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Old 01-05-2017, 11:04 AM
 
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I too like your description, Lodestar. I have always pictured the brain as being filled with little cubbyholes that store small fragments of memories and as time goes on, these cubbyholes get pushed further and further back into the black abyss that is harder and harder to access quickly, to make room for fresher memories up front. And the mind, while an amazing thing can also be lazy just as we are .. and will just take out that first memory to savour rather than digging deeper for the older ones.


Not only that but memories are not always stored completely intact .. sometimes it takes a while to piece together all the bits that make up a whole memory - and in our fast paced lives, who has time for that.


But, the good thing is that, even if one's access system is slow and antiquated, I doubt (in most cases, unless there is a real medical reason they have been destroyed) that we really have lost any memory .. it just may take something special as a trigger to get the brain to bother hauling it out from the back alleys of our minds. And if there is a medical problem (like Alzheimer's for instance) it seems that the newest memories are the first to go as something we don't yet completely understands eats its way back into the black hole that has captured our lives - which is why those with dementia often regress to apparent childhood and forget the newer people/things in their lives first.
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Old 01-05-2017, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
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In my case, it was my wife's interest in my childhood that brought this on. The memories I had buried turned out to be happy ones, too.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
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I think of my fact retrieval as a giant mental Rolodex. I flip through it to find the fact or memory I want.

But I haven't had any sudden forgotten memories reveal themselves lately. If I do, I'll post them.

I have retained several early childhood memories. When I was much, much younger I searched my memory for them and I told my self to remember them. They aren't anything of importance though. But they are mine until the memory goes for good. Which I hope doesn't happen for a long time.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,836 posts, read 14,349,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aery11 View Post
I too like your description, Lodestar. I have always pictured the brain as being filled with little cubbyholes that store small fragments of memories and as time goes on, these cubbyholes get pushed further and further back into the black abyss that is harder and harder to access quickly, to make room for fresher memories up front. And the mind, while an amazing thing can also be lazy just as we are .. and will just take out that first memory to savour rather than digging deeper for the older ones.


Not only that but memories are not always stored completely intact .. sometimes it takes a while to piece together all the bits that make up a whole memory - and in our fast paced lives, who has time for that.


But, the good thing is that, even if one's access system is slow and antiquated, I doubt (in most cases, unless there is a real medical reason they have been destroyed) that we really have lost any memory .. it just may take something special as a trigger to get the brain to bother hauling it out from the back alleys of our minds. And if there is a medical problem (like Alzheimer's for instance) it seems that the newest memories are the first to go as something we don't yet completely understands eats its way back into the black hole that has captured our lives - which is why those with dementia often regress to apparent childhood and forget the newer people/things in their lives first.
I have been told by someone who should know, that with vascular dementia, the memories are still in the brain, but the retrieval mechanism is broken. I saw something of this several years ago when I asked my mom, a former teacher, how she dealt with obstreperous kids. She was taken aback, she thought for a few seconds, and she came up with a long discourse on how she knew these kids were unfortunate, and lacked proper care, etc. And she tried to make them feel better about themselves in order to teach them. She was quite passionate. This was the clearest memory of her past I had heard in years. It was amazing.

(I was trying to get her to understand that she was being obstreperous herself in a group she was participating in. But I got so emotional I couldn't proceed with my plan to help her understand what she was doing.)

Somehow her retrieval mechanism worked that one time even when she was deep into dementia.
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Old 01-05-2017, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Pac. NW
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The older I get the more horrified I am at events from the past.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:57 PM
 
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That's really touching, Silibran. And a clever idea to cue your mom about her behavior.


Sometimes I hear people say a loved one just sits and stares all day and I must say it does look pathetic from my point of view. But who knows what an interesting story may be playing out on the inside?
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bette View Post
Anyone - can't remember what you did last week but all of sudden you can remember 40/50 years ago?

What if it makes you think too much?

I have memories from 70+ years ago, from about age 3. I rarely think about them but something will come up that reminds me of something else and I'll think about it a little and then 'forget' again. A smell can do it. I can still smell my first grade classroom, the hallway that always smelled of cedar oil and the mimeograph machine. Oh, and the library paste. A pleasant enough memory but then I've noticed I rarely ever conjure up 'bad' memories. I never forget the truly traumatic things that happened at any age and there were a few. They are no longer "bad" memories though. Like most of my memories they are just things that happened in my life and I don't feel much of anything about them anymore.


I used to wonder why older folks spent so much time talking about the past. Over time it came to me that maybe it's because they have a whole lot more "past" than future and, besides, it's fun to reminisce. Doing in home health care with older people I heard many many stories of their younger years. I found most of them to be quite interesting and some even fascinating. And then there was my mom. lol I probably know more about her life than ANY of my siblings, or anyone else, because she told me about it from the age of 9 till she died when I was 72. The last few years it was always the "past" and very little of the future more than a year or so out.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:33 PM
 
Location: SoCal
13,191 posts, read 6,308,074 times
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This morning we went walking under rain and my husband remembered his friends from the Scout that he didn't keep in touch with after his parents moved when he went to college. It. Use be the rain that invoked this memory. We finally have British weather for a change.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:05 PM
 
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I decided that when I am idle, the memories of olden days arise to fill the void. I suspect that is one reason so many older people talk endlessly about the past.


As I get older I definitely have learned about "use it or lose it". Clearly that happens with our balance, muscles and physical abilities. Recent research tells us the same happens with our mental abilities. I suspect the old memories, the lack of concentration and those senior moments are the warning signs of abilities lost due to atrophy. Personally I try to remain active, if not physically, at least mentally.
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy64 View Post
The older I get the more horrified I am at events from the past.
I've had some bad events revealed to me. I believe that God didn't reveal these thing so me until I could handle them.

Anyway, I used to go, once a week, and read to the elderly at a home. One lady would forget me if I left the room and came back but could recite a poem she wrote when her daughter was born and she recited Annibelle Lee (poem) flawlessly. And they could all yell "Evermore!" at the correct place in The Raven.
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