The Persistence of Memory

I’ve lied. For many years now, I assumed I lived in Canada for a year. I was only there for three months. I just found this out today. How did I forget? I was in Toronto from August to November 1993, right after I turned nine. I’ve always thought I lived there for a year. Now I know what it feels like to find out what you always thought was true is actually a bit of a lie. It’s a really strange feeling, and I wonder what else I’m not remembering correctly.

I think that this memory lapse has something to do with the incredible amount of traveling my family did from when I was eight until I was eleven. We went to the US, the Bahamas (twice), England (twice), Canada (once), drove from Miami to NYC and from Miami to Los Angeles. We drove from St. Petersburg to Göteborg, and from Göteborg to St. Petersburg. It’s no wonder my memory of these events is shaky. Even my mother doesn’t really recall specifics.

I think that although my chronology is false, I still remember details which don’t require chronological accuracy: how on my first trip to the US (New Jersey), we spent two weeks on a farm with lots of cats. How on that trip, the daughter of the friend we were staying with was thrown off her horse and trampled after having given me a ride on the horse just a few days earlier.

I can tell you that when we stayed in the Bahamas, I found a handgun full of sand on the beach and then had it taken away by the manager of the hotel (which was also an aquarium) with whose son I had explored the little island we lived on.

I remember the tiny plane we flew on from Miami to the Bahamas. I remember the first time I saw a tarantula the size of a fist in the jungle. I remember all these things but I can’t remember when they happened.