Narrative Psychology: How memories work – an example

Narrative Psychology: How memories work – an example

Something I posted today on my Facebook page:

What a magnificent mountain morning. The air is clear, crisp and clean from several days of thunderstorms. Temperature was 40 degrees when we woke up this morning (at the first light of pre-dawn, as usual for us mountain folk). This morning reminds of those wonderful Sunday mornings and a kid and memories of Sunday mornings with my young children- all laid back, casual and comfortable – staying in our robes and/or jammies all morning long, no deadlines, no chores (regular office hours in those days) and school for the kids on the weekdays – Saturdays were either a trip to someplace like Disneyland, the museum or the park or yard work or painting around the house. So on Sunday morning, you didn’t feel you hadn’t done your job – either the week before or at home the day before. Pancakes and bacon were often the order of the day – sometimes homemade hash browns, with orange juice, coffee and milk. And then the day ahead – play (with toys for the kids, perhaps on the guitar or with my coin collection for me) and a nice Sunday dinner, like roasted chicken breasts, white rice and a veggie like my mom used to make or maybe chicken pot pies that the kids liked. Once in a while, when we could afford it, mornings were off to IHOP for a special breakfast. (Still remember how a pack of crackers in cellophane would keep baby Keith busy until his food arrived. Mindi liked to color – and eat the crayons.) And, about once a week, usually on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, we could scrape together $10 and clean out all our money to buy MacDonald’s for us with Happy Meals for the kids. Looking back, I can’t believe how much they enjoyed those little toys that came in the bags, not to mention the burgers or nuggets and fries. So, today reminds me of all that – and much more. But I’ll just leave it here for now…. More – My cousin just wrote about this post on my other site: “You could have been writing about our home life back in the day. It gives me warm fuzzies to reflect back on those special times that didn’t seem so special while they were occurring.” To which I replied: “Too many other things going on when the events actually happened to isolate the pearls at the time. Though the recollections are now idealized, lumping all such experiences into one perfect capsule, they are the essence of what life felt like in general in those days. And the power of the “warm fuzzies” informs my emotions today, making me feel as if it is all happening now – creating those feels (or re-creating them) “live” in the present, with an intensity and emotional clarity not possible back when the memories were formed, a bit here and a bit there, over time until the truth they all hinted at can be fully appreciated in their essential nature, all at once, and repeatedly accessed moment to moment, every day when I pause to look back, look up to see around me, and look forward at what may come.”

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