1000 x 90

Boomer Bytes #65: Memories of Younger Times

Editor’s Note: Below is another column in Steve Canipe’s series called Boomer Bytes. The column, as the title suggests, will focus on a variety of topics that may be of interest to baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964. But Canipe also hopes to start a conversation with younger generations, too. Check out an introduction and Canipe’s (first self-titled) column here.

Memories of Younger Times

By Steve Canipe

Do you remember the good old days? How many times have we been asked or even asked this question or a variation on it? This column is not about forgetting as in dementia but more reminiscing of times and days past.

We all have to face the fact that we are not getting younger and are all reaching the time when we will be passing away. This column is not going to talk about the metaphysical or religious ideas in this regard – just about remembering times, places, people, and things. Since there is a wide age gap in our boomer group some of the things may not seem as relevant to all of the boomers.

Thinking all the way back to memories is hard because some of what we think we remember we actually don’t, but we remember people talking about it, and we think we actually remember the event. A friend was talking the other evening at our Dinner for Nine group about his favorite song “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” I recalled the first movie I had seen and remembered. It was called “Riders in the Sky” and I saw it with my family at Roseland Drive In Theater in Lincolnton. It was shown first in 1949 and I would have been about 3 years old. A U-tube clip is available at below and plays the song.


The movie was a cowboy one starring Gene Autry. I don’t remember the story so I had to use Gene Autry’s website to look it up. See the information here.

The Dinner for Nine group is sponsored by our church and brings together a group of folks who may not know each other for a meal and fellowship. It is a great way to get together and learn your fellow church members. The “dinners” rotate from home to home with different hosts preparing the meals.

From the idea of that song and the movie I remember seeing, I started thinking about when we really remember things. I can remember the movie and going to the drive-in but I didn’t remember the story – but I loved western movies then, I guess; but I know as a kid growing up I enjoyed the westerns (still do!!)

Maybe music and pictures trigger and even create stronger memories. I know that one of the movies I saw before my wife and I got married was called “Love Story.” The theme from that movie was very important to me because we had it sung at our wedding (over forty-three years ago now). Hear it below:

[youtube] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad9SV2rb4Ns[/youtube]

One statement in that movie that was relevant to me was that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_means_never_having_to_say_you%27re_sorry

Other memories from my childhood include cutting my small toe nearly off while playing barefoot at a neighbor’s house and stepping on a broken bottle. I remember going to the doctors and the staples used to hold it together while it healed. I remember getting vanilla ice cream after the trauma of the procedure!! Vanilla was my mom’s favorite ice cream flavor but not mine!!

Memories of other momentous events included starting elementary school at Howard’s Creek and riding the big yellow bus #31. Thinking of elementary school, I remember my first school fight with a bully who was a preacher’s kid. I won!! Had him down in the coal pile until I was pulled off by the teacher. (The school was heated by a coal furnace.) Helping another kid learn to read by playing with him in the sand table in the classroom – he had failed first grade at least once and maybe twice – he was a “big” kid but my helping him and not judging him was a key to our getting along.

Getting older got some additional memories from my first kiss and date to my first experience driving a car alone. Leaving home to go to college was my first time being gone from home more than a week. Appalachian State was a great place for me to go to school; I made some fantastic friends and we still keep in touch via phone, email, and Facebook.

There are lots of “firsts” that happen to us over our lives and it is often these first experiences that set deep memories for us. First love, first broken heart, first car, first job, first child, first death in the family, —so many firsts; some of them happy and others not so happy. We don’t always remember them all clearly until something triggers the memories.

As I was writing this column, I remembered a lot of things about my previous sixty-nine years of life. Actually since I don’t remember anything before the movie when I was three, I probably should say the previous sixty-six years!! First beach trip, first alcoholic drink, first airplane flight, first visit outside the United States – there are so many firsts and each of those firsts made an impression on me which is why I remember them. Some impressions were bigger than others as I remember much more detail about some events than others..

Alfred, Lord Tennyson writing in the poem Ulysses noted:

I am a part of all that I have met;

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’

Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades

Forever and forever when I move.

(retrieved online http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174659) This thought seems to be true for me and I suppose for all of us. This doesn’t mean that we leave part of ourselves behind; but maybe in some small way, perhaps the memory of us and our interactions are left behind. We may be slightly shaking the fabric of time with our passing through.

There is a picture in my mind of what will happen to me when I get really old (ninety or so!!) of me sitting in a rocking chair on a porch remembering people, places, and things from my younger days. When I first had these thoughts many years ago, I was thinking of using my photo albums to help me remember places and people. Well those paper albums have all been replaced with electronic versions on CD and DVD and even via web storage and display sites like Flickr.com. I believe I have mentioned my photos on Flickr where anyone can have a vicarious look at my trips. If you would like to see the photos, please visit my pages at www.flickr.com/photos/scanipe I don’t claim to be greatest photographer but do claim to really enjoy taking photos!!

When the time comes, I think I am ready for those rocking days. All my photos are converted to digital versions and are sitting ready either online or in a supplemental hard drive on my computer. Getting older every day, it is time to plan ahead for those times when we cannot be as physically active…days when I cannot go for daily hour walks covering between three and four miles. I feel blessed that my knees and hips are good and I don’t need to walk with any assistance of cane or walker.

So I will have my memories of times before. In earlier days one generation passed along this knowledge to younger generations. My grandparents shared with me and my parents. My dad and mom shared with me and my children. I have shared with my children and if I have grandchildren, I will share with them. Our memories are part of our legacy to our progeny and their peers. Many things we did we cannot or should not tell, and this is probably true of every generation. But the real things of life, love, and loss; happiness and sadness; and other opposites can be shared and should be. I have often wished I would have taped some of my grandmother’s and my dad’s stories (both could really spin a yarn). I remember some but I’m sure I’ve forgotten others. There was this one story that had a moral about stealing – called “Shrang Shrang—Goosh”—my kids will, I am positive, remember this story from their Papa and from my retelling of it—never as good as my dad’s telling!!

The younger “us” have lived and our experiences can be very meaningful to the next generations. If you have not talked with your children and grandchildren and shared with them the important memories of the young you, I would urge you to do so. Do it the sooner the better is my advice.

The Library of Congress has some suggestions about starting an oral history project. See this information at http://www.loc.gov/folklife/familyfolklife/oralhistory.html. You may want to consider this for your family; get those stories down before the individuals knowing them pass away.

If you have stories, memories, and thoughts that you would like to share with a broader audience, please do it below or send them to me via email at [email protected]. I will repost them for you anonymously.