Fall is a tough time of year for me. It’s a hard thing to admit, as so many people love the autumn change of season. For me, the loss of colour and beauty as the trees shed their leaves, coupled with the darkness of shorter days, has always been personally challenging. The fall is also a constant reminder for me of where my health journey all began.
November 22, 1963. A day no one who was alive then can forget. It was the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The whole world united in mourning America’s “loss of innocence.” For me, it became a pivotal day. A day that changed my life—forever. Together we mourned a collective loss of innocence. That day, I experienced my own personal loss of innocence. A loss that would in many ways, inform the rest of my life.
As a junior high student, vice-president of the student council at the time, I’d been suffering for several years with undiagnosable health issues that had me subjected to doctor after doctor, test after test, with a predicted, yet unlikely, prognosis that I was a “perfectionist.” I was down to a shocking 85 pounds and was considered deathly ill. Although the perfectionist diagnosis was possibly the truth, it probably wasn’t a viable diagnosis for the physical symptoms. Through years of seeking and exploration, I know now, the two are absolutely connected.
A Day None of Us Would Forget
On November 22, 1963, my father, Louis, picked me up from school and we talked about the loss of president Kennedy and what it meant to us all. If I remember correctly, it had only been briefly mentioned at school that day. Perhaps that memory is lost forever, as my father then announced to me, with great relief in his voice, that the newest doctor I had been taken to finally found ‘something’. My large and small bowel had somehow twisted themselves in a huge knot, an unusual “never before seen” phenomenon, that was later written up in a prestigious medical journal.
The gastroenterologist was referring me to one of Toronto’s top surgeons who was going to “fix” me. Cut date was scheduled over the Christmas holidays and they assured my parents, who had already spent more than enough troubled days and nights, that I would be “good as new” afterward. If only life were that simple. The experience was horrific for me. That’s putting it mildly. Waking up with a tube down my nose and throat (the infamous nasogastric tube) is still so real for me that it set the stage for how I would move through the traditional medical system for the rest of my life.
The Lesson in Asking Questions
My parents didn’t really ask a lot of questions before the surgery, as they were just grateful that someone had found something. I believe that is the key moment in my life, as young as I was, that I vowed to always ask as many questions as I needed to, to be prepared and get answers so I’d know what to expect. It’s also possible I asked a lot of questions before this. Funny thing how we create a story about a memory and it becomes our “truth.” This became one of the stories in my book, Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie.Funny thing how we create a story about a memory and it becomes our 'truth.' #memories #truthClick To Tweet
That day is only one of many in my life that is not only nostalgic but one where the memories are so alive, it’s almost as if they happened yesterday. There are other key world events that create the same instant recall in me too. I happened to be in Los Angeles with my family in August of 1962 when Marilyn Monroe died. My brother Niel says he believes he remembers that we could see the funeral procession from the window in the restaurant we were eating in. That, I don’t remember.
Some years later, my best traveling buddy Sharon and I were in Los Angeles spending a fun summer. It was August 1969. Then the Manson murders shocked and rocked the world and being in L.A. immediately ceased to be a carefree summer holiday. These are two trips I have never forgotten. Precise moments in time, which created indelible memories.
New York Would Never be the Same
Years later, when my daughter’s television series Ready or Not brought us to New York to film promos for its American network. We were comfortably settled in the studio enjoying taping the segments when we felt what seemed to be an earthquake shake the foundation of the building. Everyone was visibly rattled, as there was no logical explanation for what this possibly could have been. It was February 26,1993, the morning of the day the first attempted World Trade Center bombing happened. Luckily, the bombing was somewhat unsuccessful. It was a very unsettling time for the world. Maybe a forewarning of a more tragic time, with a much more devastating event to come.
The following year, on May 19, 1994, my daughter Lani and I were back in New York and heard the sad news that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had succumbed to lymphoma. She had only been diagnosed in January of that year. We joined the world and mourned this iconic lady.
Collective Memories — 911
There is one day that likely lives vividly in all of our memories. In some ways even though it is highly individual for each of us, it has become a collective memory, as life was never the same after.Individual memories become collective memories, when our lives will never be the same. #memoriesClick To Tweet
The day was September 11th, 2001. My daughter and I had made it to an early morning screening of a film “World Traveler” with Julianne Moore and Billy Crudup, at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). There weren’t a lot of people in the theatre, with the film set to start at 9.00 am.
We had arrived a bit early, in an attempt to beat the rush hour traffic to the downtown theatre. There was a buzz in the theatre by a few people who had arrived shortly before 9, about hearing something on the radio about a plane that had flown into the World Trade Centre in New York. That was it, as the movie credits began to roll. The startling memory for me, was that the opening scene of the film, was a shot of the twin towers, of the World Trade Centre in New York. Nothing will ever erase that morning and that memory, as it is ingrained in my consciousness.
Funny Thing About Memories
As I revisited my life to write Confessions, these stories surfaced as very vivid memories. Somehow the synchronicity of the timing of my life and my travels, with these key historical events, seemed to have left a permanent impression on my memory. I believe that many people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing for these same events. The day John Lennon died is another one of those events. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?
It’s incredibly moving each year on the anniversary of JFK’s death, listening to people’s stories of where they were when they heard he had died and the impact it had on their life. For me, it brings up both the collective and personal memory of that day again. It’s interesting to look at what we remember.
Much to be Grateful For
I’m blessed to have a remarkable 101-year-old mother, Lil, whose memory is still so accurate, she astounds people. She’s an inspiration and shows what is possible. Our lives are made up of memories. As a curious observer of human nature, I’m continually amazed and fascinated by the way we spin the stories around these memories. Facts are the truth. Stories are the colour that bring them to life. That’s what is so amazing about creating your own individual life. There are so many unformed memories yet to be lived.
What are the memories that live on in you?
postscript 2016 and 2017: Another year, another November. Seems like November 2016 will be one most of us will not soon forget. The results of the U.S. Presidential elections caught many of us by surprise, after months of capturing our attention with the polar opposite candidates. My wish is that the results end up being a window to take a closer look at ourselves. What we value and what we stand for in our life. And then to go out and live it! May 2018 be the year we stand together to create the world we want to see for generations to come.
Wonderful post, Beverley. Yes, memories can be both bitter and sweet. One memory that defines many of us is 911. It is forever etched in my mind. I’ll never forget my mother calling me and telling me what happened. I turned on the T.V. and was shocked as we all were.
Thanks so much, Robin! Memories are very interesting to me as well. Sometimes we have a highly personal memory of an event that ends up becoming a collective cultural event as well. I think for all of us 911 is one of those memories that will remain alive in our memories forever. I also have such clear memories of it and know they will stay with me forever!
Memories are blessings and cursing as some people think. No matter what, I believe these are gifts for life. Both bad and good memories serve some purpose for our life.
Some of memories you indicated on the post were out of my time. Some of them present some reminders for me as I will walk through my future. The most impact one is 9/11, there are very important future events unfolded in 9/11 if we can look carefully.
Love your writing style as always
Thanks for your thoughts on how both good and bad memories play an important part in our lives, Stella. I agree. I also see how 9/11 was a precursor to so many future events. It was also a time where innocence was lost and somehow hope in the future became replaced with fear for our future. I really appreciate hearing you enjoy my writing style. It means a lot to me.
All of us who were alive at that time remember the day Kennedy was shot. I was very young, however profoundly impacted nonetheless. A loss of innocence, for sure. It is odd how so many of these events occurred while you were visiting those very places. Indelible memories.
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I think that JFK’s death will remain imprinted in all of our memories, Reba. It is one of those collective memories that is indelible indeed. I think it is also odd how many world events aligned with where I was in the moment. I also have a memory of 9/11, which maybe I will share as well sometime. Thanks for your thoughts too!
Memories are indeed an interesting phenom. One person’s truth is another’s fiction. Each Thanksgiving my clan reviews our collective oral history and echoes of “that ain’t the way I remember it” fill the house. I live for these debates.
Agree with you Kimba! I find personal memories fascinating as well and am most intrigued by how they become collective memories. Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving family memories, as I imagine that it is quite an interesting conversation. Especially when each person’s perspective offers food for the ‘debates’.
It’s funny how synchronicity kind of just blinks upon us and then we realize it’s happened! It’s strange, I was at my Mom’s 81st Birthday yesterday and asked anyone if November 22nd meant anything to anyone. This date had been bothering me somewhat that I should be remembering someone important. I was more focused closer to home and I think so was my family. “Was it somebody’s BD we were missing and death date we’s forgotten?” and “Why is this day etched in my mind?” Only to find out the next day to read your article! November 22, 1963, the year and month I was born, John F Kennedy was assassinated. I also completely remember the day John Lennon was shot and felt so awful for losing such a humble and peaceful man who we needed to keep spreading peace. Now I suppose his message of goodness spread faster and lasted longer than it would have because of his early and tragic death.
It’s amazing how ingrained November 22, 1963 is in you, Gilly! Wow, reading your experience at your mother’s birthday and wondering why the date was so memorable, really is a testament to how deeply these collective memories settle into our being. And it is the month you were born too! I also remember the day John Lennon died. I was sad, as I really resonated with his message of peace and love too. Yes, this message has continued to permeate the collective conscious and I feel we can use even more or it now considering how our world seems to be in a time of backlash for all of these ideals we hold so dear. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts here.
Wow Beverley, you dusted off an old one that is so timely now. I was in junior high also, in Brooklyn, and in fact it was the day before my classmate’s (and kindergarten boyfriend) bar mitzvah (Chuck Schumer, currently senator from NY). We were all in shock. I remember walking home from school that day, the hush, the shock. Wow.
Thanks for sharing this with me today. Powerful.
Wow, Sue! What an incredible memory you just shared with us all. Thank you. I imagine you have quite a profound memory of that time in junior high school and fascinating to hear that you knew Chuck Schumer back then and dated him too. Glad this post offered you some reflections too.
Memories can serve many purposes. Some come from love others fear . I can remember my first experience of Fear was during the cuban crisis. Fortunately it’s the happy memories I rememeber the most. During my darkest hours I used those happy memories to wrap around myself like a blanket.
Thank you Beverley Great Blog
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Pauline. Memories can serve many purposes and I find I am most curious about personal memories that become collective memories. The Cuban Missile crisis was one of those. Happy memories are like warm blankets to wrap around ourselves. I love how you shared that and I can feel the warmth they bring you too! Many thanks for your kind words.
Memories are amazing and the date 22/11 besides still remebering as a teenager when kennedy was killed is a day 5 yeas ago i was in hospital with my kidney failure, so like you I have so much to be grateful for. thank you for sharing your memories xx
Wow, Suzie! How very synchronistic to have your surgery on the same day as Kennedy was killed. That is certainly a very profound date for you now. I appreciate you sharing that memory. It’s interesting how a personal memory aligns with a collective memory in that way. xo
Very touching Beverley, and I know I’m far from the only one to say I’m really glad you learned to ask more questions!
While I can certainly tap into a few memories such as 9/11, the things I keep front of mind focus on memories of a very different nature, such as adventures, especially first times. First visits to Paris and Rome, making a childhood dream come true by visiting Pompeii, and of course romance. First kiss, etc., etc. 🙂
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Thanks Marquita. I am very happy to learned to ask a lot of questions as well. It has ultimately served me and hopefully other people as well. Yes, we all are bearers of both the bad and the good memories in our lives. For me, I found I was very fascinated with how our personal memories somehow become collective memories and how they seem to both impact the whole and also how they last. Some wonderful memories become collective memories too, so I understand your desire to focus on the sweet and uplifting ones. Thanks for sharing some of your wonderful life memories with us! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your memories, Beverley. I was a child living in Jamaica when President Kennedy died. At that time we (my parents) did not have a television, but I remember hearing the news and so many people seemed very disturbed by it.
I still remember where I was in New York City when the news of John Lennon’s death broke, as well as the events on September 11. I was sitting in my office at my desk in downtown Fort Lauderdale, FL when I heard someone in the coffee room shout out, “They did it again!” and that shout drew everyone from their desks as we all stared in disbelief at the television.
I’ve found that memories seem to emerge even more as we get older and some are things we may have suppressed for years. The mind can no longer suppress them however, so they resurface when you least expect. (I hope this autumn will be better for you. 🙂
I really appreciate hearing about your memories, Yvonne, as I am quite fascinated by how our personal memories become collective memories. Yes, they do seem to remain with us and surface, even as we get older. I honestly can remember the day my father told me about my surgery, the day JFK was shot, as if it was almost yesterday. Your memories sound very alive and I also have a very profound memory of 9/11. I would like to believe that these memories soften as time goes on, however, I agree with you that often they stay very alive in us and seem to be waiting to be released again. Thanks for your wishes for me to have a better autumn too. So far, it is better. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your personal experience. This is before my time and even though I am aware of the history, it is nice to feel a personal experience. Xoxo
Thanks so much Natasha! I appreciate hearing that you enjoyed hearing about my personal experience with these historical events. xo
Hi Beverley, I love your postscript, and what you say to me about your parents not asking enough questions speaks eloquently to me. I am in the habit of doing the same, most often through a desire not to offend. It is not a habit that serves me and I am grateful to you for drawing it to my attention again in this way, thank you.
Thanks so much Julia! I appreciate hearing that you found some things in this post that resonate with you and that gave you a new opportunity to look at them in your own life. I have learned that asking questions really is empowering, so I hope you find that for yourself and it serves you in your life.
Hi Beverley. Returning a year later to read your post and it’s amazing how much I am still able to relate to it today as I was 12 months ago. Days still have memories. I recently joked on Facebook about how history would record the day that Trump became President Elect of USA and PM Narendra Modi’s surgical strike on black money and terrorism with his demonetization drive. In reality, it was dry humor about 2 events happening on the same day that would impact the global economy going forward.
Thanks so much for taking the time to re-read this post, Vatsala. I’m so happy you found it as relatable today as you did the first time. Days do have memories don’t they. They become collective vs. personal memories and I find that intriguing too. It is still very unbelievable what happened in the U.S. election and it sounds like you have some interesting times ahead in India too. Hopefully everything is unfolding exactly as we need it to for us all to move forward in this uncertain world.
It’s amazing how some memories are burned into our minds. We can see them just like it was yesterday. I have quite a few days myself where I’ll always remember where I was and what I was doing at the time of the major event.
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I think we all have those events that do become both personal and collective memories for us, Jennifer. I also have many more than the few I shared in this post. Seems our world is becoming on where more and more world events, align with personal memories.
Wonderful post. I remember the JFK assasination well. I was in 6th grade. Our teacher gave us the news. I still remember that solemn weekend when we all realized how vulnerable life can be. My other clear memory was the Robert Kennedy death. I remember going to a day camp as a counselor. The others riding in the car were chatting away about the days events. I was insensed that they seemed to minimize this horrific event. Now realizing that we all cope in our own way helped soften the memories.
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Thanks so much for sharing your own powerful memories, Alene. I also remember Robert Kennedy and also Dr. Martin Luther King. 1968 was a very memorable year for me, as my father died suddenly that year as well. It is amazing how certain world events seem to leave indelible memories in our psyche and how they stay with us and come to the surface with very little prompting.
It’s amazing that we can recall certain personal memories with such detail.
But, the bigger life event memories hold deeper meanings of where we were and what was happening at the time. These are the memories that are life markers for us. We can remember it as if it were yesterday, yet yesterday was a long time ago. It’s also the memories that hold our generation together. It’s always a rude awakening when someone younger has no idea of what you are talking about. Thanks for memories, Beverley.
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I absolutely agree with you about ‘collective’ generational memories, Joyce. It is strange how younger people really don’t understand these memories we share. Although I do find a lot of millenials are fascinated by the 60’s and 70’s and are studying what happened with keen interest. I think many of these world events do become life markers for us and somehow it seems in our world, there are more and more of them. It will be interesting to see how in the future, the current younger generation remembers things like the recent U.S. election. Time will tell.
I remember the day Kennedy was shot. We were visiting my dad’s mom. It was a shocking experience for everyone, and particularly for someone who was 11 years old. Regarding the most recent election: Please. Don’t get me started.
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Thanks for sharing your memory of the day Kennedy was shot, Jackie. For all of us, I believe that it is a memory that will last our lifetimes. We do seem to have more of those world events these days, don’t we? Yes, the U.S. election…not something most of us will soon forget either.
Thanks for sharing your memories Beverley.
One of the memories that comes up for me is 9/11. I awoke that morning and turned on my TV in my bedroom. I don’t ever do that in the morning, but I did on this day. I saw an image of the tower smoking and heard the newscaster’s voice. I knew it was a crisis in the US and so I went into meditation. I brought in as much love and light into myself as to not be affected by others anger and pain. I wanted to contribute to the world by raising my vibration. I went about that day with as much love and joy as I could muster. People around me were lifted by this and that was my contribution. If there is nothing we can do to change a situation, we can still shift our own thoughts, feelings and vibration to assist the planet.
Thanks for sharing your memory of 9/11 Candess and I really appreciate hearing how you went within, found the love and light, and then how you spread that vibration out into the world. Reading your words I really sense how much we can use that now after November 8th’s election results. So much anger and hatred and yet what we all need most is compassion and love. I imagine you are doing the same now as back in 2001. Strange how as much as things change, in some ways we continue to be doing the same work to support transformation on the planet.
I do love November because I celebrate Thanksgiving, my husband’s birthday, and my birthday. I think that having a birthday so close to Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving and my birthday have been on the same day 9 times during my life) and the subsequent family combining of those days, coupled with the pain I felt when President Kennedy was assassinated on my 8th birthday, have led me to really celebrate my birthday. I won’t let myself be ignored anymore!
November is quite a profound intertwining of personal and world memories for you, Carol. It must be challenging to have your birthday on the same day as a family holiday and for that to possibly shift the celebration from you to it. I am happy to hear you love November, and congratulate you for celebrating your birthday and putting yourself front and centre, as you should. Happy birthday month to you and your husband and enjoy your Thanksgiving too!
Before my time, but I do remember JFK Jr VERY VIVIDLY and quite selfishly… because here I was, in labor, at home, at o dark 30 and trying to find something on TV to watch and relax me but the only thing that was on, on 7/17/1999 was news of the plane that went down… interesting how we remember stories and things based on what we see or do.
It’s interesting how you remember JFK Jr’s plane crash because of something very personal in your own life, Kristen. It seems that is something we humans do. Associate what is happening in the world with what is happening in our own lives and vice versa. I hear how vivid your labor experience was and how this world event somehow intersected it.
I admire people like you who have the gift weaving their memories into stories Beverley. There is a woman who always corners me at our networking meetings because she is trying to convince me to tell more stories in my business. Yes, I do believe that we are all somehow so much less without our stories. I think that the key for me is to know why I am sharing my story and to pull out its insight, inspiration and message for the audience and I only tend to take time to do that when I am speaking publicly.
It’s an interesting point you make, Rachel, about us pulling insight, inspiration and a message for the audience, as I always thought that as well. I have learned that sometimes it is equally okay to just put our stories out there and let them land with the reader or audience and let them take what resonates with them from your story. I think we all learn from other people’s stories and maybe it isn’t always important for us to direct what that learning will be. Thanks for the compliment too, as I appreciate hearing that people enjoy how I weave my memories into stories. Especially as that is my intention.
Isn’t it just amazing how we tie the personal to public events? It’s just about the only way I can remember specific events in my life–what was going on in the world at the time.
Interesting as well that that your school had only a mention of JFK’s death! I was in elementary school, and our school was turned out. The teachers were crying. It was a huge day for us.
I’m so glad they finally found an accurate diagnosis for you, Beverley!
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There is something quite fascinating about how our personal lives are so tied to public events, Susan. It seems this is true for us all. It’s funny that I can’t remember exactly what happened inside the school of the day of JFK’s death, but I certainly do remember my father picking me up and telling me about it and my upcoming surgery. I do remember I was speaking that day at a school assembly as I was the Vice-President of the Student Council. It was a very emotional day for me, especially as we had been looking for a long time for a diagnosis. This was the beginning of so much in my life that shaped my future.
I agree, Beverley, this November is one that is unlikely to be soon forgotten. I believe it is a wonderful learning opportunity for us all, a chance to re-evaluate what really matters to us.
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Yes, this November is sure to be a lasting one for anyone who was alive at this moment in time, Tami. It is a learning opportunity and a chance to regroup, reassess and hopefully move forward in a peaceful and productive way.
I’m a little young for these experiences. But, I do remember 9/11/2001 and the space shuttle challenger exploding. These two were ones I actually watched on television. At first i thought it was fake. Then it hit me that they were really happening at that very moment. A overwhelming sadness came over me. And all I could do is pray for peace. For the country, for the people watching, and for all the people affected.
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My own memory of 9/11 is quite profound as well, Sabrina and I image in for us all, we have our own memory of where and when and our disbelief. Having just witnessed the U.S. election results on Tuesday, I feel overwhelming sadness for all it looks like we have lost once again. Thanks for sharing your memories and the feelings that they evoked.
For me, the world event that I remember clearest where I was and what I was doing was when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up. I was a senior in high school and there were TVs all though the school in preparation for the live lesson to be taught by the teacher on board, Christa McAuliffe. I had a free period during the time of the shuttle launch, so went to the student union to watch it live. Consequently, saw the explosion live as well.
It was seeing it live that impacted me the most, I think, as others of my class weren’t similarly affected.
That’s an incredibly powerful memory, Lesa. It must have been a surreal moment for you, creating this incredible life-long memory. It’s so interesting how certain events imprint themselves on our consciousness, while other just as impactful world events, don’t. Thanks for sharing that with us all, as I imagine many people will remember that one as well, once reading yours.
I enjoyed reading through the memories that you shared Bev and everybody else as well. Like everyone, I do have many wonderful memories, some good, some not so good 🙂
I my opinion, it’s good to always learn from the bad memories and experiences and then move on.
But cherish all memories you have, good or bad, as they are a part of you and made you the person you are today.
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It’s so true that we humans do have many memories we make throughout our lives, Delia. I guess it is always interesting to look at the big world events and see how they impacted our lives and how those memories stick with us. I really do cherish my ability to hold onto the memories of my life. It’s also fascinating what we do remember and then what we don’t.
Great post Beverley. Like you, I’m not a fan of autumn because I know it brings winter – my least favourite season. I’m not sure if this is attached to memories or just because I hate the cold. I’ve managed to block out chunks of my childhood/teen years. My most vivid memories are my best – meeting Hubby for the first time and meeting my sons for the first time.
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Thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself and your memories. Or lack of them. It’s so interesting how certain seasons either bring up memories we carry with us, or are just what they are. For me, there are both the memories and also the season itself. Winter and I do not have a harmonious relationship. I love hearing about your most vivid memories having to do with your family. I have a very strong memory of meeting my former husband and also seeing my daughter for the first time. These are the memories that seemed perfect to share in my book, as you know.
It really is amazing how events, seasons and holidays can trigger both good and bad memories. 9/11 and the nomination of President Obama are 2 memories a that are dear to me. 9/11 was bitter sweet as many innocent Iives were loss and it United us. The election of President Obama was a historical event for me. I cried for my grandparents and their parents who fought for this day but were not here to enjoy it. This day symbolized progression for me.
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Thanks so much for sharing two of the memories that have impacted your life, Sharise. I think both of those have also been very prominent in mine as well for different reasons. I also believe these historical events often leave a lasting impression on our psyches and stay with us for life. It’s lovely to hear how President Obama actually had a generational meaning for you in relation to your family. Progress is a perfect word to describe his election. And yet, we’ve come so far, but we have a long way to go. Our world is constantly offering us both good and not so good events that create these lasting memories. That is what is so fascinating about our individuality. The same event can create a very different memory for each of us.
Thanks for an interesting story about the definition of memory. I believe memory is situation based, so often you remember more about ourself and where you were rather than the event in itself. There are surely many events we remember… It is of course understandable that the week after Paris one talks mostly about dramatical world memories, as people by default then start remembering other past huge tragic events. Thanks for sharing your memories.
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Thanks for sharing Katarina. Yes, I think we are experiencing so many dramatic world events, that one blurs into the next, and yet some of these memories from our childhood, stick with us and inform our lives. I agree with you that often we remember where we were and what we were doing, even what we were wearing, in relation to a bigger event happening outside of our lives. Appreciate you adding your voice to the conversation!
Nice post Beverley – yes, milestones leave us with memories and take us back decades in a split second. 9/11 is another of those for me – remembering that I was at home when I watched with millions of others as those horrific actions took place and details unfolded. Connecting with friends via phone for days as we tried to make sense of the tragedy.
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Thanks Deb. Thanks for sharing your memory of 9/11 with us. My memory of that day is so strong and is such an unbelievable story, and yet for some reason I chose not to include it. At an early morning screening at the Toronto Film Festival. Very few people in the theatre. A couple came in and I heard one of them say they just heard on the radio that a plane had possibly hit one of the twin towers. The movie was World Traveller and the opening scene was in New York, a long shot of the World Trade Centre twin towers. Only after did we learn of the full extent of what had happened. Very profound irony in this for me, and has stayed strongly with me. Memories do surface and take us back to the place and time. Amazing to me how vivid our memories can be.
I always love reading your stories Beverley! The one memory that really sticks out in my mind was my first kiss with Joe and I knew at that moment, I had found true love. I know it sounds cheesie 🙂
The other memory is my Father and I making buckwheat Galettes on Sunday morning on the wood burning stove. It was our weekly routine, nobody else was there. I remember when he let me pour my first spoon of the batter and he was so proud.
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Thanks so much Gisele! I appreciate hearing you enjoy my stories.
Love that your first kiss with Joe, really popped for you as a lasting memory. Amazing that one kiss and you “knew”. And no it isn’t chess, to a romantic like me. 😉
That’s a wonderful memory of your father and you making Sunday morning breakfast, as those kinds of experiences seem to permeated us, especially when we remember how our parent made us feel and how much we were loved. The only meal my dad ever made was also Sunday breakfast and he would make eggs and toast and we always had such a great time with him in the kitchen cooking. So many times in our lives and so many memories. Thanks for sharing a few of yours, Gisele.
You’re such a great writer. Not a lot of blogs keeps me reading that long. It’s like an adventure reading your memories.
The memories that came to me while reading about Kennedy is when I was a child in Haiti and president Duvalier was ousted. It was a scary moment because there were a lot of riots, businesses being broken into. I vividly remember my parents packing everything of value, putting them in the trunk of our car and parking the car somewhere else just in case our house was broken into. I couldn’t sleep for days, shooting everywhere, people being executed and burned alive in broad daylight.
As a child I don’t think I was suppose to see so much death inflicted to a human being by another one. I am grateful today that life is much better for me and my family. I am grateful when I see what is taken for granted in the United States how it is valued in another country as a great treasure.
Memories like that in a way made me very strong and resilient.
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Firstly, thank you so much for your kind words about my writing. It really means a lot to know that even long pieces I write, have people reading to the end.
Thank you for sharing that horrific memory of life in Haiti at the time Duvalier was ousted. Wow, that must have been very frightening and I can’t imagine it not leaving such a lasting impression on you, Webly. No, children should never have to see that much horror and violence, and yet our world is becoming increasingly desensitized as this seems to be happening almost daily somewhere in the world.
I agree with you, that people who have not experienced this first-hand are cavalier and do take our freedoms for granted. For people like you who have experienced life as you have, it does make you more conscious and more thankful for what you have. I really appreciate you sharing so openly about what must a memory you do not want to necessarily remember too often!
Okay, I have to say, i don’t remember when JFK died, meaning I wasn’t alive, but I surely remember when JFK Jr died… as I was wondering why there wasn’t anything else on TV at the weeeee hours of the morning as I was going through labor pains at home.. so I wasn’t sitting at an uncomfy hospital for hours. BTW, that day, after finally going to the hospital, within an hour ish, my youngest daughter was born. 😉
It’s interesting how you have such a strong memory of the day JFK Jr. died, as now that you mention it, I do too, Kristen. It’s fascinating when we start looking at the profound memories we have, how much they permeate us. And for you, that must be especially profound considering it was the day you went into labor with your youngest daughter. Thanks for sharing that! 🙂
Really awesome post on memories that you have shared, thanks for giving us some of the insights that you had as a young girl and to have finally figured out all of your health issues by finding that truth 🙂
I really loved when you said: “Facts are the truth. Stories are the colour that bring them to life. That’s what is so amazing about creating your own individual life. There are so many unformed memories yet to be lived.”
Such a profound and thought provoking statement 🙂
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Thanks so much Joan! Really happy your found some things to consider reading this post. I find by sharing some of my experiences, often other people can relate to a similar thing in their own life.
I am happy those particular thoughts stood out for you too. They seemed to come without thinking and there is a lot of truth to them. We are living so many unformed memories and I believe that is what makes our lives so fascinating. We constantly are creating and re-creating our life as we go. Glad that one was thought provoking for you too! Thanks, as that is one of the things it is important for me to keep doing.
Memories are an interesting thing to go through I think, sometimes they just come to you out of the blue, whilst others are jogged by events. As for asking questions regarding medical procedures, I ask so many I think my doctor was getting sick of me before I had my surgery earlier this year (first ever anesthetic and hospital stay and surgery in my life). However, I am a person who needs to know the why as well as the what in most areas, so I just kept asking away regardless. Interesting post with lots of memories Beverly, thanks for sharing.
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I agree with you Ian. Sometimes the most unthought about memory will show up out of the blue, triggered by something happening in the moment. And I love meeting others who ask a ridiculous amount of questions, as I have learned, that is the only way to be fully and completely informed. I make my choices based on asking a myriad of questions. Glad to hear you might have driven your doctor crazy asking so many, as I think people like us, keep them on their toes and not treating each person like the person before.
Memories are an interesting thing. They say that 80% or more of our memories are subconscious yet they affect us profoundly. Nov. 22, 1963, was my 8th birthday. I remember hearing about the president in school; they let us out early. At home, my parents spent time in front of the TV. My birthday party was cancelled. I was too young to understand the political significance, I only knew that I was being ignored on my birthday. I was hurt in the way only a young child could perceive. This hurt at being ignored has accompanied me throughout my life.
Carol Rundle recently posted…5 Steps to Becoming an Authority in Your Niche
What a powerful story you shared, Carol. Thank you. It really cements how even though you consciously know now that what happened on that birthday in 1963, had nothing to do with you, how much of a lasting impact one event like this can have on our whole life. As I’ve learned, these memories settle in our etheric body, in our cells, and inform so much of how we react to similar events throughout our lives. I can only imagine how hurt you were at age 8 when all you knew was that it was your birthday and no one was paying attention to you. And yes, so many unconscious memories are affecting much of who we are and how we are in the world. Yet, we aren’t even aware of them. Appreciate you sharing yourself so openly!
There are moments in both world and personal history that change our lives in various ways. Reading this brings up several dates that are significant to me including today. Thanks for sharing your stories.
Jennifer Hazlett recently posted…Does Fear Get In Your Way?
Thanks for reading and reflecting on this piece, Jennifer. Yes, it is interesting how world events ingrain themselves in our memories and somehow inform our lives from then on. Hopefully some of the dates that surfaced for you are of happy memories, although the times we live in seem to have a fair share of events we all wish we didn’t have to experience,
It is amazing how many people seem to think what a doctor tells us is gospel. I believe now a days most people know to ask questions and that you don’t HAVE to do what your doctor tells you to do. I’ve suffered for years with severe IBS. Can’t tell you how many doctors I saw to no avail. Finally after transitioning to a plant based diet, all symptoms are completely gone.
As for memories, I do have vivid memories of tragic times in history as well as in my family including the day my father told me he had to move out. That was the only day I ever saw my Dad cry. But I also have incredible memories of playing “newspaper reporter”with him, listening to his bulldozer stories (yes he actually told his children stories about bulldozers and there was always a moral to each one, and the feeling of my dad’s arms around me. My dad, my rock, miss him terribly.
We are all products or our memories and experiences something I was telling my daughter only last night as she sat crying next to me, her heart crushed over a recent break-up with her boyfriend. I believe both happy and sad memories are important in teaching us about ourselves & all a part of growth.
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I would say that back in the early 60’s doctors were still revered and especially in my case when doctor after doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with me. My parents were relieved to have someone offer something. That’s how ill I was, Lisa. Lesson learned from this early childhood experience though. The lesson of asking questions and never taking just one “opinion” at face value. And like you, I know there is always another way. It is a matter of us doing the exploration and finding the way that works for us.
Thanks for sharing this memory of your father. It sounds like that one day was a very powerful day for him and for you. Love how your dad told you stories and how you remember the morals shared in each one and also the intimacy of having your father hold you. I really miss my father too, as he was a master story teller who I adored. Even 40 plus years after his death, he is still so vivid to me.
Memories definitely shape and often define us, and although it is best not to let the past shape our future, often these memories settle into our cells and become cellular memories that we aren’t even consciously aware of. Sorry to hear about your daughter’s breakup and her sadness, although as you say, all of these someone go together to help us grow and learn more about who we are.
My grandmother was a remarkable storyteller, in part I think, because she found the times she was living in remarkable. She’s been gone for more than 30 years, and I find some of her stories difficult to recall in detail. I believe writing our stories down leaves a great legacy.
I’ve begun a series for a book I’ve entitled “Four of Thirteen.” I write about the kind of memories from my lifetime that seemed so pivotal to me (and society) – our first TV, hulahoops, air raid drills, “buying” pagan babies in our Catholic elemantary school, polio vacine distributed on Sundays at the local high school, JFK’s election and assasination, the Beatles arrival in America, the moon landing, even mini skirts and the invention of pantyhose! For me, life was lived through the filter of being the fourth of 13 children, even into my adulthood.
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Thanks for this wonderful sharing of your grandmother and her stories and also how you are writing a series of books based on your memories of so many key events that shaped us both culturally and personally, Jane. I love that you are including the fun and positive moments, as well as the less positive ones. For any of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s there are so many to recall. It is partly because of the times and the astrology of the “seeds” being planted during this era, which impacted and informed the next 50 years of society. Your book series sounds really fascinating and just being the 4th child in a family of 13, must be fonder for so many stories and references that many other people would not have had. And yes, writing our stories down, is so important to preserve them and share them with others. Appreciate your voice in this conversation. I look forward to reading more of your stories when you chose to share them.
I clearly remember JFK’s death and mention it because of what you said about not hearing much about it at school. I was teaching school, second grade, and we teachers decided not to tell the little ones – 5 through 8 years – until the end of the day because we didn’t think they can process it well enough in a group. We trusted the parents to help them, as your dad did.
Of course we all have vivid memories of 9/11. My husband and I were in NYC. Staying in Brooklyn because we were visiting his son and family who lived there. We were about to go into Manhatten when we were told to evacuate the hotel and we walked down to the river and actually saw the buildings fall. We had eaten in one of them a couple nights before and thought of the nice young servers. It wasn’t the time of day when they’d have been there. Our sons both called us and gave us differing advice. We couldn’t get a plane 2 days later when we’d planned to leave and rented a UHaul truck to drive to California. So many memories.
And now Paris. Wonderful, personal post, Beverley.
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Wow, Beth, that is quite an extraordinary experience you had with 9/11. I also have a profound memory as I replied to Vatsala and yet I didn’t chose to include it in the post. It must have been a surreal time for you being in NYC on 9/11 and having to both witness it and then find a way to make it back home. It sounds very traumatic and I can’t imagine not having a lasting memory of that day.
Memories are very powerful indeed and somehow they stay with us and colour so much of our lives from that moment on. I also think those of us who were alive when JFK was killed, remember the where and when of that day. It is very interesting to hear how your school treated it. No-one was really equipped to handle that conversation at that point in our history and yet, in today’s world, these kinds of incidences are public news within moments because of social media.
Appreciate you sharing your memories and thanks for your support of this very personal post!
It is strange how 1 memory or event can remind us of other events from the past, isn’t it, Beverley. For 2 years 9/11 was the memory of the attack on US soil and then in 2004, it was the day before my father’s funeral and I remember one of his colleagues and a family friend had dropped by to condole and mentioned ‘do you know what is happening to your Jamaica?”.
The reference was to landfall of Hurricane Ivan in Jamaica and in fact, I had flown out on Wednesday, the 8th on the last flight out of the country before the airport was closed because Ivan was fast approaching and cut off the country from the rest of the world for almost 12 days.
Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Awaken Humankind- calling out to the Spirit of Resilience
Thanks for sharing your memory story, Vatsala, as for most of us, Hurricane Ivan in Jamaica, wouldn’t have anywhere near the same impact it had for you. It is strange how these events becoming defining moments in our lives. I have very clear memories of 9/11 as well, as my daughter and I were in an early morning screening of World Traveler at the Toronto International Film Festival. Hardly anyone was in the theatre and someone walked in and I heard them say that they just heard on the radio that one of the World Trade Centre Buildings had reportedly been hit by a plane. The movie began and the opening scene was of the World Trade Centre Twin Towers. I will never forget that. Only after did we learn of the magnitude of the event.
Honestly, I’m not a huge memory person. I hardly ever make a mental note of what happened & where I was. With that said, I was buying lunch in a deli in NYC when we heard it. With 9/11 I was getting up & our phone rang- turn on the tv & the rest is history.
You have amazing memories. It would be wonderful if a bad medical or hospital experience didn’t color the rest of our experiences.
It’s interesting that the only memory I didn’t include in this piece is of 9/11. And yet, my memory is so vivid and I can recount it to a tee. I also found it interesting that you don’t see yourself as a memory person, Roslyn. Maybe that is actually a good thing. And seems for me many of these memories are formed around the unfortunate world events. I do have amazing memories, thanks for noticing that. And it would be wonderful if the bad hospital and medical events hadn’t left such powerful memories with me. And yet, that is where many of my stories were born.
Memories? Some good, some bad! The only memory you shared that I recall where I was when I received the news was JFK’s death. I was a young mother at home with our 9 month old daughter. My husband called me from work and told me to turn the TV on because the President had been shot. I recall being glued to the black & white TV as I felt a fear for our country. My thoughts were that the Russian’s were taking over our country as that was the big fear back then.
I recall all the other events you listed but I have no idea where I was or what I was doing. Your surgery reminds me of when I had hysterectomy surgery and the pain I had upon waking up. They did not give me anything for pain for quite some time… it is a horrible memory of desperation. I never want to have surgery again in my lifetime.
Thanks for sharing your memories.
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You have amazing and vivid memories as well, Pat. I think for many of us, JFK’s death, is ingrained in our memory. And that fear of the Russian invasion, I also remember tied with that time in our history. It was interesting to me how alive the where and when were for the other “world” events too.
I can really envision your pain (having experienced my own kind of unbearable pain as well) relating to your surgery, and it is always interesting how we do remember the hardest of our times. Although, people say that if women remembered the pain of giving birth, they wouldn’t do it again. Somehow that pain memory does not remain. Thanks for sharing your memories, as it is always interesting to hear from others who have similar life experiences and how they remember them.