Tuesday, November 1

'New' Histories.

I have a theory that we all re-write our history constantly. Editing, changing small details. Usually we strive to have the history memory show ourselves in a favourable light.

I am often amazed to hear a friend's version of an event we both witnessed.
Relatives seem to have very different memories of events, even though everyone was present for the same occasion.

"That is odd" I think, "I dont seem to remember it being quite like your version"

I suspect, that everyone, who does something they later query the wisdom of, or doubt, begins to justify their actions, and rationalise the behaviour. It would seem to be human nature.

Over time, I have finally learnt, not to insist contradict, or present my own version.
At the end of the day, weeks, months, or years, it does not matter a jot, who has the more accurate recollection.

I tell myself it will all be irrelavent in a hundred years. I suppose the wonderful stories of our ancestors' supposed humourous doings, are mostly made up, or retold so often, they have no bearing on the original event.
I guess photographs are a better record of the past, but I have found even they can lie, or give a very false impression.

I have a lot of letters I wrote to my mother, and she kept them to re-read, and I am quite surprised to read of things I have forgotten. I have some of her letters to me, and two precious letters my Grandmother wrote to both of us.

It seems sad to think that letter writing is a dying art, and very soon, even emails will possibly be 'old hat'.

I often think of the odd expressions that were part of my childhood.

There were many, such as 'As useless as a one legged man in an ar$e kicking competition.'

Or 'As useless as a one armed paper hanger.'

I once told my daughter, when she was a rebellious teenager, that 'Perhaps it is time for you to hump your bluey!'
She was utterly dumbfounded, and later, when the heat had cooled from the disagreement, asked me what it meant.
I suppose I must have learnt it from my Australian grandfather, as it means to take your 'bluey', which was a man's bedroll as he made his way around the country, searching for work. Therefore to 'hump the bluey' referred to packing up the bedroll, and other meagre possesions, and slinging them over his shoulder, or hanging it upon his back, and moving on.

Those poor old chaps would have loved to have a modern Backpack!

This cloud does not appear to have a silver lining, but does, however,  appear to have a golden silhouette.
Now, I have just discovered a pie I was cooking has overflowed and the contents are burnt onto the bottom of the oven!

Augie March, There is No Such Place.


Linds said...

You are right, Meggie - selective memory also edits repeatedly! But you are right too about it ceasing to matter. As someone who studied history, this is why it is so important to get a variety of views of any event. I know that the police at the recent London riots were amazed by how different eyewitness accounts were.

There are times, though, when distance lends a little perspective, and allows me to see things from a less emotional point of view. And then I wonder why or how I came to conclusions in the heat of the moment. Aren't people intriguing?
I hope the pie did not turn to cement. I am well acquainted with cement at the bottom of the oven - worse when I forget the drip tray!

Elisabeth said...

Have you heard the expression ' he couldn't even use a two holed shit house', or the one about a meal being the equivalent of a dingo's drink and a good look around, or ' as obvious as dog's balls'?

These are wonderful Australian colloquialisms, a tad on the crude side and open to interpretation as you suggest are all our memories. Great post, Meggie.

ancient one said...

I learned long ago not to disagree with someone else's memory. My sister and I both recall the same event. She has memories that I don't have and I have memories that she doesn't remember. I guess we each remember the things that were important to us at the time.

A couple of the sayings you mentioned I have heard, but not the bluey saying. I'm so glad you told us what it meant.

Have a good day.

ancient one said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that I really like your header.. beautiful !!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

We all want to be seen in a favorable light, don't we? My mom would relate events over and over adding unreal details as she went along. My dad was in the Navy and gone for 9 months out of each year, so he would repeat these stories as truth. My sister and I call them Mother's Legends.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about how precious letters can be. I too learn a lot about myself when I read letters that I had written long ago.

*Sheila* said...

I totally agree with you on how memories of the same incident can vary between two people who were both there, when said incident happened.
It's funny how those old sayings come back to us. My parents had lots of them too. I guess they, like handwritten letters will be a thing of the past in a few more years.
I've had to reinvent myself today as my blog refused to accept new pictures and rather than fuss with it I've started a new one.
Sheila (formerly Tempus Fugit)

Christine Thresh said...

Cleaning the oven is a tedious chore. I hope the pie was good despite the spill.
I'm the keeper of memories here because there is no one else to contradict me. Mostly good memories.

Rosie said...

good luck under the knife...

Tanya Brown said...

Yep, our brains constantly overwrite our memories, so I could well believe that they get edited with time.

Regarding the overflowing pie, I recommend throwing some salt on the floor of the oven while the filling is still down there and scorching. That will allow one to take a spatula and scrape up the mass once the oven has cleaned. Of course, since you wrote this entry days ago, your oven is no doubt clean by now. What kind of pie was it, anyhow?

Pauline said...

Ah - free treats - learning a phrase I'd never heard, hearing your remembered "voice" coming through this post loud and clear, discovering that my brother is not the only one who does not remember things correctly ;) and now, a yen for a pie! Thanks, Meggie :)

Kitty said...

... which is why 10 witnesses of the same event will retell whatever they saw very differently.

I was thinking of you today Meggie - so popped over to say hello. And as always, I found you are writing so beautifully. xx

BBC said...

I tell myself it will all be irrelavent in a hundred years.

Or next week.