Thursday, August 30, 2012

Old Blog: All That A Person Can Remember

Note:  This is from my old blog.  I published it on 16 March 2006.  I thought I posted up here for you guys to enjoy but can't find it anywhere.  Here's the original post, unaltered.

My opinion has always been that memories make us who we are. Without them, we are no one.

(i am on my first plane ride. i am looking out the window and staring in amazement at the scene below: manhattan. the sun is blazing and bright and i am wearing my purple dress, little white socks and my black patent leather mary janes. i am something on the order of 2.5 - 3 years old.  other than the dinosaurs at the natural history museum, i don't remember much else about NYC, not the subway, not the statue of liberty.)

In the movie Blade Runner, Deckart makes the discovery that replicants have a four year life span because of the accumulation of memories. With that accumulation, replicants tend to develop minds of their own, specifically the desire to control their own destinies and to think for themselves.

(i am sitting on a cold linoleum floor in a bedroom. my brother is on his bed. the light on his nightstand is the only light in the room. it seems unnaturally dark, probably because I am around 3 years old and sitting on the floor. against the wall, there is a cardboard box. my dad is there and he and my brother are laughing. inside the box is a duckling whom we christened "goose goose." she is small, yellow and fuzzy. she is peeping. there are some old rags in the box with her so she stays comfortable. i am fascinated by her.)

What happened next, I don't remember, but my Dad tells me I reached out and grabbed the little duckling by the neck. She passed out because she couldn't breathe. My Dad thought for sure I'd broken her neck. She regained consciousness and was fine. I do not remember almost killing her.

When I was four years old, we moved into the house where my parents live now in San Jose. I remember Goose Goose was full grown. All perfect, white with orange feet and bill. She lived a good long time. I never tried to grab her neck again.

I read somewhere that if you can go back to the house you grew up and you crawl around on your hands and knees all these memories you forgot about will come flooding back to you.

(i'm wearing a white dress with red checkerboard trim and leggings. i seem to be trying to stand up and feel very unsteady on my feet. my brother's dog, who is a year older than me, is standing next to me. i reach out my hands and grab his fur to steady myself. i stand up, tottering against him. he is huge with his comforting white fur and trademark brown spot on his backside.)

As I finish writing this last paragraph, I realize with a small shock that this is probably my earliest memory. I've gone through my life thinking that looking down on Manhattan from the plane window and going into the Dinosaur Halls at the Natural History museum while being carried by my Dad are my earliest memories. This one, however, takes the cake for it is here that I am learning to stand up and walk.

My brother's dog, Tinkerbell, was part cocker spaniel, part poodle. He looked more cocker spaniel than anything. He always seemed so big to me until I got older and I realized he isn't much bigger than my current dog is now: medium size. He died when he was 18 and I was 17. Although he was my brother's dog, we had a special bond since he was there when I was born and during all my growing up years.

(the door to the garage in my parents' house had this curious spring loaded feature which caused it to slam shut. we haven't been living in the house for very long when i get my finger caught in the door. the pain was so bad that i don't remember the rest.)

My mother tells me that my finger broke and they took me to emergency room. She tells me that I had stopped crying and had actually watched in fascination as the doctor put a couple of stitches in my finger. My mother got sick and dizzy and had to leave the exam room. I still have the scar from that incident. I do remember being at home later with a splint on my finger and watching my Dad angrily remove the spring from the door.

During our first phone conversation, a friend of mine asked me what my happiest memories were. I couldn't tell him because they involve two people I haven't seen in over two years who were very dear to me. I can't pinpoint one memory. There are several and they all run together as my favorites. They involve watching three movies in one day, the Tactile Dome, A Midsummer Night's Dream, watching The Ring and reenacting the Fish Slapping Dance. Sometimes when I look at my friend he reminds me of them. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the hair color or his eyes that bring them to mind.

Last night I dreamed of these two people. I was so happy I was finally seeing them. I recall hugging one of them and I could smell her skin for a moment. When I woke up, I was heartbroken that it was only a dream.

The human search for immortality or at least the desire to make an impact and/or leave a legacy in the world is immensely strong. For some people, leaving behind a family who will continue on is enough. For others, making an impact is the only way to go. For me, all I want is that the people I love and the people who move and shake me to my core remember that I feel that way about them. This is all I have ever wanted.

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