The Prompt: good times, remembered and forgotten

The Prompt 30

The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out of his nose. Garrison Keillor


I find as I get older my recollections of childhood fade more and more into a blur of mixed memories and imagined moments. Do I really remember my fourth birthday, with the wonderful gingerbread house cake made by my aunt, or have I simply looked at the photo so often that a memory has been made, absorbed into my subconscious, become real through repeated recall.

Do I remember the day my sister and I made a mud pie in the old baby bath before climbing in and taking a ‘bath’ in it? Or has my mother told the story of having to carry us fully clothed into the house, plonk us in the bath and attempt to clean the mud off so often that it is a memory as real to me as that of what I did yesterday?

Primary School is a series of flashes. Seven years condensed down to a few moments in time. First crush; first boyfriend (in that wonderfully innocent way of seven year olds); fainting, aged ten, during a chapter of The Tripods being read aloud in class; turning somersaults over railings in the playground; running home with slips of paper clutched in my hand after book fairs, desperate for that next book; violin lessons; our music teacher wearing odd shoes; best friends, old friends, new friends.

Secondary School is even hazier. Perhaps deliberately forgotten; washing away teenage angst, fallings out, heartbreak. Those tough years, that make us who we are, but are often hard to relive.

I sometimes wish I had clearer memories of the good times; of the special moments of my childhood. The freeze frames that remain offer little by way of context or detail, or indeed emotion.

Is this unusual? Is this simply what happens as we age? The clarity of memory fading. As much forgotten as remembered? Moments seemingly gone, until they return unbidden, in sudden bursts. Triggered by a song, a smell, a sense of deja vu.

Will it be the same with memories of my children? Those early days with my eldest are already getting misty around the edges; I worry that I will forget how I felt, how he giggled, how hard and amazing and scary it all was.

Is this why I blog? In fear of all that I have already forgotten, to ensure that more is remembered.

My late grandmother was the most wonderful storyteller; I wonder if her ability to recall so much is due to a lost art; that of telling and retelling stories from our past to ensure that they are passed down and remembered. In this world of distractions, have we allowed this skill to die, leaving us without a narrative of our lives?

Or will our digital photos become our narrative, our days captured through the lens, our stories told in images. Less concerned for number of photos taken; no film to buy, no negatives to lose; simply catching the moments as they happen. The gigs of data stored and backed up and saved (but never printed?).

I have the highlights of my childhood safe inside; they may be few, but they are special. For those former years, they will have to be enough.

For the future, I will record. I will tell the story of my good times, my special moments. To be remembered and not forgotten.


You can find this weeks #ThePrompt linky here. I do hope this topic inspired you; I look forward to reading your posts.

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19 thoughts on “The Prompt: good times, remembered and forgotten”

  1. I often wonder the same thing – do I actually remember or am I simply recalling photos? Not wanting to take chances all my kids have baby record books which i’ve been meticulous about updating! The older genera were ofren amazing storytellers – it’s definitely a lost art for the most part :( xx

  2. Interesting post! I’ve a very nostalgic person and I love thinking back to my childhood which was a very happy one. That said, my memory has probably poured a rosy tint over all of it – it’s certainly the good times I remember over the bad. I do a lot of reminiscing with my family (parents, brothers etc) which I guess is a type of storytelling. We remind each other of the time my brother made grilled, chocolate covered bananas which came out looking exactly like dried dog poo and laugh about it just as hard every time! I guess this type of thing crystalises my childhood memories and helps me remember snap shots. With my own kids I sometimes find it amazing/sad when I think of how little of any of the last few years they will remember but I think, with childhood memories, the sense and emotion of it leaves a lasting impression more than individual memories do. I like your idea of recording the good times to keep forever. Thanks for the prompt! xx

  3. This is such a wonderfully evocative post, Sara…took me back to my own childhood.
    The memory is amazing but fallible. In my head, the summers of my childhood were sunnier and longer and the winters snowier. In reality, my mind is taking memories from several years and putting them together. That said, I am a visual person so many objects are able to evoke memories. The more powerful the memory, the ore likely I am to remember it.
    Really lovely (and interesting) post. X

  4. A beautiful and thought-provoking post. I love blogging too to preserve the memories in case they start to fade. I have a few clear memories here and there from childhood but mine too are quite fuzzy around the edges and some may be just as a result of seeing photos and being told the story. We are very lucky in being able to capture the moments so easily but as you say, the constant distractions may be eroding our abilities to preserve memories and tell stories.

  5. Did you ever keep diaries as a teenager? I kept a lot of diaries and held on to them for years before eventually binning the lot! I’m sure if I’d read through them it might have tapped me back into those emotional days of late childhood and the teenage years but I could never bring myself to do it – it was just too cringeworthy! I know what you mean though about blogging being a way of recording our lives (but not necessarily our emotions as we experience them). I desperately wanted to hold onto the memory of giving birth to EJ – my lovely water birth – I felt so emotional about it, I loved it and treasured it so much and as the months went by it became a little bit less special a feeling and then a little bit less special again, but I’ll always know that it was a precious moment and I’m glad I blogged about it…

  6. I think you’re right…a lot of our earliest childhood memories are probably suggested by photos and our parents talking about them. It doesn’t make those memories any less special, though. Blogging about your children is a wonderful gift to show them how loved they are, and as a narrative of their childhood x

  7. I can help you out with your high school memories! I was there! Definitely not writing it on here though….;) (you’d kill me and our mothers would freak out!) We did have a great time, most of the time…….and kissed a few frogs!

    1. Your memory has always been far better than mine :) Although, once we start chatting it does tend to come flooding back! We definitely kissed a fair few frogs :)

  8. True, good memories deserve to be preserved and passed on. I really wish I could have asked my Grandma more questions before she passed away. Digital photos really do take the fun out of pulling out faded old photos from the trunk, but at least we have more of them!

  9. Such a lovely post and it is true we forget so quickly. My little man is only 2, but already those newborn days seem so long ago and a little fuzzy round the edges. And for that reason I’m glad I blog, I look back at older posts and I know they would have been long forgotten memories if I hadn’t recorded them somewhere! x

  10. Potty Mouthed Mummy

    This was lovely to read. I definitely want to take lots of pictures and record memories. I don’t have many physical reminders of my childhood. No baby book, not many photos. I want to try and remember it all for h and for him to remember too xx

  11. Love this evocative post Sara and my memories of childhood aren’t so good either! I used to keep diaries in my teen years and received lots of letters from a penpal. I re-read them all a few years ago, which was an all too painful reminder of teen angst and so I burnt the lot!
    Here’s hoping that blogging will keep the memory alive for all of us in the future x

  12. Lovely thoughtful pondering post. I have very hazy memories until I was about 16. I think we end up blocking up unhappy ones I guess. Not that I had an unhappy childhood but teen years are pretty tough and i dont think I stopped being a horrible teen until I was about 18!

  13. I often wonder those exact things. My daughter now goes to the school I went to as a child and it has provoked a lot of memories I thought I’d forgotten.
    I kept journals on and off from my mid teens until now, so I have snippets I can refer to; some happy, mostly painful.
    You have such a lovely record of your children here that even though the memories will fade, you’ll still have this xxx

  14. Lovely post Sara, my childhood memories are VERY hazy and I wish I had more concrete things to help me remember. I lost my dad when I was 10 and I wish I had more memories of him. That is part of the reason I started this blog, so Baby never feels as I do and that she has lots of concrete history x #ShareWithMe

  15. This is one of my absolutely favorite prompts you have written. So true. This was the start of my blog and its become much more than that my primary income now too but for the most part it will always central around trying to capture memories, moments for my kids and me to remember and never be forgotten. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me! Beautiful words! #sharewithme

  16. Pingback: Share With Me ~ wk 30 | Let's Talk Mommy

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