The other day I was talking to my Mother and I told her about something I remembered from when I was a kid. She was really surprised I could remember it. I told her not only do I remember it, but I remember what the chair looked like, what I was wearing, what the temperature was, and exactly how I felt at the time.
A couple weeks ago I was telling another bear artist about the first time we met. He didn't remember it, but I told him a few details. What I didn't tell him was that I remembered a whole lot more details than just what I told him. And...that I remember every detail of every time I have ever seen him, and nearly everyone else I have ever met. I did however give a disclaimer that I am not a stalker. *giggles* I actually have to do that a lot.
Last night it finally rained. We have had a drought, and I was thrilled we had a storm. When I went to bed I was thinking about the first time my Mother pointed out lightning. I didn't know what lightning was though and I confused it for something on the landscape that I had never seen before. I was very, very young. I remember we were walking and she wanted to hurry. I remember exactly where we were and what it looked like, what we wearing and where we had come from.
I even remember the day I began to be able to remember. I was roughly 2 1/2 years old, I was in my Grandma's kitchen. I asked for a green sucker. I can tell you what the linoleum looked like. I remember the room layout, the furniture, the colors of the braided chair pads, what I was wearing, what she was wearing and that she was drying dishes. She sat the dish towel down, which was red and white striped cotton, and reached on top of the fridge to get a sucker out of a can. We were out of green, and I ended up with an orange one. Everything before that moment is a bit fuzzy, although every once in a while something will seep through with a little more clarity.
I don't know if you watched 60 Minutes last night, but apparently it was a repeat. It was the first time I had seen it however, and I have to say I was rather excited about it. They did a piece on "Superior Autobiographical Memory." Now I don't have that, but I am close.
I can't remember numbers very well. That goes back to something that happened in 2nd grade with a dreadful teacher I had named Mrs. Jones. I remember the entire day leading up to it, and after...but I cannot remember what happened exactly. I think I have blocked it out. I know it had something to do with numbers and I know I was crying hysterically. But that's it. I do however remember her making me miss lunch every day to re-write my homework because my hand writing was so bad. I always wondered why she did that, because it was never any better the second time I wrote it. I also remember riding home on the bus every afternoon just starving for having missed lunch. She always took my lunch away and never gave it back. Of course now she wouldn't be able to get away with that, but in the 60's teachers could do more to their students in the name of higher learning.
As a result, I can't recall dates since they are numbers. But my memory is horrifyingly good. Another interesting thing in last night's episode was when they were showing Marilu Henner's closet. While I don't have a closet like hers, mine is colorized and has been since I was 22. All of my shoes are in labeled boxes and grouped together by style, and also colorized. The rest of my house isn't nearly as nicely organized, but I can tell you where nearly every single thing I own is. Believe me, what with 30 years of bear supplies piled on top of the rest of the stuff I have accumulated...that's saying quite a lot. I also tend to be a bit of a germaphobe like the guy sitting in the group to the bottom left. The other thing I have in common with them is that my temporal lobe is larger than normal. I remember a doctor mentioning that during a CAT scan.
The thing I took away from the show was that all of a sudden, I didn't feel quite like such a freak. People who know me well are always astounded by my memory retention, and sometimes doubt that it's really as good as I say it is. But it is that good, and I have come to realize that having a memory like mine is rare, in fact I have never met anyone else with the memory retention I have. Like the people on the show, I have to agree that it can be a blessing and a curse. I usually tell people that it's sporadic eidetic memory, but that's not quite accurate because it's more than sporadic. I seem to have something that falls in between several categories. Being different can make you feel very alone sometimes. It's nice to know I am not alone.