The More Things Change

I have this kind of weird thing. I don’t know if it happens to other people or if maybe it’s just the way my brain works. Out of nowhere a place, person or event from my past will just pop out of the files that exist in my brain and move to the front. There doesn’t seem to be a trigger all the time. Not a smell to remind me. Not something going on. Just seemingly out of nowhere a road I haven’t traveled in years will pop up. It’s kind of weird but can also be pretty fun. Reliving a moment or an event with different perspective is interesting. Not too long ago suddenly the parking lot view of a bbq restaurant in Merced CA popped into my head. We lived there in the 80’s and got bbq at most two or three times. But there was the view in my minds eye. I don’t really remember the food or the restaurant but that view of the parking lot seems etched in my brain.

A person popped into my head this week. I’m pretty sure I can guess why and after I tell my story I think you’ll be able to guess why too. When I was in junior high, 7th grade to be precise, I had a friend whose mother let her take all kinds of classes. The outside of school kind that are the dabbling in interests sort of classes. She took horseback riding lessons and music lessons. Neither of those things interested me. I’m allergic to horses and while I enjoy listening to music I’ve never felt any interest in making it. One day she started taking art lessons. I was only marginally interested. My art skills aren’t the best. I really can’t recreate something very well so drawing and painting are out though I’d be ok at abstract stuff. One day she talked me into going along.

The art classes took place in a house, a house I can right now see out my window. The woman who taught the lessons seemed old to me but she was probably the age I am now. I can’t remember how many times I went, less than a handful I’m sure. I wasn’t one to stick with things I didn’t love. One week we made clay figures, another week we drew still life. I don’t even remember bringing the projects home. The one crisp clear memory I have is the first time I noticed the numbers tattooed on the woman’s arm. I knew just what it meant. I had no real understanding though. This woman who was teaching art to a bunch of bratty junior high aged kids was a Holocaust survivor.

Fast forward to the late 90’s. When we bought our house and H went off to kindergarten she made friends with a little girl named E whose parents had bought the art lady’s house. I found myself on more than one occasion with E’s mom. One day I mentioned that I’d taken art lessons from the woman who used to live in her house. She quietly told me that one of the disclosures when they bought their house was that the art lady had committed suicide in the house.

Do you ever have a photo of a memory pop up into your minds eye? Do they seem to come from nowhere or can you see the thing that triggers them?

I truly hope the art lady found peace. She obviously didn’t have it in this world.

About nothingbutknit2

I'm a wife, mother and knitter. Watch out for my pointy sticks.
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8 Responses to The More Things Change

  1. Meg Hanson says:

    That happens to me too. Your story about taking an art class reminds me of one image I have from childhood that pops up occasionally. It is also of taking an art class when I was no older than 8, I think it was at the Art Museum. We moved away from that city after that. I remember the room, the smell, having a runny nose.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan says:

    Yes, it happens all the time and I have a story that could be right along the same line as yours. When I see cherry trees, eat cherries, or get e-mails from garden centers showing cherry trees I remember the family on the other side of the empty field from my maternal grandparents.
    The family was from Germany. They came over before I was born (I’m 63) and were always a mystery to me. Grandpa took me over to see them every summer on the weekends that I stayed overnight to hang out in the garden. They had cherry trees that they would cover in giant nets to keep the birds from eating the fruit. Grandpa had apple, pear, and peach trees and they had cherry trees. They would exchange fruits.
    But they were a very quiet, mysterious family. Always kept to themselves and only spoke with my Swedish/French grandparents if it was unavoidable such as our journeys across the field which was owned by my grandparents.
    Grandpa once said they had fled Germany during a war. He never said more than that. I’ve often thought of looking up their grandson who should be about the same age as I am now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ReginaMary says:

    Karen, the end of this post hit me hard. I am finding myself tearing up. Yes. I have many memories that are so visceral it is hard to imagine they happened many, many years ago. I am very ‘sensitive’ and experience things with my heart and emotion way more than my brain! I just said a prayer for her.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. LDSVenus says:

    I guess people have never thought about the Holocaust survivors as suffering from PTSD. What they endured was horrific and terrifying (beaten, experimented on, humiliated, starved and murdered). I don’t think anyone in the general population understood what PTSD was back then, I don’t think it even had a name yet, but name or not the effects were devastating, like our servicemen who have had to engage in wars or wives in abusive relationships where they are constantly battered and humiliated, May we remember to try to be kind to all we encounter, we never know what they have been through or are going through.

    Liked by 4 people

    • When I was growing up, there was a man in my town who had what my mom called “shell shock.” He had been in WW2 or possibly Korea, I honestly don’t remember which, and had seen horrible things. I remember kids making fun of him and my parents being so angry – my father suffered from a form of PTSD and no, no one knew what that really was back then.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Dollar Queen says:

    I have this too! Which is odd considering I barely remember what I’ve eaten for lunch most days. I randomly thought of the time when all the kids from the church kids club took the soaps from the restrooms and hid them behind the bushes in the car park. We had a soap club! Not sure why I remembered it and I can’t think of any triggers. Great post, I enjoyed your memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. chrisknits says:

    My memories are mostly triggered by smells or sounds. But sometimes unbidden memories pop up!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stefanie says:

    Oh wow, the art lady; I hope she is resting in peace now. As for memories, I guess one would be triggered by something visual. Of lately? I don’t think so.

    Liked by 1 person

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