I realized this week that there are so many little details that make a memory. Still, there are so many details that we simply forget. For example, when you hug your mom, and for some reason it smells like home. Or when you smell bacon and eggs, and remember Sunday brunches. Remembering the little things about people, how their eyes and noses scrunch up sometimes when they laugh, it’s the small details that help to form the pictures in our head–our memories. It’s strange because our brains remember such small details but sometimes forgets many of the greater details.

In I Remember, there are so many of these little details. Some of them are very common and resonate with many people, many seem to jog up distant memories. I think for me, the line that stuck out the most was “red and green plastic forks.” It reminded me of backyard birthday parties, the fourth of July, picnics, and summer barbecues.  Brainard doesn’t actually tell us about a particular moment that happened, he just gives us bits and pieces from many memories but they formed a bigger picture. I think all of us can relate to him at least a little bit.

My favorite essay this week was Nostalgia for Everything. I loved the imagery, how Codrescu talked about the world falling apart and bitter coffee. In my opinion, it was written perfectly. I felt so nostalgic reading about it, despite never actually experiencing those moments.

I also loved Westbury Court. It reminded me of my old apartment building (which was called Princeton Court, I thought it was funny). I used to compartmentalize the people who lived there. The old lady with the yapping dog that lived on the B side, my evil neighbor in 3C who cooked fish and opened the door (making the WHOLE hall smell like fish…ugh). I remember trick-or-treating around the apartment building, the lady from 3C threw a dime at me and my friends…Westbury Court jogged up so many old memories. I remember the botox lady from 4B who was always smiling (you can guess why…). I remember the evil landlord, who never turned the heat on in the winter. My dad had to call these inspector people, and only then would our landlord turn on the heat (he got notices alerting him to their arrival). I remember sort of bonding with the other people in our building who hated him.

Every essay we read in class this week used seemingly insignificant little details to paint a bigger picture to show readers how it really felt to be in that moment. I’m in a SINC site right now. I can hear someone printing pages and pages of work, everyone’s voices blend in together in a murmur so only bits and pieces of conversation can be heard. I hear clicking and typing and the AC is turned down way too low. These are the details I will remember when I think back to the Library SINC site. These are the little details that make up a memory.

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3 Responses to Memories.

  1. I really liked what you said about “I Remember” – that Brainard included bits and pieces of memories without putting them in context. I also think that was interesting, because it allowed the reader more room to insert their own memories – like the times that THEY used “red and green plastic forks”. If he had just talked about a time or situation in which he used plastic forks, the effect wouldn’t be the same. I also really liked what you wrote about “Westbury Court”, and how you can relate to some of the experiences. I also like how you said you used to “compartmentalize people” – identifying them by one or two details and what apartment they lived in. That sounds very interesting to me! I think that you are right when you say that small details are the essence of a memory. We remember smells, flashes of images, the way something felt, above the content of the event itself.

  2. I agree, I would love to read an essay written about your experiences in Princeton Court. Sounds like your essay would be a pleasant one to read compared to Westbury Court!

  3. thaque29 says:

    I loved what you said about how our mind sometimes focus on seemingly insignificant details while omitting the larger aspects of the memory. I have a memory where I was being told something that would take me years to get over, and all I can really remember now is that it was raining, and the beige color of the sweater that was being worn by the person delivering the bad news. Those things are so vivid, I could write an entire essay about just the pattern of the raindrops. But the actual words are transient. I remember the basic gist, but cannot pinpoint the exact words. I think in some ways, I think it points to what we really find valuable about a particular memory.

    I also agree with your interpretation of Brainard’s piece. While I didn’t personally find his style to be the most entertaining, I do agree that it represented what you mentioned about how memory works. He mentioned many seemingly insignificant aspects of a larger memory, and because he didn’t actually go on to further explain himself, many readers were able to connect with the little details he included.

    I also thought your humorous details about your old apartment building made me feel nostalgic about it too, despite me having never lived in an apartment building. I think nostalgia is somethings humans have developed to further achieve the social bonds that we need to survive.

    Your post hit on some really crucial things about the week’s theme, and I think the last paragraph about the SINC site was written perfectly, and I smiled while I read it, because, I too am in a SINC site as I am writing this comment..

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