I have been consistently writing on the period 1945-59 for some considerable time. I have also lived for over 25,000 days. I can recall in some detail events from as far back as 1945. Not bad, except that it has dawned on me that my memories are mainly concerned with events rather than specific years. There are huge gaps concerning years, inevitable I suppose but alarming.
I remember in some detail VE Day (8th May 1945), and a teacher in class announcing that a good man called Gandhi had been murdered. (Jan 30th 1948) Coronation Day made an impression (June 2nd 1953). The day I arrived from school to be told that my mother had died will inevitably stay forever in my mind. (Tuesday September 8th 1953) On a damp February day in 1958 the sensational news came in that the plane carrying Manchester United footballers had crashed. I was working for Woolworths at the time. And how could I ever forget finishing under a lorry on Tuesday March 10th 1959.
I started teaching in 1974 and officially retired in 1990. Dare I admit I have been known to forget the exact date of my Wedding Day (April 4th 1970) and on occasion the exact year the children were born. ( July 30th 1971 and June 8th 1973) The days, weeks, months, years roll by, of no consequence outside our immediate friends and family. Unsurprising so but in a way sad. Probably the reason why so many strive to leave something behind for which they will be remembered. (Not the main gist of this particular blog but what are YOU going to leave behind, besides memories of course.)
Whilst I have recall of many events over the years I seem to be unable to place many other such occurrences in the exact year they were experienced. And as more years pass the more difficult recall becomes. For instance, I cannot recall a single event that belongs specifically to 1952, 1954, 1955 or 1957. More surprising, virtually the whole of the 1980's is shrouded in the mist and the 1990's are no better.
The only exception to my inability to recall years is 1985. For the only time in my life I kept a comprehensive diary. Two brief entries go a long way to showing why we can recall so little of our lives.
Wednesday 20th November 1985
Another of those frequent days where nothing happens but life is by no means unpleasant, an observation that many in this troubled world would love to make.
Thursday 21st November 1985
Paulette goes out for the evening with Kay. Alison retires to bed. Sarah, who has no lessons first thing in the morning, watches television with me. We watch a programme concerned with the topless young ladies who adorn page three of some of our national newspapers. We watch without embarrassment. I am quietly pleased at Sarah's maturity. Going fast is the child, appearing as the young adult. Of the programme itself, I am saddened by a mere fifteen year old seeking stardom, adulthood and heaven knows what else. How foolish to seek adulthood when it comes all too soon without our searching.
Two entries which confirm life for many of us, though enjoyable, has little of real substance. Understandable, but again the question, how can a year, never mind a day have no lasting impact.
Have you blank years, or even blank decades. A little test. Pick a decade, ideally way back in time. Recall as many as ten events, that you specifically relate to. Anniversaries are out and no looking up information. Or am I alone in losing it, god forbid!