BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Memory ...

Wow. I just got an email from the school I attended in New York (Collegiate - "Founded 1628") for First, Second, and Third grades. It was, of course, a fund-raising effort pumping the "alumni" for cash, and it's sort of amazing that they were able to track me down nearly 50 years later.

What was more amazing to me was that it triggered certain memories. My clearest memory from those years involved lunch time ... where the folding table/benches would be set out in the gym and "family style" service brought out. I especially remember the cooked carrots ... which I guess stood out to me because it was something we never had at home.

From that memory a couple of others came out, one of my 2nd Grade classroom, and then of my 3rd Grade classroom, and then of some assorted related memories of things in and around the school. And some recall of the place I attended kindergarten prior to that (we moved to New York when I was just turning 3).

Not to get too maudlin about it, but those were "my best years" in that I was living up to my potential both scholastically and socially (as much as one can at that age), well integrated into all spheres of my life. Our move back to Chicago in the mid-60's messed me up quite a bit on that level, and from 4th grade on, I was always "the outsider", never again feeling "part of" anything I was involved with. Of course, I was dealing with stuff even then, as the main reason we moved to New York was the death of my father (when I was 2 and my brother a mere 2 months old). My mom had been an exec with the PR arm of the J.Walter Thompson ad agency (yes, I did grow up in "Mad Men") working out of the New York HQ before getting married, and was valued enough by JWT that they had her working on New York accounts when living in Chicago. When my dad (an Episcopalian minister at that time) died (he collapsed in the pulpit in the middle of a sermon - dramatic much? - from internal bleeding they'd not caught after an ulcer operation), they pulled her back to New York.

While I don't recall my father much, I understand we were very close (I always knew when he was coming home, and would rush to the front windows at the Rectory to greet him), and I'm sure I have a lot of "loss issues" from his demise.

It's hard to imagine today, but the reason we moved BACK to Chicago in 1966 (I'm pretty sure that was the year), was that JWT "couldn't possibly" make a woman a Vice President at the New York headquarters, but they could if she was off "in the hinterland" of the Chicago office. So, we up and left New York, and I was pulled out of my organic interface with Collegiate and NYC, and thrown into a whole new situation at Chicago's Latin School (established in merely 1888).

Frankly, my scars from that move have made me very hesitant to consider moving to find work. As regular readers know, I have been in my current job search for FIVE AND A HALF YEARS, which has taken a nearly-lethal toll on our finances (and we're still looking at maybe losing our home), but I have concentrated my job search only in the Chicago area, because I didn't want to rip The Girls out of their contexts and make them go through what I had. Of course, now with Daughter #1 in college, and Daughter #2 in highschool, it's less of a concern (although I'm sure #2 would prefer to not have to up and move), but it's scars I don't want to leave them with.

Anyway, the point being here that it was amazing that I was able to tap into seldom-accessed memories from half a century ago. There has been some recent research showing that the brain tissue (unlike the body in general, which is pretty much "all new" on a cellular level every 7 years or so) doesn't recycle the way other parts do ... so these things could be "recorded" somehow ... but it just seems a mystery how I can remember field trips over to the Hudson, or cooked carrots in the gym (or having done my entire math workbook for the year by the end of the first quarter - and explaining sections when the teacher got stuck) ... a half a century down the road. Weird.

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