Where Does Memory Come From?

My heart skipped an extra beat when I was talking to my sister Susie this holiday to wish her season’s greetings.  At the same time, I was thinking how to finesse a segue to her memories of the day I burned my leg, which I realized was probably impossible to do so subtly.  And so I just asked, “On another note, Susie I have this memory of you telling me that you smelled me burning and told mom to go upstairs and check on me.  Is that at all accurate?”  Susie, the consummate Ph.D. in psychology, paused as she would normally do to process the question and her response.  “I have to tell you Annie,” she said and hesitated a bit.  “I don’t remember a thing about that day.”  My mind swirled.  How could that be?  The story I long remembered was that she and I were playing downstairs in the basement.  Mom was with us just feet away, ironing and talking on the phone.  I saw that image clear as day.  How could Susie, who was a whole 18 months older than me, not have any recollection? 

“How old would I have been then,” she asked. 

“You would have been 3 and a half.  I was just a couple weeks shy of two.”

“Well, I guess that’s why I don’t remember anything.  I was so young.  I’m sorry.  Tell me what you remember.”  And so I did, my memory being much more vivid than what she knew or recalled, even though I know she was there with me that day.

Where exactly does memory come from?  How can we recollect something so clearly that someone else hasn’t registered?  It’s one of those mysteries that has to be accepted and is absolutely befuddling.  I so wanted confirmation of my memory and at the same time, know that when you embark on a journey to uncover the past, you simply have to accept whatever it is that you find.

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2 Comments

  1. “photographic memory has never been demonstrated”. Memory secrets and myths .I have never enhanced or perfected this ability but my mind can form an image of a written page and I read the page in my mind instead of reciting from rote memory. I can’t imagine how Moslems can memorize entire Koran and Jews entire Torah. I am a mason and enormous amount of recital must be memorized but far from what these priests do. By the way have you seen my car keys ?

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  2. Anne, I could write a book in response to your questions about memory. As you know I am a hypnotherapist. I regress people back in time to childhood memories and to times when you are in the womb. Our memories get stored in our subconscious minds. Actually everything that has ever happened to us is stored in our central nervous system as pictures, sounds and feelings and they are usually stored in a gestalt of memories related to a particular emotion.

    You do not have to relieve the pain from the experience. You can go and observe the event from a disocciated perspective. You can also rescue that little girl. What happened that day can be uncovered from your perspective safely. And of course it will be slightly different than your sisters. The thing is that when are memories are stored we usually connect them with a belief about ourselves, or about life or even about a family member. Working with a hypnotherapist can bring clarity and heaing.

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