Saturday, February 17, 2007

Details! Details!

On our kid's birthdays we have a tradition of "The Birth Story." After the candles and cake, everyone listens while I recount what was going on in the world around their arrival, how happy we were when they were born and all the exciting details. Pete was born the day before my 30th birthday. Very easy to remember. All his life I've told the story of how he was born on Tuesday morning at 3:00 am. About 7 years ago I got a new son-in-law whose sister is one day older than Pete. The first time he heard Pete's story he said I was wrong!! How could I be wrong? I was there!! Well, his sister was born on Tuesday. I looked it up in my journal. It said Pete was born on Tuesday. I looked it up on the internet. Pete was born on Wednesday.

The other day Dee came home from our storage garage with a folder containing my 1969 Salzburg diary. It seems I've got some details wrong! When I asked Dee to go to the Folies-Bergere with us, we were in an elevator according to the account I wrote that night, and not in the lobby. And it wasn't Folies-Bergere, it was the Lido. Except a few years later I wrote that our conversation took place in the lobby, and I said the bus incident took place on the 11th, not the 10th. But my diary says the 10th, although it said it wasn't a beautiful day when we arrived in Salzburg, it was snowing. Hmmmm....I never bothered to check my sources, but then aren't I the source? And does it matter? I mean, do you really care??? It's not like anybody is going to question me under oath or anything.

That's what this is all about. Since I didn't know the details would be important, I didn't keep track of them very carefully. But what if I was running for president? Would I be accused of lying, or flip-flopping? Would someone from Salzburg step forward and say, "She's a fraud! Her stories have changed!!" Would the nurse from the hospital testify of my 20 year deception? Would someone decide I really didn't meet Dee, or have Pete, since I can't remember all the details correctly? Would they claim I made it all up? I just think it's interesting.

Try it yourself. Write down all the details you remember of an important event in your life that happened 15 or 20 years ago. Then ask someone else who was there to describe it from their memory. Maybe you'll find some differences. Maybe you've said it was March and now you realize it must have been April. Whatever. It still happened. You were there! If it's something you really want to remember, write it down somewhere (maybe a blog). It may not be 100% accurate, but don't let it get lost in the details.

3 comments:

mama jo said...

that's funny, because just tonight kerry and i had a discussion on when she was allowed to wear makeup...i told her 6th grade...she said 9th! i know i'm right.....

Mamakas said...

So the truth finally comes out! All these years I've thought you had such an incredible memory... all those details that I have no recollection of... and now I'm suspecting lots of things have been made up (gumballs... I don't remember that -- do you know Judie's email address?).

Heidi said...

I've just been caught up in your blog for a long time, Ma. It's molto entertaining! Thanks for writing for posterity, the twins are going to be thrilled.
As far as details go, I figure whenever you say something that sounds factual, you give or take a few hours, a couple days, a few thousands... but the idea is still there. Don't worry, I'm the same way. For some reason the actual fact part doesn't stay with me, but I really grasp concepts and ideas. It doesn't help when I'm trying to tell a story about how much something was or how crazy something was. I remember the idea of it being REALLY expensive, so I say a number that sounds right... Who really cares about the stuff I say anyway? Nobody passes MY information on - I really just say things to have something to say. Hmmm... maybe that's where I get into trouble.
Love Heed