They seem to be fragments. Tiny pieces that seem, initially, to have no relation to one another. But, given the right triggers, slivers of recollection from years ago combine to become coherent memories. Finally, after years languishing deep in the recesses of my brain, they claw their way to consciousness.
That is not to say, however, that newly risen memories are accurate. They may arise from a tired brain, trying to make sense of something that doesn’t.
From my early childhood, I recall walking with one of my brothers along a levee, then getting on our dog’s back and riding Ginger, the dog, like she was a pony.
In junior high school—middle school, today—my mind tells me I spent an afternoon at the home of an acquaintance, making out with a dozen girls, one by one.
While in high school, my memory tells me another student named Reed Young put me in a headlock; it was in front of a Woolworth’s store. I have no idea why he would have done it, but I remember thinking I was going to die from the pressure.
I remember a time from my first year in college when, with two friends—one from the University of Texas, where I went to school, and the other from Texas A&M—I drove to La Grange, Texas looking for the Chicken Ranch, the brothel that closed down a year or two thereafter. We may have found where it was, but we were too “chicken” to go inside.
These memories are on my mind this morning, I suppose, because yesterday afternoon we had a friend over for a drink and the conversation turned to memoirs, real and imagined. We talked about the differences between memories and autobiographies and how recollections,woven into fiction, come alive.
I wonder how much of what I remember is true and how much is simply a figment of my imagination, created by memories that aren’t quite ready to surface.