Monday, June 20, 2011


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.


deb said...

I have watched that show twice now and I found it fascinating. I personally have what we fondly call CRS at work.. Can't remember but lucky you! How cool is that?! I must have loved mu aunt kitchen.. I remember almost every inch of it.

jenann said...

Memory is a strange thing!
I remember the view from inside my pram - I am old enough to have been in one of those enormous, coach built things that all British mothers aspired to and my mother was lucky enough to own, in the days when few women had cars here so strollers weren't invented. I remember the frame that the navy blue and cream elasticated hood trim gave to my sometimes moving and sometimes static view of the sky. I even recently went back to the house we lived in until I was just short of two years old, to see if my memory of it being a willow tree the pram was left under on hot days was correct. My mother thought it was an oak. My memory was correct, hers was false.
I remember every teacher, including relief teachers that ever taught me. I remember the whole of my first day at school, event by event, right down to the puzzle I was given to do,what I was given for lunch and the shade of pink of the counters I was given to work with.
I remember what outfit I wore to go to the dentist on my 5th birthday and the face of the sympathetic shop lady who sold my birthday doll to us and threw in some new crayons and colouring books because my jaw was so swollen up.
My brother can't remember the name of his high school, never mind his teachers. He can't remember my kids' names - his only nephew and niece, he can't remember when our mother's birthday is.
So how is it that I can't remember where I last put my eye glasses and the door keys, but my brother can give every (dull and repetative) detail about his medication?? But he can not, of course, remember that he told us all about it on his last visit and the one before that and the one before that...!
Sorry! I love my brother, really! Infact, I have what most people think is a phenomenal memory for events, but I'm hopeless with the passage of time. I had cancer a few years back, but couldn't tell you which year it was, to save my soul, but I can remember the name and face of the nurses, doctors and the porters who pushed me fto the scanners etc. I can remember the magazines and books I read, what clothes I took to hospital - but not how long I underwent treatment. Odd, isn't it? Another number/time/date thing, but I loved maths at school.

Amber Dawn Inventive Soul said...

You are not alone. I too have a very clear memory from when I was younger. People doubt me often too and I am left with a burning frustration/lonliness feeling inside because of it.
If you check my FB acct... You can see that I posted a memory from when I was just two.- a couple of days ago. I clearly remember my 1st birthday and I do have memories from even before then as well! It's fun meeting others who have the same gift/curse!

Do you also dream of the future?
Have pre-cognative thoughts?

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