I don't always listen to Midweek (with Libby Purves) on Radio 4 but did catch some of the programme last week and was drawn in by what Hunter Davies (plugging his new book The Co-Op's got bananas) said about his own memory.
Poor memory can seem a problem (if not a curse) for many - the moment in the exam hall where it all fades or seeing someone whose name eludes us but Hunter made what I thought an interesting point about how he 'chooses' (and recognises, too some extent in himself this characteristic/trait) and it has served him well.
Davies lost his wife of 55 years (the writer Margaret Forster) earlier this year and seems stoic about this but what it was that got me thinking about memory in this context was the way he spoke of his own removal (at some level) from his memory of her double mastectomy around forty years previous to her death - he said this was an example of his 'ability' to 'forget' and led him to a happy life - and perhaps this flexibility is something those of us who are relatively content share with Hunter.
Local environment change
Talking of memory I'm (almost) endlessly fascinated by the way we absorb change in our lived environment - whether it's restaurants changing their names or buildings that shoot up (almost overnight) I suppose even in earlier times man was surrounded by change - the seasons, trees blowing down and so on.
|Behind Coral's there used to be a massive cinema when I first moved to the area.|
Perhaps the way we survive and prosper after serious disasters (man made and 'natural') is again selective memory - how would Germany have moved on without distancing itself from the WWII atrocities.
|Hand holders in public|
I was on the tube the other day and saw two women kissing (and in amore than friendly way) - this was just fine with me and other travellers but years ago would have caused massive tut-tutting.
The changes around more tolerant attitudes towards race and sexuality seem a long distance to travel in a single lifetime but for many they came too late.
Tulips in the garden, Tulips in the park
|but the two lips I like best are two lips in the dark|