Monday, December 3, 2007

Fact or fiction?

Thanks for the nice comments about my last post. You know. That particular memory of the Christmas tree delivered by Santa is one of the strongest from my childhood. And one of the warmest. I clearly remember hearing the sleigh bells, trying to push my way around the tree to get a glimpse at the fleeing red coat, feeling the prick of the pine needles and the unbelievable thrill in a pre-Christmas visit from Santa himself. It made my Christmas. It cemented my Belief for a lifetime. Other details of the day are fuzzy but have become clearer in my minds eye through the many, many retellings.

My mom read my blog last night. Low and behold, many details of that day were fuzzy it seems. For instance, I was 4 not 7. It was in Los Angeles before we moved up north and there was neither snow nor reindeer and sleigh tracks. However, the rest was pretty accurate. It seems I've merged several memories together into one. I hate it when that happens.

Does this ever happen to you? What do you do when presented with evidence contrary to a childhood memory? I'm not talking things like DNA proof here. That stuff is important. But stories handed down from adults to children, told and retold? Or your own stories you've told from your child's-eye view only to find the adult-eye view made the story completely different? Do you abandon your long-held, often retold story in favor of the historically accurate version? Or do you stick with the original telling, facts be damned?


Sherry said...

This is a good question Stella! I have no one left to correct anything I might have "edited" so I stick with what I call memory. I think most people do that and I think in the re-telling of lore over the centuries stories are woven and re-woven, like a quilt that has pieces added by each story teller. Maybe that's where the mild expression for "liar" came from...being a story teller...makes sense to me!!

I don't think all the details of any fond memory matter as much as the sense of feeling you have from the matter how you tell it. It is "your" story.

Imstell said...

Interesting, Sherry. Of course, in this particular instance, the important details of the story are the same so I don't really mind altering to the truth. But what if the truth were completely different? would I be able to tell my version again knowing it was not so? Which brings up another question... would you ever correct your children in their telling of a much-loved story?

Sherry said...

I think parents have a "habit" of's what we do from the time our children are tiny to help them learn. I know I myself have embellished and sweetened "facts" in a story re-telling and I would expect that my sons will do the same. Time will tell if I would correct them...I don't think I would unless it was a "major" inaccuracy like someone having done something harmful to them and it didn't happen...incorrect times, ages, dates and that sort of thing? Where they were, weather conditions as happened with you? I think probably not because it's that "sweetness" of the memory that belongs to that person and no one else.

As for you telling your version or the corrected version? I think you have a choice Stella and that choice is your's to's like writing a short story and the editor comes along with the blue can make those changes or stick with your long as in your heart you are happy with the story..that is really all that matters.

ptesinge said...

I stick with the original usually. Who's to say the adults can't be worng sometimes instead? Anyway, in a memory such as the one you shared, how you remember it is the most important. Who cares if there was ACTUALLY snow? not me! You remember it how you liek to :-)

Killerboob (sarah)