Associative Memory Syndrome


Is that a real term? label? condition?

Or did I just coin it myself at almost 4a.m on a frozen, snow-blasted morning –  somewhere betwixt the witching hour and dawn?

I just went to sup some water – too cold to brave downstairs in the scullery as it would have been back in the Victorian hey day of this cottage – brrrr! – and my modern day scullery has heating! I found myself cupping my hands under the cold water tap in the bathroom.

Suddenly, I am back in the ’70’s – with the senior sister’s skirts swishing ominously past as my playmates and I spend that little bit too long at the cute little washbasins after using the toilets at break.

“Class!” she barks. “Now!”

We scuttle by, hastily rolling down shirt sleeves and surreptiously avoiding her keen eye.

Except me.

I never avoided her eye.  As my paternal grandmother often said in her dulcet Irish brogue – ” You’re a bold, bold girl – so you are!”

Yet in that formidable senior sister, who most cowered and hid from, I saw something far softer.  I never forgot her. As a simple trip to the bathroom to drink from my hands proves.

She inspired me.

She took me seriously. In a home where my passion for writing was highly ignored and even scoffed at, my random musings dismissed by my mother as mere scribblings of a half wit, to go to the school with such offerings and have them applauded and praised was pure balm.

Somehow, too, with the Mother Petronella’s sanctimonious blessing they seemed to matter more to The Adoptive Mother too.

So is associative memory syndrome real? Our brain never ceases to amaze me – its breadth, depth and capacity to harbour such long-anchored moments, to glimpse in an instant that scuffed corridor of Our Lady & St. Hughes, to audibly recognise Mother Petronella’s fearful swishing approach!

 

 

Yet without AMS where would we be as writers?

Nostalgia is my main tool, and adds poignancy to memory – even if, as suspected, memory is somewhat rose-tinged, polly-fillered over the cracks of Time, and loosened of its grip in that very present back then.

Sound, Touch, Smell, Taste, Sight – eternal olfactories – unending Muses.