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Judy Kucharuk: How our memories morph

A recent conversation got me thinking about memories and how they morph into something completely different from reality. 
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Judy Kucharuk: "The conclusion was that many of my stories of my youth were true-ish, but my predisposition to make the sounds ‘louder’, the leaps ‘further’, the danger ‘greater’ and the consequences dire had made the stories much more exciting to share with my children or anyone else who would listen."

A recent conversation got me thinking about memories and how they morph into something completely different from reality. 

“I told Dylan about the time Jessie, and I were getting our immunization and how I kicked the nurse in the leg, jumped off the table, and ran down the road. You had to come after me in the car,” I said to my Mom.

Mom, taking sip from her coffee responded, “Well, you are sort of correct. It was Jessie who kicked the nurse, yelled ‘RUN JUDY!’ and you both scampered down the stairs of the clinic, jumped into the car and locked the doors. The nurse was furious, and I was laughing so hard that she got angry with me, and I think we ended up getting your immunizations done in Fairview after that.” 

“Really? It wasn’t me who kicked the nurse? You didn’t have to come after me in the car?”

“Nope! It was Jessie, not you.”

“Weird that I would remember it so clearly and incorrectly. Hey! Maybe it was Jessie and not me who took the Dodge Dart for a spin and scratched the Lincoln when she returned to the carport!”

“No, Judy, that was all you.”

I should note that it is not cool to kick the nurse who is giving you the injection. It is not cool to kick anyone. In my defence, this was probably 1969 and this particular nurse was terrifying in stature and manner, and resembled Klinger from the television show Mash. Google it.

Getting a little more comfortable on the couch, I asked, “What about the time I was tossed from the boat at Running Lake and told to swim to shore?”

“Yup, happened.”

“And when you stopped on the road because Jessie and I were fighting and told me to get out, that I had to walk home, but then that crazy dude who was sleeping in the ditch reared up and I managed to get back into the car at the last minute as your foot hit the accelerator?”

“Yup, sorry ‘bout that – happened.”

“Okay… what about the time that I…”

The conclusion was that many of my stories of my youth were true-ish, but my predisposition to make the sounds ‘louder’, the leaps ‘further’, the danger ‘greater’ and the consequences dire had made the stories much more exciting to share with my children or anyone else who would listen.


Judy Kucharuk lives and writes in Dawson Creek.