf clover.
I have this one memory that I was so sure was true, and I kept it for years. One day, I mentioned it to my mother. It involved a square maroon car that we used to own, and I was shaken when she responded, "We never owned any maroon car." "Yeah, remember the plush velvet seats? It was some type that old women drive," I responded in an effort to jog her memory which to be frank, is horrible so can I really trust it? We went around and around, but I guess she'd remember what kind of car she owned. Where did this pseudo memory come from? How and why did it appear? It seemed so vivid. Come to think of it, I also remember a dark navy car that was similar. Maybe I'm getting the color confused? I think my grandparents gave or lent it to us. Same sort of velvet plush seats. I could put up the armrest in the front seat, and no one could see back to me. I'll have to ask her if that's a true memory. I guess I still keep the Maroon Car Memory even if it's false. It's a parallel universe memory of sorts that doubles back on itself as now, I remember it...in that I didn't remember it!
Actually, quite a few of my early memories involve cars. This one involves a dark green Aries with lighter green vinyl seats that stuck to your legs and burned you in the hottest part of St. Louis summers. At some point in my childhood, I found a delicate robin's egg, and I found it to be the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen thus far in my young life. I asked if I could take it to school for show and tell, and someone, maybe my stepmum, agreed. I was so excited to show the class, and off I went, climbing into the front seat with it cradled greedily in my palm. As I was buckling my seat belt, I crushed it between my palm and the metal clasp. I can remember wanting to cry out and being shocked. First, that this beautiful blue egg was gone, just like that. Secondly, the tactile horror of cold yolk squishing between my fingers and getting on my school uniform. That memory floated up recently and caught me by surprise! It was so lucid, it seemed as if it had happened yesterday.
Nostalgia has overtaken my life lately, and I am not a nostalgic type. I generally never want to go to my hometown, and I hate even thinking about high school and my youth because I made horrible decisions repeatedly, and I wasn't sure who I was and I was uncomfortable and stifled in small town monotonous Hell. I guess, I'm going back before that, though. I do like to remember and think about when we still lived in St. Louis, and when I went to Catholic school. That's a nice spot for me to visit in my thoughts. I'm comfortable going there, and it feels safe. I remember my Grandma Jo's kitchen vividly. She had this little framed picture of a mouse that had a different saying for every month. I would also sit at the kitchen table and snack while seeing what the mouse was doing that particular month. The prized part of the memory and my youth in that kitchen always took place in the afternoon. She had a small kitchen window above her sink, and she had put prisms and crystal suncatchers there. When the afternoon sun came through the window, the room would be covered with rainbows. It seemed so magical. If I'm remembering correctly there were a few plants tucked in the window too as it had shelves. I have two windows over my kitchen sink, and I have taken up the hunt to find pretty things to make rainbows and sparkle in the sun. K. has taken up my effort, too. He actually picked out our first addition to that window, a bluebird of happiness we picked up during our trip to Terra Studios.
I want our kitchen to have rainbows everywhere like this one but a ton more! Photo from here.
Another in my memory Rolodex, is my dad taking me to a store called Faru that specialized in imports. I loved how it smelled in there, and how everything was so unfamiliar and unique. He bought me many treasures from there over the years--jewelry, this display with small sticks that had different African animals on the top of each one (I can't remember what they were used for or what they were called), and a beautiful handheld mirror with a fake jade handle and butterfly on the back. I loved dusting them when I cleaned my room and wondering if I'd get to travel to see the countries they came from someday when I was grown. I always was transfixed by this eyeball jewelry in the case, and I remember Dad telling me it was of the Devil and to never buy it. That must've really stuck with me because now when I see any of that stuff in necklaces or jewelry, it sort of creeps me out. I think he was referring to the evil eye, and it was supposed to ward off bad things. But my memory usually goes first to it being of the Devil. He may have said the second, but I usually go with the first explanation. I didn't tell my Mom his take on it, and I convinced her to buy me a cheap version that turned my finger green. She relented even though, unprompted, she said it was, "Ugly and weird."
Photo from here
Photo from here