February 29, 2008


I think about Joe when I shower.

Well, really (Carol, it's okay to stop hyperventilating. And please, put the knife down! Now, back away, nice and slow....) I think about Joe when I get into the shower, then I laugh to myself and move on to other thoughts. It's nobody's fault; I just have a phonographic memory. You see, when Joe was in medical school, he did an internship (or something) south of us; Carol was north of us; and at least once I remember him flying by, stopping in to see us, and at some point in the visit taking a *very* quick shower. So quick that we commented on it when he came back from the bathroom (nosy, that's us!) In those days, Joe was often a little...late, and so he said he had become an expert on the quickest possible effective shower-taking technique. To wit, and I'm roughly quoting here: "You just *don't worry* about how warm the water is. Turn it on, jump in and start washing!" This is what pops into my head every day when I am decidedly NOT not worrying about the water temperature, but instead waiting for it to get warm.

Joe is not alone in my memory banks, not by a long shot. Actually, it's pretty crowded in there.

There's a whole category set aside for speechies, of course, though the one that crops up most often is, "It made a difference to *that* starfish." And I can never think of that speech without thinking of the same author's speech on popcorn; in regard to movie concessions: "Skip the stuff they squish on top; that's an easy way to cut the calories." I also remember that whenever we're at the movies, and we never do (skip it). From the same era, we are (I think I speak for Matt here, too), completely unable to avoid thinking of Eric whenever we think of any kind of pepper, whose speech on them was a staple of our diets for nearly a year. And whenever Emily crawls into a cardboard box to "take a BAFF!", I think back to that wonderful interp piece, "Days of Cardboard Boxes." It's about cardboard boxes. And what children can do with them.

Other speechies connect more to songs than to actual speeches, in part because we traveled so much with a constant soundtrack. I cannot hear "You're Unbelievable" without thinking of Danny; JJ gets "Say Goodbye to Hollywood", and really, all the team members from that era get to share Billy Joel's Greatest Hits volumes I and II. That's what happens when you listen to an album for nine hours with a set of people, give or take; wait three days, and listen to it *again* for nine hours with the same group.

Not all these echoes are happy. For instance, I was raised on musicals and have always loved My Fair Lady. I even got to teach it, reading the play first, of course. And that was nice. Until the day one of my former students--a grad--came back early in the fall to tell me that the one kid who had come into class the school year before *excited* about the musical, because he loved it, too...had just been killed in a car accident. Justin haunts me a little now whenever that music plays. I think of Jim when I pay bills--not just because I do some bookkeeping for Laurie, but because he's the one who first taught me to write when things were paid, how much, and by whom on bills, having done a fair amount of accountancy himself.

Others are just bizarrely mundane--like the Joe/shower thing--but apparently, permanent. I always open my bank statements the minute I get them (if children allow...), while hearing my grandfather's voice in my head. I shared my first checking account with him, and he impressed upon me how important it was to check your statements and balance your checkbook. I cannot even *see* a package of instant mashed potatoes--let alone eat 'em--without thinking of Paul. He either followed the directions so well, or did not follow them with so much elan, that I remember his particular instant mashed 'taters as being sublime. (It could have been an excess of butter. But they were yummy.)

So now I wonder, what strange and interesting echoes do other people hear? Do tell...I've made it lots easier to leave comments; they just take a little longer to show up. :-)


JJ said...

Every day I try to find something to be thankful for. I think today that something is "Ginger doesn't think of me when she gets in the shower." :-)

I totally remember the "Unbeliveable" and "Say goodbye to hollywood" experiences. I still remember them when I hear those songs, but not nearly at your level of detail.

It's totally geekey, but I use my shower time to try to solve hard problems I'm working on in my head. The shower is a great place for creative thinking.

Ginger Ogle said...

Uhhhhm...You're welcome!:-) and I laughed out loud.

Actually, the only bathroom-related memory *you* get occurs when I roll up the end of the toothpaste tube obsessively (or see that the other OCD resident has already done so). It's just so much nicer that way.

This might be a good time to mention that most of my memory echoes are not actually bathroom-related. And I am certainly thankful for that!

Rachel said...

a lot of my echoes are music based. i can't listen to certain bands without thinking of the people who loved those bands, usually ex-boyfriends. not especially pleasant, really, but what are you gonna do? i'm kind of hoping those will fade with time, but i may be stuck with them FOREVER.

Tami said...

I cannot look at a pair of my children's little scissors without thinking of you....and that little clump of hair sticking up at the cowlick on the back of your head. ;)

I think of your girls every time I clean out some of Wrenna's too-small clothes...and then I think, Ginger doesn't want to hold onto too-big girl clothes for FOUR YEARS...and then I take them to Goodwill.