Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Changing Memory Lanes

Its funny when you think about it. We've all been there, and we all drive right past there nearly everyday without ever giving it a thought. But every once in a great while, something happens, we get cut off by some idiot in the traffic of consciousness and veer sharply into a memory lane.

To celebrate our birthdays, my daughter and I considered making a drive out to the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf, just for the claim chowder. I grew up on the coastline between Monterey and Santa Cruz, but I've seem to have forgotten about that.

My Grandfather was found in his apartment in a state of extreme dementia and was hospitalized for several days before being moved into residential care, so the trip was not longer a consideration but an unquestionable reality. He remembered me. (Thank you Lord and Lady.) He was happy and surprised by the visit. He talked positively about his health and his happiness, and he changed lanes here to WWII and back, but we had a nice drive.

Watching his expressions as he spoke knocked me into a lane that's been a blind spot for quite some time. I remembered when he ran his own gas station, he used to put me on the hydraulic lift and tell me if I was brave and touched the ceiling I would get a reward. Which explains why I have no fear of heights and always bought myself candy corn every time I repelled out of a helicopter or off some tower when I was in the Army.

Driving though the area I lived most of my childhood was incredibly strange as an adult. I have lived such a full life already, which seems to overshadow most of my very happy childhood. Every street, side road and back alley triggered some obscure memory or flashback. The scene of a crime I had witnessed or committed. A girl I knew. A guy I fought. A party I was invited to and the one I crashed. That one place I never wanted to leave and the one I went out of my way to avoid. Most of these memories have had a direct effect on who I am right now as I write this, except a few odd ones.

I saw a place, which lead to a memory, which lead to a memory. A memory of me watching my Aunt playing under a tree with a little boy, me. In fact several memories have surfaced which are from a third person perspective, I was watching me as a child. Which can only mean a couple of things, all of which are funny when you think about.

2 comments:

Connie said...

So glad to hear that your grandfather remembered you. Dementia is difficult. I don't have a lot of visual memory triggers - of the actual places on a regular basis - because we move so often, where I was born and grew up, where I got married, where my kids were born, etc, all different places, but there are a lot of little things that still take me back. I like that feeling.

WitchDoctorJoe said...

Yeah I can identify with moving so much. When I first moved here I would be in a part of town that reminded me of another part of another town and I would forget what city or state I was in. Once I drove around for almost an hour looking for a certain store, which as it turns out, was in Tennessee. Got my memory lanes crossed.