Love your memories: The things in your life that can never come back - opinion

To those of you still young, sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. Things end, but memories last forever! 

 So many photos of people I loved, whom in this world I will never meet again (Illustrative). (photo credit: Laura Fuhrman/Unsplash)
So many photos of people I loved, whom in this world I will never meet again (Illustrative).
(photo credit: Laura Fuhrman/Unsplash)

I suppose another word for it is “nostalgia” – that sudden ache to recapture so much you loved in your life that can never come back. Not into your life and not into anyone else’s because unless you are a nonagenarian, like I am, they will not even understand what you are talking about.

I look in vain for movies that have so much meaning for me but have not been shown for decades. Something like Casablanca that pulls at your heartstrings, and you can still remember many of its famous lines, like “Round up the usual suspects” and “We’ll always have Paris.” The actors you idolized and whose names only elicit blank stares today, such as Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Bob Hope, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Mario Lanza, Deanna Durban, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald. You try to find in today’s music something that can bring tears to your eyes, like Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” You remember the Big Bands, such as Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller – music from Paradise!

Often, I find myself going through my old photo albums, and each photograph (the early ones captured on a Kodak Brownie box camera) elicits a smile of memory and a hint of tears. My childhood home was no longer there the last time I visited Australia (replaced by a tall apartment building), but every single detail of it is etched on my heart and my memory.

The people who were such an integral part of my life, and who sometimes return to me in my dreams: Dad standing on the veranda, waiting for me to come home from a date, anxiously checking his watch to make sure I kept to my 11 p.m. curfew. 

And here’s a photo of my beloved mother. In those 1930 Depression years, she somehow managed to feed our family of seven with delicious meals made from the most frugal ingredients. I can’t remember her ever buying anything for herself. Just recently, after coming across a photo of her dated 1942, I grabbed pen and paper and wrote a poem:

 Letters (credit: PIXABAY) Letters (credit: PIXABAY)

THE PHOTOGRAPH

It is rather faded now,

The sepia more yellow, and there’s a crack,

But in the album with today’s glossy prints

It has an air that the colored photos lack.

My mother’s dress is different from today’s –

And even then may not have been in style,

Yet every time I flip through all the rest

This is the page on which I linger for a while.

There is such wisdom in her soft and gentle smile,

And sadness for the losses in her life –

The war from which my brother did not return;

The Depression years, and other kinds of strife.

My albums chronicle the way my children grew

And now I’ve added families of their own.

Cords of tenderness bind me fast with love

But when I see that photo – I’m alone.

So many photos of people I loved, whom in this world I will never meet again.

Each one evokes memories too precious to share.

I have drawers full of “clutter” (my daughter’s word) that I will never throw away. They have no monetary value, but to me, they are valuable beyond words. Children’s drawings, torn paper with the words “I love you” written in shaky letters, a challah cloth with crooked stitches, my children’s letters to me across the years, and invitations such as bar mitzvahs, engagement parties and weddings. My late husband’s death notice; 65 years of marriage ended. 

I try not to let my memories sadden me. Now and again, like rubbing on a magic lamp, I try to relive them: my childhood with my family; three glorious years living in London in the early 1950s; my wedding; the birth of my four wonderful children, who still bless me with their love and kindness; and the feeling of wonder at a garden of flowers or a night sky with stars strewn like diamonds. Perhaps the most important thing to hold on to is that feeling of awe at seeing beauty, at the birth of a newborn baby and at a reunion with someone your own age with whom you can ask ”Do you remember?” and they clasp your hand in understanding.

To those of you still young, sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. Things end, but memories last forever! 

The writer is the author of 14 books. Her latest novel is Searching for Sarah. [email protected]