On occasion, I’m asked, “How do you remember things so far back like you do?”
There’s no simple explanation for such. I chalk it up to several different factions.
Early on, I was inquisitive of my grandparents. I wanted to know more about their lives including that of relatives long deceased. “Where did they come from?” was often repeated like a broken record.
Dad and Mom supplied me with much of my own primitive history, as did older brother, Jim. His memory is still sharp as a tack.
I’ve maintained contact with childhood friends. Everyone remembers something about their adolescent years, and a shared tidbit can help unleash trapped recollections. The Jet Drive-In in Selma, Alabama is a prime example.
There were only certain things I recalled about the place, until a former classmate supplied me with additional information. I can now visualize it clearly without fog.
I learned to write things down. By merely placing thoughts onto paper, it chisels them into the brain as well.
Throughout my life I elected to not experiment with alcohol or drugs. Seeing what they did to my own family member and friends, I had no use for mind altering substances. That played a key part in keeping my brain cells alive.
Foremost at this stage of my life, newspapers helped immensely in rekindling memories. More on that at the end of this spiel.
I was chatting with someone a while back about newspapers, and they mentioned they’re no longer receiving or reading them. This includes online editions. Before asking why, the lady immediately went into a lengthy tirade about getting all the news she needed via social media and the internet.
Desperately wanting to reply, “You must be well uninformed!,” I wisely bit my tongue. Quite often, I have a way of blurting out abrasive comments and suffering the consequences. My younger years were full of verbal and physical encounters from bluntly speaking my mind.
Just recently, I was reading an article on one of those social media forum sites. It was a link to a newspaper story that a forum member attached. I was able to read it in full because I’m a subscriber. One man was evidently blocked after a few paragraphs. My attention quickly turned to all the racket he made via crass and uncalled for comments.
Profane language, combined with him unintelligently trying to claim that newspapers should provide news for free got my attention. The word “uninformed” came to light once again.
People like him have no problem doling out hundreds of dollars for cable or dish news, yet quickly become misers in other areas. For him to say that newspaper news should be free is beyond lame. Amazing as it sounds, he’s not the only one “out there” uttering such.
Newspapers have done lots for me over the years besides providing local coverage. I subscribe to a site that supplies archived newspaper stories going back to the 1800s. I’ve been able to find articles regarding different events that helped fill in missing pieces of my life.
In 1950, my mother was seriously burned in a fire. I discovered several articles on this accident in the Vernon, Alabama, “Lamar Democrat” newspaper. Dad was overseas at this time, and only through multiple community reports, did I find my brother was taken care of by grandparents on Mom’s side.
A short clip in the “San Bernadino County Sun” dated, July 11, 1957, told the story of an accident my father was involved in on Route 66. He was riding in a Corvette with another man near Victorville, California when their sportscar left the road and crashed. I knew bits and pieces about the accident, yet this story written by a newspaper reporter filled me in on the rest.
In the late 1950s, I was playing behind our trailer home in Selma, Alabama when a man standing on a mobile home roof next to ours was electrocuted while installing a TV antenna. Neither Dad nor Mom could accurately remember details to what happened to the fellow. Mom believed he was killed.
Researching things, I found a newspaper article in the March 10, 1958, issue of “The Selma Times-Journal” describing everything about this accident. The individual survived as I thought he did, although he lost a severely burned arm. Another article dated a year later mentioned that the airman was able to rejoin active duty status with the Air Force.
That same year in Selma, our neighbor and friend, Lt. Richard Herndon was killed in a military plane crash. Newspaper articles brought me up to speed on his tragedy. I didn’t need a newspaper to vividly recall the wreath placed on Mary Herndon’s trailer door days after that tragedy.
I was a Cub Scout in 1960. A short newspaper piece in the community section mentioned me including all the other kids. It even told who our den mother was as I’d completely forgotten her name.
On July 19, 1960, Dad with one of his friends, Jim, and me, were fishing near the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma. A couple of older boys were swimming in the Alabama River down from us. The next day, Dad informed us that after we’d left, one of the swimmers drowned. I was able to confirm that sad story and date things through an old newspaper article.
I could go on and on about events from the past that local newspapers helped bring back to life for me. I’d love for that woman claiming that she gets all her news from social media and the internet, to repeat the same in fifty years.
If she relies strictly on memory, she’ll undoubtedly encounter fog thicker than that in London!