The editor, in her commentary, recently mentioned my ability to recall the past. Then she wondered if it has a down side so I thought this past article on the same subject would answer that question:
For many years I thought everyone who shared the same experiences retained the same memories of them. Then I attended my 20th high school class reunion. Being among the first to arrive, I started reminding my classmates about some experiences of our school years. I started wondering if my memory might be faulty when I heard comments like, “I don’t remember that!” or “I don’t believe that really happened, did it?”
Then Jimmy, Doyle, Edward, and Morris arrived. They had witnessed many of my recollections so I cautiously ran some by them. Not only did they remember them but, to my dismay, they even included some unsavory ones that involved me.
But, that taught me something. Not everyone remembers the past the same way and few remember it in the same detail that others do.
Edward Lewis has about the same memory capacity I do, or so I thought. One day I brought up the time when his mother came to visit him while we were in the first grade at Canoochee School. I can recall all of it like yesterday, and how she even rode the bus home with us, but when I recalled it for Edward, he didn’t remember it.
Pridge Beasley once confessed to me that he couldn’t even remember his seventh grade teacher’s name. He also can’t remember any of the spicy incidents I’ve related about him, including the one on the school bus when he shouted clearly from the back seat (where he was sitting with his sister and Clifton Hendrix) and asked the driver a highly distasteful question. But he has never forgotten the morning when Judy Messer slapped Clifton’s face really hard. I call Pridge’s type of memory the highly selective type. Many people appear to have this kind.
Classmates aren’t the only ones with imperfect memories either. A few years ago I talked with an old air force buddy who swore that I had never been to Nashville to see him since 1965. I couldn’t convince him that I had visited him in 1993 and even spent a couple of nights with him.
Frank NeSmith, Columnist
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