I remember, when I was young, sitting on the steps of my Aunt Susie’s front porch with her. As cars would go by, she’d almost always tell me there goes “so and so” or that’s “such and such”. She seemed to know everyone that passed by. Then she’d tell me a story about the person in such amazing detail that I could see, actually see it in my own mind. It was always fun for me to try and figure out just who she was talking about. Back then there were so few cars that passed by it was easier to do.
Simpler times I suppose.
My family owns that house; so, now I can still sit on that porch. I can watch more cars than I can count, and I have no idea who’s driving them.
Aunt Susie is now gone; she passed away about fifteen years ago. I miss her in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined I would. She taught me many things, but the most important thing she taught me was how to remember. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. Aunt Susie would remember the details; little details, like eye color, hair color, freckles, or even what someone had to eat at a particular family function. Those details helped her strengthen her ability to remember.
She kept her mind sharp doing crossword puzzles and having long conversations with family and friends. If you knew her, then you know that up until she died, at 95, she had a mind full of memories… Accurate memories of people and places and events.
She loved to reminisce, and I loved to hear those stories. I think I’d give most anything to hear her tell me just one more story.
Life’s different now, at least for me it is. The area I grew up in, has grown up itself. It’s not the sleepy little country town, with big yards and fields of trees. Now it’s full of subdivisions, schools, and shopping malls. And there are more cars than you could ever count. The pace is much faster, and the people don’t seem to have the time to slow down and have a conversation with you like they used to.
We live in a time of instant food and instant answers. Most of us have more information in our pockets (cell phone) than we have in our heads. We don’t have to think as hard or remember as much as we once did. We can just look up most things and most people.
I myself am a detail guy. I remember in much the same way as my Aunt Susie. I look at little details to help me remember. I fear though that my mind isn’t quite as sharp as it could be. I think I’m gonna have to start checking for freckles and eye color again… And maybe listen just a little bit better. Hopefully, I can listen to others like I used to listen to her. I’d like to start paying better attention to real people, with real expressions, on real faces, and have real conversations. Maybe I can begin to tell stories that inspire others to dream as well as reminisce.
Remembering the moments that made you who you are is good. It reminds you of where you’ve been, and what brought you to where you are.
I hope you had an “Aunt Susie”, someone who used to tell stories and speak into your life, someone who taught you the importance of remembering. If you didn’t then perhaps you can borrow this memory of my Aunt Susie as a reminder to remember. From here, maybe we could each learn to be that person for someone else as well.
I know I’m sure gonna try.
PS: I wrote this post last week, but am just now publishing it. I was talking to my mom, and mentioned my new post was about Aunt Susie. She quickly reminded me that her birthday was the same day I wrote the original post. I had no idea. With Aunt Susie being gone, I do not keep up with her birthday. I just thought that it was funny that I remembered her, on an important day, that I didn’t even technically remember, and I figured I’d share with y’all too.