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I remember reading somewhere (please tell me if you know any of the actual references off-hand) that memories were much stronger when you hadn’t been in a place for a while. For instance, you are much more likely to remember things if you return to a house you lived in when you are little, and then moved, than if you just lived in one house your whole life, because your long-ago memories would be buried under other memories. I have found this to be true; a few times I’ve ended up in a place I hadn’t been in a long time and had intense, sudden memories of things that occurred years ago. It’s amazing (provided the memories are positive, of course). This happens sometimes to me with picture books, I will be reading something and realize that my parents definitely read it to me (and I haven’t looked at since I was little). I will have memories of looking at the picture when I was younger. Something that is also amazing is hearing my parents read to my daughter and remembering them reading to me. I think I probably, for instance, read In the Night Kitchen hearing my mother’s voice in the back of my mind. I remember my father reading Dr. Seuss’ 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (and then many other things for older kids as we got older). What books do you remember from your childhood?

2 responses »

  1. This is an interesting theory. I moved around a lot as a child and sometimes regret that I didn’t have a more stable home life that would allow me years of memories rather than a patchwork quilt of snippets. I remember an author more than a book – Richard Scarry. Still have those books to share with my daughter and my large, messy, first-grade handwriting in them. What has been odd though in recent years, looking in second-hand bookshops at children’s titles, is suddenly remembering some long-lost books such as Big Dog Little Dog by PD Eastman and the Ant and Bee stories. It was so weird getting a massive flashback to them!

    • That must be so fun to see your handwriting! I don’t have any of my books with my handwriting (although my parents may be hiding some), but we do have some of my husbands, which are really fun to have. You get flashbacks as well to children’s books, I am going to have to find that study and see if it just talks about space or visual images as well.


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