Saturday, March 26, 2016

SOL #26 Memory is a Slippery Bugger*

I just got together with 2/3 of my sisters for an overnight.  We mostly talked and ate, two things we are all very good at.  Despite the fact that the three of us live in the same general area, we haven't seen much of each other lately.  (The fourth, who lives several hours away, hopes to come down this summer for another round of Sister Slumber Party.)

My sisters have taken to keeping track of me through my blog.  They both tend to read it in big chunks, holding off on my updates until they have a few hours, then reading through everything at once.

They were talking about a piece I wrote awhile ago about growing up with no television.  I have only heard about When The TV Went Away as family folklore; it happened years before I was born.  But they lived it.

"It's what I remember from what Mom told me," I explained.

"Well, I figured that, and I was trying to remember what it was really like," said one.  "I know we were in kindergarten, and we came home from school, and it was gone."

"No, we were in third grade," said the other twin.  "But it did disappear while we were at school."

"I remember it as kindergarten!"

"No, I'm pretty sure we were in third grade, that we were eight."

That got us onto the unreliability of memory in general, and the different holes we all have in our recollections, as well as flat out mis-rememberings (which clearly at least one of them was experiencing).  We also analyzed what happened with the TV.

"Maybe it didn't even break.  Maybe she said, 'I'm tired of him sitting down there watching TV with the kids on a Friday night while I'm doing the dinner dishes and trying to get them ready for bed,' and she just TOLD us all it broke."

"Would she do that though?  It would be wasting money--it must have been a significant purchase for them."

I pipe up, "I don't think she'd be that sneaky about it if she did just want to get rid of it.  She'd just say, 'I'm getting rid of the TV,' and that would be that."

"Maybe Daddy knew," muses one sister.  "Maybe they just said it was broke to appease us."

"Still doesn't sound like Mom," I argue.

"Or maybe she didn't tell him.  Maybe she did it to improve her marriage," counters a sister.

"Well, it was a good decision, however it happened," sighs the other.

We all nod.  We are glad to have grown up without screens, and mindful that it's almost impossible to recreate the same environment today.

Written as part of the Slice of Life March writing challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers


  1. I remember it is myself in 4th grade - which means twins in 2nd. That year I signed up to learn to play violin in the school orchestra - which mom says I never would have done if we still had a TV. (Within months I hated it, but had promised to continue until I was 18. Sigh. I learned a lot from having to practice, but hated it in general and I have always associated it with the TV leaving.) It sat for a long time in the furnace room, and a couple of times we pulled it out and plugged it in, hoping it would work. It didn't. One time we were coming home on the bus and there was a large box in the driveway and we thought, A new TV! and ran home but it was something like a dishwasher, and we were SOOO disappointed.

    1. I'd forgotten the story about the false alarm box! See, your memory of the broken TV still sitting there means it really was broken; Mom didn't fake it. It also nearly splits the difference between when Pat and Peg remembered it happening. Memory is so fluid!


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