Memorable days

Apr 7th, 2008 | By | Category: Personal Columns

The problem with memories is that they always come afterwards. Times, events, moments, days, can seem altogether different in retrospect. No matter how we might try to remember forward special moments, no matter how we might try to savour particular experiences, the brain does strange things. Whole seasons can be displaced by the image of a single moment; experiences chronologically close can seem from a different time, a different life even.

Big occasions can illuminate the days around so that years can seem muddled in the memory. Times get out of order and people you knew weren’t there appear on the stage.

Summer 2004 is as fresh as last year when it comes to remembering Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel standing on stage singing “Old Friends” on a clear blue July night at the RDS. Art Garfunkel’s folded arms suggesting at times that old friends might not necessarily be best friends. But, then, last 29th June is as fresh as last month, if it comes to remembering Roger Daltrey singing at Marlay Park on a cool grey Irish summer’s evening.

People always figure larger in memories than places or events ever can and the closer the person, the larger the memories. Recall of those close to us is not immune to time lapses, the order getting muddled, or our experiences together becoming conflated, but even The Who and 30,000 spectators can come nowhere near special moments in our own family’s lives.

Michael started school in September 1995 at Downpatrick Primary School. On the first day of his first term, there were photos taken as he headed out the door – one of which I have kept in my study ever since. Tomorrow morning, he begins his last term at school, having skipped a year in the transition from Northern Ireland to Dublin. Should I have a photograph of a seventeen year old to go alongside that of the four year old?

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  1. Yes, take that photo. Michael may not be all that keen, but you will never regret it.

  2. Yes take it Ian, It will be just as memorable as his first day in years to come.

  3. Absolutely . . .I take photos of my lot at every opportunity and upload them to flickr so I can pan through them at any time.

    The memory thing is funny though, I had a huge argument with my brother once that I had never seen U2 in concert, he was adamant I’d been with them on the “Love Comes to Town” tour, described dinner at a Chinese restaurant etc. It was days later that the actual memory came flooding back. Of course I’d been with them!

  4. God! You’ve been reading my diary.

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