Wednesday, August 18, 2010
WHEN DO MEMORIES BEGIN?
We bought our house with a swimming pool in 1976. We had two grandbabies at that time: Stacey was born in 1974 and April in 1975. Before we sold the house in 1991 we added these kiddies to our list: Carley in 1976, Jimmy in 1978, Robyn in 1979, Christopher in 1982, Andrew in 1984, Jill in 1984, Brendan in 1987 and Katie in 1988. Three more babies eventually arrived but not until after we sold the house.
From the time we moved in, barely a weekend went by without us having grandchildren in the pool. Well, the picture above is of Jill. The swimming pool was not her "thing." So we accommodated her with a roasting pan, and you can see the delight on her face. But the rest of the kids made the natural progression from being held in the water by mom and dad, to wearing some kind of a flotation device with parents at their side, to little "floaties" on their arms, and finally when they were confident enough to feel impeded by the floaties, they became swimmers. During the summers I'd bring "the girls" for a week at the house. At 6 a.m. they'd appear at my bedside in their bathing suits, waiting for me to give the word. I would finally be able to pull them in about 8 in the evening. My, my those girls liked the pool. The boys had their time too. To this day they all remember those summers in the pool.
But the pool was only part of the house. We had a house with lots of rooms for kids and their toys, books, TVs -- and a garage converted into a den for them to play in. Winter weekends were spent in the den with their games and toys.
About a year ago I asked Christopher what he remembered about the house beside the swimming pool. He thought a minute and said, "Grandma, I remember the back door opened onto the room where you kept the cat potty box. That's all."
As adults, because we remember, we assume that kids remember. We had a good time, they had a good time, and we assume they know what we know. That just isn't true.
CNN today reminded us of what this year's college freshmen, the class of 2014, have for their recollection of the world: Clinton was president, computers were in common usage, Snoop Dog was known as Snoop Doggy-Dog. They know Beethoven as a dog, not a composer, Fergie as a pop singer, not a princess. The Iron Curtain is known only from history books, and during their lifetime a nation named Czechoslovakia has never existed. That's not all, but that shows you what time frame they were raised in.
So it's not surprising that while I remember that wonderful house we had and the great family gatherings around the pool and the fire pit, the kids have a vague recollection of a pool but really have no setting in which to place it. As I have sorted through my slides and digitized them, I've forwarded some to the grandkids so they can perhaps have some kind of a "flash" of an earlier time when they had no cares but did have wonderful times and Grandma and Grandpa's house. And that's what counts.