Some things stand out in your memory. They remain vivid, until something else comes along that tries to displace it, but yet it stays. A visit to an aunt, a day out with your family, teachers, classmates, strangers, acquaintances, places etc have memories attached (good or bad) and they inevitably become reference points. Some things could happen (dÃ?Â©jÃ?Â vu) that triggers that memory and you find yourself reliving the moment.
So it was for me recently when I saw some members of my extended family…flashbacks were the order of the day. In my memory an aunt was larger than life, one a disciplinarian, another gentle as ever and my uncle was the businessman managing a growing concern. These were some of the things that flashed when I spied them. Unbidden the memories resurfaced and gave glimpses of moments in my childhood and late adolescence.
As this was happening I was either exchanging pleasantries or looking through the crowd. My uncle was older and wasn’t as physically imposing as I remembered, I’m sure that the fact I’d also grown some played a major role. The timbre of his voice and the look about his eyes hadn’t changed despite the years. He was all decked out and this was necessary, after all it was his daughter’s wedding day. She on the other hand I had almost no recollection of, until I caught a glimpse of her as she walked down the aisle and then it was only a vague nudge that I had seen the face in the distant past.
As in all family gatherings, there were lots of pleasantries and exclamations. Some encounters were pretty disconcerting for me, for instance, my larger than life aunt didn’t show any sign that she recognised me! She wasn’t quite as bubbly as I recalled either, but with the heat, family protocol and other things to which she was subjected maybe it was just as well. I couldn’t get near the disciplinarian…she it was that taught me what it meant to stoop (classic punishment) eons before secondary school! Thankfully the gentle aunt knew me and even mentioned my name.
In the course of the church service I also saw some of my father’s friends. Blessed with facial recall I zoomed in on them and approached those I could. Some names slipped and those I couldn’t remember to save my life! The crowd made it difficult to meet them all but those I walked up to acknowledged me and sent their regards to their old friend.
This occasion was evocative and despite the bygone years, made me feel like a child once again. I’m certain this happens to everyone else (depending on how far back) when they encounter chunks of their past life. The two hours I spent at this wedding reminded me that life is a cycle and even though people and incidents remain ‘frozen’ in your memory…life continues and so do they do. Memories are precious and life richer as a result.