Rediscovering the recent past . . .

It’s surprising how much can be forgotten!

I’ve had the unexpected privilege of a lovely writing job: in celebration of the upcoming twenty year anniversary of the Allendale Lions Club, my proposal for yet another blog, this time documenting recent social history, was taken up and now I’m plunged deep into the recent past. I may already have mentioned this role in a previous entry here at — blame my faltering memory for the repetition!

The shocking thing to me is how much I’ve forgotten about those early years of service in our community. I’d have sworn my memory was better than that, but no; contemporary minutes of meetings, responsibilities, assigned and accepted tasks indicate that there is much more to be remembered than I’d realised. What’s possibly worse is seeing some of my own reporting, as District Correspondent (Allen Valley) in the Hexham Courant, from nearly two decades ago, carefully collected in a scrapbook of memorabilia, and realising that I was self-evidently aware of these matters. Where did those memories go?

And so there’s also a certain frisson of joy in the rediscovery of our activities that I had never expected. Like visiting with old friends, with whom you discover why you were friends in the first place.

You can’t relive the past, it’s true. But you can marvel at what went on, what’s been forgotten and by contrast, what salient bits have actually been remembered, and ponder: what was the sticking point of those memories that the others didn’t have?

I expect to experience numerous joys in the unravelling of these mysteries of the recent past, over the next twenty months, as I delve deeper and deeper into the wonders of memory, or lack of it. But for now, the realisation that memory is fragile and frail, that it can’t be depended on, and that this is why documentation of experience is such an important part of human life, is sufficient joy to be getting on with.

Really? We did that? We said that? We thought what? How amazing! How wonderful!

This blog is listed with under the Life category.

One response to “Rediscovering the recent past . . .”

  1. Larry, you pose very good questions re: memory at our ages. Since my family has history of dementia I have had an interest in memory. It is my understanding that prompted memory is one of the last things to fail.* So recall of memories e.g. from notes, minutes, photos, etc. is quite normal. There are occasions when friend or family recall past events & I have no memory of them. Though few & far between those occasions give me pause for concern. So Larry rejoice in prompted memories as you read through minutes, etc & recall early days of Allendale!

    I know I still enjoy reading from your Allendale Diary. When I was reading AD recently I lamented that due to infirmities I think that I will never fulfill my desire to visit places over there that I’ve read about in various books & seen on archeological sites in Great Britain. My most recent read in your Allendale Diary was about Langley Smelt Mill. Remember that entry?
    Write on, Henry

    *For many patients with dementia memories can be prompted by music long after photographs become meaningless.


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