Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Memories Can't Wait

Memory can be a marvelous but mysterious thing. As you get older, you realize that events that you assume are shared memories sometimes are not. When I talk to my parents about things that I remember from childhood, I find that they have no recollection of particular events that I can recall vividly. Likewise some of the memories they mention seem completely foreign to me.

Usually when I discuss such things with my brother our memory banks are more synched up. But on rare occasion, we too find that what one remembers clearly the other is hazy on.

The latest revelation of this was memory discrepancy was the movie Go Tell the Spartans (1978). I very clearly remember seeing this in the theater with my dad and brother. It was my first "R" rated movie and I recall that it made quite an impression on me at the time. But when I mentioned it to JB the other day, he drew a complete blank. He didn't remember the movie at all and definitely didn't place it as his first "R" viewing. He asked me why our dad would have taken two young boys (me ten and JB eight) to an adult movie about the Vietnam War.

Of course, I knew the answer because I remember a lot of the details of that night. It was raining and a little cold (likely spring or fall). We intended to see whatever Pink Panther was playing at the time, but it was sold out. I don't remember exactly which theater it was, only that it had two screens. Since we couldn't get into the Pink Panther flick, our dad must have decided that a war movie, even though "R" rated, wouldn't be that damaging to our little minds of mush.

I can also remember many scenes from the movie and I know for a fact that we acted them out for days in weeks afterwards in our own games of war. A VC guerilla popping up out of a spider hole in an ambush was one that we particularly sought to emulate.

And yet, while I remember all that JB's got nuthin' when it comes to this event. The mysteries of memory.

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