Sometimes we have childhood memories of experiences….that we think we remember—but we really don’t. Instead of the actual experience,what we really remember are the stories we’ve heard a million times.
Pictures are the same as stories. They make memories real even if we don’t remember them. I wouldn’t believe I’ve done a lot of things if I didn’t have the pictures to prove it. Like going to Israel.
Actually I’ve been to Israel before. But as Nora Ephron said, I remember nothing.
I was 19, leaving for a summer in Europe. My father kissed me goodbye at the airport, having no idea where I’d be for 8 weeks, other than a rough itinerary of major cities I planned to visit, where I could stop at the local American Express office and pick up mail. London, Paris, Rome, Zurich, Copenhagen, Amsterdam.
I called home once.
Hi, Dad. I’m in Rome. I met some kids going to Israel, so I decided to go. Is that okay with you?
I’ll write. But I gotta go, the plane is leaving in 10 minutes.
I remember this story much better than my actual trip to Israel.
But I know I had fun because I’ve seen the pictures. There’s me riding a camel, one of me climbing on a military vehicle abandoned in the Golan Heights after the war, one posing with a shopkeeper in Jerusalem, one floating in the Dead Sea wearing braids and a bikini.
You could see I had a wonderful time——if you saw the pictures. Only you can’t see them– because I can’t find them.
If I have almost no memories of the trip– can I trust my memories of the pictures? Or is it possible my trip to Israel never happened?
Maybe the cure is to create new memories.
Mary gave me a great start when I arrived at the airport.