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.