Memory and Moment

What makes us remember one particular moment out of the millions that raced past? I should remember the moment I was told my father had a serious heart attack. I was five, and old enough to understand. But so many of my early memories are single images, unconnected to the moments that preceded them and those that followed: looking through the pink chiffon of my mother’s evening dress, sucking a sugary droplet from a honeysuckle blossom, watching the tall swells through a porthole on an ocean crossing.

Most of the moments I remember aren’t decisive instants, neither augur nor anchor. From them I imagine: I was a scaredy-cat; I was a whiner; I was a tomboy. I imagine my father, too. He’s been dead for over two years. When I write, I meet him again for the first time.

No one can confirm who my father was. The people who might have had better answers — his brothers, his friends, his Marine Corps brothers, my mother — are all dead. Even if they were alive and could return to the periods that escape me, I’m not sure their account would be closer to the truth. Not even my brothers can confirm or deny my account because their relationship was son to father. I’m the only one who knew my father as I did.

The images are pushpins that hold up my stories. The story of how I wanted to feel close to him. The story of how I did. They’re not much, but maybe they’re enough.



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2 responses to “Memory and Moment

  1. Joe Drago

    Very interesting, enjoyed it very much. I must have known your father if he was ExO, Marine Barracks, I spent a great deal of time there, visiting Colonel L. Chapman, we were good friends. Also, I spent a lot of time with Warrant Officer, Chris Stergiou, Drum Major of the DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS. Colonel Chapman, took over the 10th Marine Regiment, Camp Lejeune. He invited me to visit him there. He went on to become the CMC. Ironically, Chris Stergiou, told me years earlier, ” you watch, someday Chapman will be CMC .
    Semper Fidelis, always.

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