Memories are a tricky thing.

I was searching my computer for a specific photo because I thought a story about that photo would make a good blog post.  I couldn’t find the photo that I was looking for, but I did find this one, and it’s amazing.


Yesiree bob, what we have here is a vintage Olan Mills studio shot of the Glassman Boys.  My older brothers Scott and Jonathan, and me in the most ridiculous shirt the 1970s could possibly throw up around my neck.  There’s another one with the three of us and our parents, but not my sister-  I assume this is when Michelle was off at college.

Here’s the thing about this photo that is the most interesting to me:  I don’t remember it.  I don’t even remember going to this photo session a little tiny bit.     I didn’t even know I had this file on my computer until just a few minutes before I started writing this post.

I know that I was about ten years old here, because I was wearing the same horrible Art Deco shirt in my 1982 elementary school class photo.  (Seriously, it looks like Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian got drunk together and threw up on a canvas!)

Guess who didn't fully understand the "cowboys and indians" theme they wanted for class photos that year?
Guess who didn’t fully understand the “dress up as cowboys and indians” theme they wanted for class photos that year?   Yup, that would be me!

I do remember another studio photograph that was taken with my siblings, including my sister-  that one is indelibly burned into my brain for two reasons-  the first is that I actually had a copy of that one all these years, whereas the sibling picture up above is actually new to me.  The second reason the other one is far more memorable is that my sister drove us to and from the studio, and on the way home a neighborhood girl chased a ball into the street in front of our car.  The girl survived, but I remember her having a nearly full body cast for a while after.  Michelle was traumatized, naturally, because running over a person is scary and stressful. (Or so I imagine.)

My memory of the times before high school is fragmented at best.  I’m not really sure why that is.  Some people have really detailed memories of their childhood, but the only things I remember clearly tend to have to do with times that I was either very embarrassed, very angry, or with very dear friends.    Memory is weird that way.

Speaking of memory, I have no idea what my original idea was for the primary thread of this post, so I’ll wrap up with another childhood memory.  This one is more funny than traumatic.

In the late 1970s, my brothers had a giant Habitrail with a bunch of gerbils in it.  For the uninitiated, Habitrail is this system of tubes and spires that allows you to take any standard sized fish tank and make it a playground kingdom for gerbils.    It’s changed over the years, but do a Google Image search and you can get a basic idea of what a Habitrail looks like.

I don’t remember what all of the Gerbil’s names were, but I know that one of them was named Chip.  I know this, because at a few minutes before 8pm one night, one brother says to the other, “Let’s go watch CHiPs.”  The Larry Wilcox/Erik Estrada show premiered when I was about five years old, and I didn’t watch nearly as much television back then.  For one thing, there were only about a dozen channels between the VHF and UHF dials, and we didn’t have cable television yet because it was still the 1970s.

“Let’s go watch CHiPs,” said my brother, and I pointed to the Habitrail and responded in the only way that made any sense to my tiny brain at the time:

“But why are you going in there?  Chip’s right here!”

What’s the earliest thing you remember?

Editor’s Note:  I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers.  I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?


8 thoughts on “Memories are a tricky thing.

  1. Chuck Barish


    Charles F. Barish, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF Wake Gastroenterology Wake Research Associates Raleigh, North Carolina


    1. I honestly do not know if she was ticketed. I do know that the entire incident was considered an accident. My sister was not driving unsafely, it was just an unfortunate path for that girl to take as we drove by. I remember Michelle was very upset by the whole thing, but I was very young. I did not get out of the car until after the ambulance had already been and gone, so I didn’t even see the girl.


        1. I believe it is just a blip in the past. I remember seeing that girl around much later, fully healed up. I haven’t spoken to my sister to see what she remembers from this whole event- She’s nine and a half years older than me, so I think she was probably in high school at that point.


  2. Your poor sister! That must have been terrifying!

    They had Olan Mills in the UK as well. My mum had a photo from one of those sessions on display for YEARS, and I hated what I was wearing in it! (Also, I looked miserable… they couldn’t have managed ONE photo with all three of us smiling?).

    My earliest memory is of being on a seesaw with my dad giving me “the bumps”. I managed to smack my mouth on the handle bar. I remember screaming my head off while my dad rushed me home and then my mum sitting me on top of the washing machine while she cleaned up blood – I don’t think I was seriously injured, just bit my lip. I can’t have been more than 2 or 3 then since my sister wasn’t with us at the playground, which would mean she either wasn’t born yet or was still a baby (I was 2 1/2 when she was born).


  3. Robert

    I can remember standing in front of my parent’s house when it was plastered.
    That was in 1976 or 1977, so I must have been 2,5 years or so.

    However, I can’t really remember much else from my childhood – just a glimpse here and there, but no extended periods of time…


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