Monday, March 6, 2017

Memories Sometimes Lie

I recently read a research study that showed our recollections of past events are, at best, half correct. It said that every time you revisit a memory, it becomes altered in some way. That's why eye-witness accounts of a crime are not reliable. A few years ago, I would have argued that point with my final breath. It's my life, I lived it, and I know what transpired because I was there when it happened!

Now that I'm well-established in the senior citizen group of Baby Boomers, I find myself reflecting on things that happened decades ago. My memory of past events are clear and factual--or so I thought. Case in point, the day my youngest child was born.  It was a few decades ago, but I've revisited that memory several times over the past years, and it hasn't changed one bit. Or has it?

"The baby" (we didn't know the sex yet) was due on February 13th. Her father, a big football fan, grumbled that "it" would probably be born early and he'd miss the Superbowl game. She WAS born early--on Super Bowl Sunday! .January 27, 1974. I'd swear to it. I remember the event as if it happened yesterday.

My husband was in the waiting room watching the game while I was laboring to bring our daughter into the world. My obstetrician was home watching it on TV. Most of the hospital staff and patients were gathered around TVs watching the action.

An intern delivered my daughter while a group of student nurses scurried to help. Good thing I had taken Lamaze classes--by myself, of course. That training was my saving grace. She exploded into the world hating football, just like me, because no one was there to welcome her except a stand-in doctor and her exhausted mother. It was us against the world--and football!

The problem is, Google and newspapers say that Superbowl VIII was played on Sunday, January 13, 1974. WTH is that all about? Someone must have rewritten history when I wasn't looking. That's the only thing that makes sense. I was there. I remember it all very clearly, and it still makes me angry. In fact, I still hate Superbowl Sundays because of it! The real question now is, if the masses weren't watching the football game, where was everybody?

Do you have a clear memory of an event that someone else tells you, "Sorry, Dear, that isn't the way it happened."?



11 comments:

  1. When I compare events with friends or relatives, I often find our memories differ. Who knows what really happened? There's also something called "memory bias"--two people will always remember an event differently because of that, even minutes after it happened.

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    1. I haven't heard the term "memory bias." I need to Google that one. I find it so strange that memories can change. It makes me wonder about everything I thought I knew about my past and about my personal history!

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  2. Have you seen the movie Inside Out? In it, the main character remembers an event from her childhood and colors it differently in the remembering. I think that's what happens.

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    1. No, I haven't see that one. Interesting. I need to check it out.

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  3. I don't know why the courts still rely on eyewitness accounts.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I don't think the courts rely on eyewitnesses today as much as they did in the past. DNA has cleared enough people in recent years to bring eyewitness accounts in question.

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    2. I hope that's the case. DNA has proved without a doubt that many eyewitness reports are incorrect.

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  4. I love your story. That is so bizarre that you clearly remember it and yet... Having to compete with the superbowl is like competing about the wind. Perhaps you could have sung and danced a bit during delivery and told them it was the half-time show? Found you through the IWSG and I'm glad I did. Good luck with your writing. http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com/iwsg-chicken-or-the-egg/

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  5. Thank you Diane. I STILL hate Super Bowl Sunday! LOL

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  6. This reminds me of something I heard on the radio show This American Life. A husband was recalling when he and his wife were out and about and saw Princess Di. She waved, and it looked like Princess Di was waving to the wife and the wife waved back. It turns out, she was waving at someone else. The husband recalls this very clearly, but the problem is that he wasn't actually there. He had told the story so many times that he believed he was there. (Also, my memory of this might be a little off!)

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    1. It was a little disconcerting to me to learn my memories are faulty. It also made me wonder how accurate accounts of historical events are.

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