Memories: The Dusty Corners of My Mind

Memory is a funny thing. Things, places, people can slip away imperceptibly until they are gone; sometimes to be retrieved, sometimes lost forever.  I had an encounter with the limits of my own long-term memory recently when I came across an old address book of mine. It was ancient and battered and frayed at the edges. I recognized my old friend immediately.

It was a sweet journey, flicking through the pages of names and addresses and the memories that go with them. I came across the contact info for an old lover and delved into the reasons I had so enjoyed him and the good decision I made when I sliced him from my life. No regrets there.

On the front blank pages I have listed the direct international codes for several countries and European cities. This address book is from the days when I kept in contact with people by postcard, letter and the occasional expensive phone call. There are only three e-mail addresses listed – all from universities. How things have changed! I have several “beeper” numbers listed. Ah, the good old days.

I found a planned around-the-world itinerary, but I don’t remember why I wanted to spend so much time in North Africa and the Middle East. I’m certainly far less adventurous these days. Tucked into this page was a number to call for information about working your way across the world on ocean liners. Did I ever call it?

I don’t remember some of these people. Roberto from Sicily sounds lovely, but who the hell is he? Why did I have five contact numbers for Zack from Oregon, of whom I have not the slightest memory? Jess Cho – who are you and why are you in my address book? Why did I have the number for an emergency priest? I’m not even catholic.

There are little sketches and caricatures of a man I once had a huge painful crush on. I’m married to him now. Was I really considering attending Coventry University? I must have been; I have an advisor listed. And too many of the people listed are now dead. Too many.

I’m still friends and in touch with many of the people listed. And just glancing through their previous addresses brought back wonderful memories of them, myself and the person I was when I met them. But those lost corners of my memory? They bother me. How could I have forgotten Roberto, Zack, Jess and the reason I might desperately need a priest? Maybe they’ll pop back into my memory some day like they’ve never been gone. Or maybe they’re gone forever.


About Diane Dooley

Writer, Mother, Geek
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10 Responses to Memories: The Dusty Corners of My Mind

  1. That’s the sweetest post I’ve read in a long time. I think I know Zack in Oregon. He was muttering something on the Max train the other day about “who the hell is Diane [maiden name]? and why was she in my address book and why did she write me asking me who the hell I was? Were we pen pals in our childhood who perhaps wrote one letter to each other then no more? (Didier LaSalle in France, I could be talking about you.)

    Great post, Diane, cause you got me thinking and I liked your Dali picture.

  2. Diane Dooley says:

    And isn’t it funny that you still remember Didier LaSalle’s name?

    If you run into Zack again could you ask him if he knows anything about the priest thing? Thanks!

    • Yeah…I was pretty amazed. Probably because I feel guilty to this day that we only exchanged one round of letters. I think I was a junior in high school, many, many, many decades ago.

      If I see Zack, I’ll ask him. Are you sure you want to know though? Sometimes ignorance really is bliss; we forget for a reason.

      Glad you married your painful crush though. Reminds me a short story I did for AW flash where the woman found an old diary buried in her childhood backyard in a Starsky and Hutch tin (you may or may not remember that show being from Scotland in your early years and lots younger than me). In it, she predicted she’d marry her current husband. She showed it to him and he was all happy, but she at the end she confides to the reader that she didn’t show him similar gushy predictions about a bunch of other boys. LOL

  3. JLC says:

    I haven’t discovered any lost address books, but there are times when I’ll have a dream about someone I hadn’t thought about in years. Or a name will pop in my head. Honestly, I think my early and mid 20s were a blur. Thanks for posting this. What a walk through memory lane!

    PS. Zack said he wants his Eddie Murphy records back.

  4. soap says:

    Beepers? LOL Ahhh, now THAT brings back a ton of memories. 😉 I was actually just thinking of a story I have about a beeper and a painful crush (also now husband) the other day. I don’t have an address book, but I do have tons of napkins…and ticket stubs…I think even a lobster bib or two, with names and numbers. Maybe some Polaroids as well. Geez. What a great post!

    • Diane Dooley says:

      Oh, how those Polaroids do fade! It was always so great, though, to get the pic so quickly. Long ago in the days before digital cameras. Dang, now I’m feeling old!

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