I’ve heard of “false memories” but never experienced any. At least I didn’t believe I had until this past week. I was reminiscing with my mom about old times. I told her I remembered how our house had been broken into by the neighbor boy and how he ran his dirt bike into our door and crashed it in splinters. I could still see it in my mind’s eye – the broken door, the bike tire mark on it, the very real and ongoing fear that the boy was hiding in our basement.
Then came the surprise … my mom corrected me saying we had only been broken into one time and that happened when I was just barely 4 years old … there were no neighbors living beside us then. The neighbor with the dirt bike moved in years later. Mom said the door had been kicked in by a dirty boot and not a dirt bike. I asked her if she was sure, my memory was so clear.
I was flabbergasted – I mean, I really “remembered” it another way. I guess my mind had felt danger from the break in and then later from the troubled boy next door and at some time the memories had been combined into a new story; the story I “remembered.”
I always had a dislike and distrust of motorcycles, give me a horse any day. And I wonder if those negative emotions rooted from an old made up memory connecting burglary and bikes, broken trust and a feeling of unsafeness. Now that the memories are separated, I’m curious if I’ll still have the same repulsion if someone asks me to go on a “bike” ride in the future? Probably, since I still feel the knot in my stomach.
It’s strange how memory works. Strange in a curious and interesting sort of way. I appreciate memory more and more as I watch my own father’s memory sliding slowly away. I’m glad my mom is still around to keep us all straightened out. LOL
Has anyone else been surprised by a false memory before? I’m curious to hear your story!