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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

They say time can play tricks on a memory…

…make people forget things they knew…

Sorry, that’s one of my favourites. I even have Michael hooked on it. But now I’m totally off topic.

I don’t know that I really have such a great memory, but several family members have mentioned it to me in the past few days.

I have really clear memories of some things, like the rock wall that ran behind our house in Dexter and the rusted tools Nate and I would pull out of it. I remember the shock from the electric fence around the goat yard. I remember the smell of the chicken coop and the taste of the crabapples that grew in the pigpen. And yes, I remember a mix tape of the Heartbreakers and the Clash, and I remember how Nate and I used to sing along, including the introductory whoops to Should I Stay Or Should I Go. I’ll post a video when I get home, and I hope Nate will remember what I’m talking about.

There are some things I can’t remember, though.

I don’t remember how my brother Ben stopped being a seven-year-old and somehow ended up in university. It seems like that happened all at once. I still think of him as a little boy who looks and sounds just like Michael.

I don’t remember how I fell completely out of touch with my cousins and aunt after my aunt and uncle got divorced. I discovered my cousins on MySpace last weekend, and it was really exciting to finally make that contact again. I hope we can keep it going.

I don’t remember when I decided that Steve would be a good guy to have around for the rest of my life.


Kevin Holsapple said...

Some of the things you can't remember you weren't physically present to see.
I am interested to see what the mind selects from the memory. Of course, your mind selects what you find significant.
And of course, as your Dad, I am delighted to know EVERYTHING you remember. C.S. says (somewhere) that one great delight of heaven will be our perfected memories.

Steve & Megan said...

OK, your turn:

Tell us something you remember. We'll tell you what we remember about the same thing.

Our family history, in wiki form.

Kevin Holsapple said...

I remember driving to Church, or to Greenville, in some an jalopy, singing hymns,or songs from a Pete Seeger record.
I remember stopping at the store on the way home from Church, to buy you all a candy because you had sat quietly through the service.

Kevin Holsapple said...

I remember leaving the Rectory in Harbour Breton, and your kids were sitting on the floor, in a circle around your mother's chair. She was reading Marlowe, or Dante to you. And when I returned, hours later, you were all in the same position!

Steve & Megan said...

I do remember the drives, but I'm not sure if that old station wagon would count as a jalopy. I remember that you hung one of those tacky air fresheners from the rearview mirror, because it had been through the flood of '87 and smelled bad.

I also remember that old blue car, and that it was covered in white spots -- to cover rust marks? I can't recall why it was polka-dotted.

The candy was a great treat on Sunday mornings. We used to stop at the gas station next to the lake, near the bridge and across from the skating rink. Other times we'd stop at Toots, around the corner from where Grammy used to live.

I don't remember the Marlowe or Dante. Nate? Matt?

Steve & Megan said...

What, nobody wants to create a family-history wiki?

Mom said...

I remember: reading the Chronicles of Narnia non-stop over a weekend. My voice was getting pretty hoarse by the end af it. We were enjoying it too much to stop! Nate-7yrs., Matt-5?

Reading Dante's Inferno to Nate and Matt. I thought it'd be right up their alley with all the gory stuff and I was right! Nate-8, Matt-6?

On our way to Greenville to visit the cousins I'd recite fairy tales (The Three Billy Goats Gruff) childrens stories (Ping) and nursery rhymes. We'd sing hymns (Amazing Grace). I'd say Meg was 5, Nate 3 and Matt 1?

Steve & Megan said...

The ENTIRE Chronicles of Narnia???

Mom said...

I'm not sure it was all of them but it was pretty close. Hey guys, do you remember?

Ben Holsapple said...

It's strange, all I can recall is a dark, damp room with a spider who was my only friend. I called him Frank, and in between the regular beatings (at least I think they were regular - time lost its meaning after a while) he would watch from his web while I cried myself to sleep.

Steve & Megan said...

Funny you mention it. I was also thinking about the regular beatings and the ritual Satanic abuse.

Torq said...

I can definitely remember the Dante! As I recall it was used to terrify me into obedience. "Do what we tell you OR you might end up in the fourth circle of HELL!!!"

I can remember the candy stops after church and the rock wall that surrounded our house in Dexter. I remember the path that used to lead from our house down to the lake (Nate found a real apple tree down that way once). I can definitely remember the pigs and goats. Remember the time that Snow Moon nailed that kid? He had no idea what he was in for! Right up against the side of the wall as I remember.

I also remember the ungodly stink as the horns were burned off of the heads of those two kids. *wrinkles nose*

Steve & Megan said...


I don't remember the Dante specifically, but I do remember that a variety of things were used to terrify ME into obedience. I am still working these things out, although it'll probably take a couple of marriages.

Snowmoon was a classic. Remember how she totally had Dad fooled? She would be all innocent when he was around, then head-butt us as soon as his back was turned.

The stink was not nearly the worst part. The baby goats' screams of pain and the sound of the blowtorch were much, much worse.

Steve & Megan said...

I ought to clarify: The blowtorch was not applied directly to the goats' heads.

The truth is actually worse. I can't bear to think about it too much.

Kevin Holsapple said...

THe horns were not burned off the heads of the goat kids. There are "horn buds" on the skulls of the kids, and these are removed with a hot tool.

Kevin Holsapple said...

Dante was not used to terrify you into obediance. If you think about it, you will see it had the opposite effect.

Steve & Megan said...

I don't know about that. I can't think of a single thing any of us did that was out of the ordinary. Unless, of course, I am so evil that I no longer think of my evil acts as evil -- in this case, all bets are off.

We were definitely terrified. There were some pretty graphic descriptions, and the message was not limited to storybooks.

Torq said...

Not to slip into my posting voice or anything but I think it's pretty interesting that the Inferno is really the only book in that trilogy that gets read. I have tried to read the other two repeatedly. Human nature? We find the gory and graphic more interesting than the serene and pristine?

To be fair with the parents: I was never really terrified of hellfire. I was more terrified of the: Yes there IS a LAW, LAW, LAW!!!

Steve & Megan said...

I have read all three books, but I know what you're talking about: I posted about it at a few months ago.

The Inferno is much better than the Paradiso. Page after page of happiness? Snore.

I think people just don't get around to reading the Purgatorio because they are tired after hundreds of pages of translated Italian poetry in the first book. It's actually pretty good, if a bit predictable: if you know the PEWS Can Grow Longer memory aid, you know which sin is coming next. This is one of the exciting things about the Inferno: you never know which sin is next.

I'll resist any comparisons to my childhood here.

Torq said...

In Purgatorio those people are still suffering, so it's still interesting. I think I made it about two circles into Paradisio. At least I think there were circles. The map was a little harder to figure out.

Steve & Megan said...

In the books, hell has circles that go deeper and deeper, purgatory has levels that go higher and higher, and heaven has spheres.

You get sorted into the appropriate level, but if you get sorted into purgatory, you move up until you are allowed into heaven.

The people on the bottom levels of purgatory must get lonely. I imagine it must be something of a contest:

"Hey, I'm getting closer! I won't have to have my eyes sewn together anymore, beeyotch!"

"HA! It only took ME three weeks to get through the wall of fire!"

"Well, your mother's so fat she couldn't run! What a slothful sinner!"

"Well YOUR mother..."