by Jackie K. Cooper
The older I get, the more important memories become. I seem to remember in spurts with the memories being triggered by unknown sources and for unknown reasons. They come with force and can almost bring me to my knees.
I guess one of the reasons I have begun to cherish memories so much is that my father-in-law is suffering from Alzheimer's. His short-term memory is very poor but his long-term memory seems to be fresh in his mind. He can tell you stories about when he was a young man in the Navy and give you detail upon detail. These memories from his youth are such a comfort to him and for all of us who love him.
Needing to share my memories is the reason I write my books. I want to have a history of my life and also pass on stories about the generations before me. In my mind's eye I can see my grandchildren reading and smiling over these stories. At least I hope they do.
Recently I have been going around talking to groups about writing their memoirs. I call this talk "Memoirs Are Made of This." This is a take-off on the song "Memories Are Made Of This" which was made popular by Dean Martin. I always loved that song and I just assumed everyone was familiar with it. Well, believe me, below a certain age no one gets the point of the title of my talk.
It just hadn't dawned on me that the common knowledge of my younger days is not common to today's young people. I sometimes mention in my talks that Raymond Burr's portrayal of "Perry Mason" influenced me to go to law school. Raymond Burr - who's that?
A few days ago a friend of mine told his son to quit chattering. He told him he sounded like a broken record. This kid who is eight years old didn't have a clue about what his father meant.
He honestly asked, "What's a record?"
My wife sometimes takes old LP's to school and plays them on a record player for students. The kids always ask her how she knows where the individual songs are. They have a hard time understanding about the grooves and how they are separated into songs.
I try to stay up on the latest books, movies, and even music. Being an entertainment critic helps keep me up-to-date. But sometimes it is just fun to get with my contemporaries and talk about the past - before Ipods, before Tivos, before computers, before TVs. Wow, that last one does date me.
The great thing is I can live in the present, look forward to the future, and still have the moments of memories from my past. I think that gives me the best of all worlds.
Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. He is the married father of two sons and the proud grandparent of a boy and a girl.
He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short stories have also been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.
and be sure to visit his excellent web site: jackiekcooper.com.
Finding Your Face
In Praise of Red-Headed Girls
Men and Their Automobiles
Alzheimer's: The value of humor
It's All About Me!
The Customer is Always Wrong
Never Too Old To Hurt
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