Memories Are Long

When I was a child, my family would travel” around the country in the station wagon a few summers in a row,  two weeks at a time.   I know Mom fretted some that I was too young and the trips would be wasted on me, but I have a considerable number of specific memories about those trips.

I am not all that clear about which year we went where, or even where all we got to on a given trip.   I know there was a trip east/northeast, and a trip west, and a trip south.  Each trip covered a whole lot of ground.

I remember visiting a southern town on the Mississippi River sometime between 1958 and 1963 I would guess.  I believe it was Vicksburg.  We took a tour of a beautiful, fine southern mansion.  I remember the tour guide pointing out the never repaired holes in the exterior walls put there by Northern gunboats on the river.  I remember that I, being a very young child, felt fear because there seemed to be so much anger/hatred/resentment/something in her voice that indicated she was still holding a grudge against that Northern aggression.

That was just under 100 years after the Civil War.   From my perspective at the time, the Civil War was forever ago!!!  That the woman would still harbor antagonism against Northerners was astonishing to me.  Today I understand that 100 years is just not that long.   If you are speaking to a person over the age of 50, he or she was raised by someone who is almost certainly over the age of 70, and that person was raised by someone over the age of 90, well, you see where this is going.  And those numbers are conservative.

You could easily be speaking to someone who spent many hours talking to a grandparent about times that are 100 years prior to your conversation.

Memories are long.  Want proof?

Respondents were asked, “When you think about the Civil War, if you had to choose, would you say that you sympathize more with the northern states that were part of the Union or the southern states that were part of the Confederacy?” Support for the Union was overwhelming in the Midwest (68%), Northeast (79%), and West (84%), but in the South, only 48% said they were more inclined to sympathize with the Union.

Why Man Creates – Memory of a Movie

I attended high school from fall of 1969 through the spring of 1973.  In that four years, I was shown the movie Why Man Creates two or three times (I’m really leaning towards the three).  It is a strange flick and most of it I only vaguely remember.

I do, however, vividly remember one long sequence.  I do no so much remember what all was in the sequence, but I remember what it looked like.  The conceit was that we are looking at one long continuous sheet of paper scrolling across the frame top to bottom.  As the paper scrolls, a pencil point enters the frame and draws (very quickly) illustrating the history of mankind.

I can still remember the dark ages going by as the pencil draws tall towers with arched shuttered windows.  Then one shutter opens up and a man leans out and says “Egads!!  I’ve invented the zero!”.  Another shutter nearby opens and a man leans out and says “What?”.  The first man responds with “Nothing.  Nothing.”

I am a big lover of puns and I thought that was great.  I’ve always remembered it.  Or did I?

As you can see, the movie does not quite conform to my memory.

The nerve.

I see that I took my favorite “dialogue” from the movie and inserted it into the memorable sequence (the pencil sketching). Then I forgot all about Allah and substituted “Egads!”. Those two things combined gave credit for the discovery of zero to the wrong culture.   This memory persisted even though I knew better regarding where the credit lay.

This makes me wonder about the veracity of my clear memory of writing the song American Pie. I’m sure McLean stole it from me….