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25 March 2011

Friday Night Question, chosen at random from The Book of Questions...[More:]

#28: What is your most treasured memory?
Tough one! My marriage to my Bear is way up there, though. It was on the deck in the backyard of our house, and my dad, mom, and mom in law, all very beloved, were there, along with many dear friends. It was a gorgeous day, filled with flowers and love, and I still feel incredibly fortunate to be married to my guy.
posted by bearwife 25 March | 18:53
Wowwwwww. Tough one. I have so many amazing memories from my travels, but the one that means the most to me is a simpler one, sitting on the couch in my childhood home talking to my mom's now-deceased twin sister, one of my very best friends, getting tipsy on white wine late at night and talking about life.

She died of cancer a few years later. I lost her and my childhood home at the same time, since we couldn't afford to pay for either her healthcare or the mortgage. That was my life as I knew it, all gone at once.

Occasionally I still dream of us meeting in that house. She's as feisty and funny and cynical as she was before she got really sick, except it's the present day and she's still with all of us together, celebrating the times she didn't live to see.

posted by mykescipark 25 March | 19:00
*starts blubbering ALREADY*
posted by Specklet 25 March | 19:28
Man, now my memory just sounds gaudy.

It was when Alex Trebek said to the guy on my right, "You'll have to bet very carefully on this one. As you can see, [Madamina] has almost $20,000 more... than... you."
posted by Madamina 25 March | 20:02
I lived in a multicultural/multiracial group house when I was in grad school. A house member committed suicide. The weekend of his service, two days in, I found myself with a bunch of house members and friends, probably 15 men and two women - the other woman German, all skinny dipping in a broken into pool. We all held hands an formed a circle and ran/swam around in it. I was the only not naked person - it wasn't sexual at all, I didn't feel vulnerable, I just didn't want to have to run from security and be the slowest, and naked, so I was in my underwear. It was strangely beautiful.

It was right after this came out.

posted by rainbaby 25 March | 20:22
Hugging my little sister in the airport.
I wouldn't give that memory up for anything.
posted by rhapsodie 25 March | 20:34
Wow. I got nothing. My life has been mostly disappointments.
posted by JanetLand 25 March | 20:45
The relaxed middle days of family vacations at the beach, with time seeming endless and everyone around. Not even a specific year, house, or place; I could be four or forty, the mood, the space and unhurriedness and companionability, all feel the same.
posted by Miko 25 March | 20:48
Miko, I was going to say the exact same thing. When I got tummy bugs when I was little, I'd remember the feel of the sunshine, the breeze, and the sand, until I let go of how miserable I felt.
posted by quiet coyote 25 March | 21:03
The mister and I were at the Vedder River in the winter while the campground was closed. We were sitting on a picnic table and watching the river. It was so sunny and bright, but cold so we were bundled up a bit. We didn't say a word, we just watched the river go by. Watched birds, mostly swallows, flit back and forth. All you could hear was the water, chirping birds and the light breeze in the trees. It was one of those moments that seemed to be nowhere in time; like right then and there was everything.
posted by deborah 25 March | 21:16
I'm not sure I can identify my *most* treasured memory, but here's a rather fond one:

About five years ago, I was living in a house with two other guys. It was laid out pretty much how you'd expect a house occupied by three early to mid-20's guys would be: no dining table, lots of floor space, tv surrounded by two couches and a recliner.

This was the house I was living in when I adopted Coya from the SPCA. As some may know, she was in pretty poor health when I got her. She'd only been at the shelter for a week or so and was still fairly emaciated and had some respiratory problems. And she was heartworm positive. The (non-surgical) treatment for heartworms is arsenic-based and given her overall health profile, the vets that I'd taken her to see strongly recommended taking it slowly and splitting up the treatments instead of subjecting her weak body to the whole thing. So instead of the normal thirty-ish days of down-time/bedrest that most dogs need while undergoing treatment, we spent about four months monitoring how she was doing with the treatments while she was also on a strong dosing of anti-bacterials and I was just trying to add some weight to her. It wasn't much fun for either of us.

Anyhow, she was less than a year-old and I spent a lot of time diligently making sure she didn't get too hyper lest her blood start pumping too quickly and the worms form a clot causing an aneurysm as I was terrified of having to witness her just keel over in front of me. So we took lots of walks and I took her for rides in the car and otherwise we just chilled a lot, her in a crate and me laying next to her reading. It wasn't too difficult at first as she felt like shit and kind of moped around for the most part.

So one night, my roommates and I are in the living room watching TV and I had put her combo dry food/wet food/boiled chicken dinner down in the hall and went back to sit on the couch. She'd finished eating and something must have just clicked in her head. All of the sudden, I heard her scamper through the hall, bolt through the kitchen and the next thing I knew, I looked over and saw her leaping over my roommate J, who was sitting in the recliner, clear the arm of the couch and land right next to me with this wonderful "Ta-fucking-da!!!" look on her face. I couldn't help but laugh and just kind of take solace in the fact that she was obviously feeling better.

It was only a week or two later that she finished treatment and then an additional thirty days after that she got the all-clear to just be a normal puppy and it's been a great five years since. But thinking about that random scamper/leap/check me out event still makes me grin when I think about it.
posted by ufez 25 March | 21:42
Also, mykescipark, please don't apologize for yours. I think it's fantastic.
posted by ufez 25 March | 21:44
I can't pinpoint my most cherished memory, but this one's up there. It's completely inconsequential and silly, and just thinking about it lifts my spirits in an almost literal, tangible sense:

I was in my early twenties, living in Chicago. My sort-of-partner/sort-of-best-friend E and I were in The Artful Dodger, a favorite bar, with our favorite friend, C.

You need to know that E and C are perhaps the smartest, quickest, funniest people I've ever met, and both are magnificently gifted singers and mimics.

It's a loud, merry night in the bar, and the three of us are sitting knee-to-knee in our curved booth, straining to hear each other cracking wise over the bustle and music. I'm in the middle; E and C can barely hear each other. I've been drinking more than usual, and I have that pleasant floaty sensation that I sometimes get when I'm tipsy. I am already aware that this is an evening to treasure, just because I am with two of my favorite people and we are having such a great time.

Then a Smiths song starts on the jukebox.

Spontaneously, independently, and simultaneously, E and C each starts crooning his (never-before-attempted) note-perfect and utterly hilarious Morrissey impression into my ear. E has his hand on my knee; C puts his hand on my arm.

I sat there in a haze as they realized what was happening and finished the whole song together. I was beaming and laughing and amazed and loving them both with all my heart, loving the serendipity of the moment, loving these two people, their talent, their humor, their fellowship.
posted by Elsa 25 March | 22:11
These are all so insanely cool. Still pondering mine.
posted by BoringPostcards 25 March | 22:14
mykescipark, will you retract your apology if I add: my own memory is all the sweeter since E was soon to be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and he died just a few years later. This was one of the last carefree times before we really grasped a sense of our own mortality, and that inconsequential outing is a perfect memory of him in good health and good spirits.

Almost 20 years later, when I think of that evening, I feel literally lifted up, like I'm floating in a happy haze.
posted by Elsa 25 March | 22:22
Yeah, mykecipark and all, it's amazing how many good memories are tempered with/born out of bad ones.
posted by rainbaby 25 March | 23:48
I treasure the present, not the past.
posted by Eideteker 25 March | 23:52
Sorry, I guess that sounds pretentious and snotty on non-preview. It's not a judgement. It's just that when you're an eideteker, your memories are always there. It's not that you don't treasure them because they're so easily-accessible as to be valueless; it's more that because they're always so close at hand, the tendency is to spend all your time dwelling on them. You can be forever looking backwards, and miss your life as it's happening. That's happened to me for most of my life, so I'm very much about changing that.

[Did anyone see that recent episode of House with the woman with the perfect memory? She was just trapped in the bitter recriminations of past actions... it's kinda like that.]
posted by Eideteker 25 March | 23:58
This last New Year's Eve, a few of my old friends and I gathered around a fire with a few beers to ring in 2011 together. At some point in the evening, someone was humming a song, and the rest of the group spontaneously joined in. It occurred to us only then that most of us had sang together in the a cappella chorus in high school. We spent the next two hours boisterously singing school songs and old favorites, completely missing midnight in the process.

My family moved away the day after I graduated high school, so I treasured the opportunity to spend time with my old friends. The group that night consisted of some of the best men I've ever had the honor to meet. The spontaneity, camaraderie, and warmth as we burst into song was something I'll never forget.
posted by Comic Sans-culotte 26 March | 06:16
These are great. My most treasured memories are of my children. I cannot pick one. If I had to it would have to be bringing home my first baby and the first two years or so before the second child came. I adore having two children but the memories of being a new parent are very special to me.

I have another fond memory of my dear friend Brandi coming to my house to visit. She showed me her mastectomy. She looked beautiful as usual and just got a brand new haircut. She was happy and so hopeful. She was positive that she was going to beat breast cancer. Neither of us had any idea of what was to come. If I did I would have been more attentive, kinder. She held my second baby for the first time and I took lots of pictures. That was the last time I saw her in good health before she died.
posted by LoriFLA 26 March | 11:55
My best (and some of my worst) memories involve my son. My son thanking me for being a good Mom. The hug after he'd been away at bootcamp for 9 weeks. Seeing him for the 1st time.

posted by theora55 26 March | 12:40
I have a lot of memories of perfect places to sleep and being perfectly sleepy or having the perfect waking up. I've been sort of rolling this over in my mind and I keep coming back to the really dusky sunlight that would come into my old apartment in Seattle and what a joy it was to wake up to, or the way I can roll over one way in my current place and it's dark and roll over the other way to finally greet the day. I have random memories of my parents before they were fallible and my sister before she was a little haunted and me before I got so cynical but it's hard to love those memories because they're not "true" in a weird sense. But waking up in that perfect bedroom in that perfect morning is as great now as it ever was.
posted by jessamyn 26 March | 15:18
I don't think of my good memories, and while I know I've had some wonderful experiences, they are usually far from me while the bad waits to pop up at any given moment of slack. I can think of only what springs to mind, which is a moment in my teens when I was leaving a group of people to go home and two of them came flying out the front door to let me know how much they liked me in silly teenage fashion. I felt completely and truly loved and wanted by a whole group of people who I loved being around and I carried that feeling with me for days.
I think if I always felt like I had a group of people at my back who accepted me for who I was, everything would be easier.
posted by ethylene 26 March | 20:45
This one is actually easy for me. There was a day many years ago that was one of the most perfect days ever, and the cool part was that I realized how cool it was as it happened.

We lived in Dearborn, Michigan. My wife's uncle was driving around the country, visiting family, and was due to come through our neck of the woods on Labor Day weekend. He's a sports fan so I asked if he wanted to go to a Tigers game. As it turned out, the Tigers were playing a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians (who went on to play in the World Series that year... 1995?)

I got tickets for Labor Day, Monday. As it turns out, every Monday they had "family value pack" nights where you could get a minimum of 4 reserved seats together, along with a hot dog and a drink, for $6. So I ordered the tickets and they held them at Will-Call for us.

We drove out- the five of us: Me, the wife, the two boys and Uncle Herb- to the stadium, got a parking spot pretty close in for not a lot of money, picked up our tickets and went in.

The weather was perfect: sunny and warm, but not hot. The Tigers dropped the first three games of the series but won the game we went to, which was even better since we were surrounded by Indians fans.

At the end of the game, they did a "run the bases" thing for the kids. So I went down with my two sons and waited at home plate while they ran around the bases with a ton of other kids. I just sat there and looked at the field from ground level. This was the old Tiger Stadium which has since been replaced.

It was just a perfect day. The boys enjoyed it, Uncle Herb enjoyed it, we all did. It was... perfect.
posted by Doohickie 26 March | 22:43
I should journal more often. It's too easy to forget these things.

I'm like my dad in that I keep pictures in my head of things I want to remember. This is not a foolproof system or I wouldn't need to journal.

Today was a nice day. The sun was out, the wind wasn't blowing. It's been warm enough for me to walk to the daycare. It takes the exact amount of time that it would take to drive.

I got there and the baby was ready for me. I took him to the little room that mothers use to feed the babies. He nursed on the left side for about five minutes, then got up to play a little (that's our pattern). Since I'd had to skip my morning pumping, I was pumping the right side while he was eating and playing. When we were done playing, I set him down again to nurse on the left, but he kept turning his head away. I finally put him in a football hold so that he could face the "right" way and still nurse on the left side. He finished after a little bit, and decided to lay there and play with my hand.

So that's the picture I want to fix in my head: my baby, lying quietly on the pillow next to me, exploring my hand one finger at a time. Behind him, the window is the only source of light, and I can see the treetops and the cars in the parking lot below us. There are some itty bitty birds perching on the power lines just outside the window. The pump is doing its thing beside me and is the only noise in the room.

Today was a nice day.

It had actually been a really shitty day at work with Toddler Boss. This made up for it.
posted by lysdexic 27 March | 00:20
I cannot pick out a MOST treasured memory, but up there is this:

I met my wife while I was substituting at a private school in Ojai, CA. The school took lots of camping and ski trips, and there was this group of Iranian kids (this was pre-revolution) who were from wealthy families who refused to go skiing, so they hired me for a week, and kept Vicki back because she was the least senior teacher, to give them some sort of program for a week.

These guys were a handful. A dozen of them, most of them over in the US to stay out of the army. Unlimited funds from home, and little use for the progressive values that most of the private Ojai schools operated under. A challenge. But the school could not pass up the money these guys represented.

V and I decide to give them their own field trip: a trip down to LA and lunch at an Persian restaurant in East Hollywood. I was driving a van and V was following in her Fiat 128 and we had both vehicles packed with these guys. The were not really interested in any part of LA ("this is the coliseum, where the Olympics are going to be held" - "fuck the Olympics, I piss on the Olympics.") and were only marginally interested in the food. One of them wandered off and I had to go snatch him out of on of the corner porn theaters which were all over that part of Hollywood.

On the way back, Vicki got another lesson in other cultures when she looked in the rearview mirror and saw the dominant guy of this macho making out with one of the others.

We made it back to Ojai, feeling we survived, and then went out to dinner to end the week. After dinner (Casa Landucci), walking out to the car, she stumbled into me, and sorta kept contact (she maintains to this day that I initiated this) and then we made out in the car and ended up spending the night together (I was staying at a bunkhouse outside of some friends' house and so we slept on the floor) and became a couple.

We still have friends in Ojai but have not been back there in awhile.

I have good memories of this whole day.
posted by danf 27 March | 09:43
There are tons of treasured memories: my 6 week old son looking up at me at 5am during a nursing session, then breaking into a huge, real smile; my older son becoming protective of his newborn brother. Riding in the back of my parent's Volkswagon Bus, lying on the engine, coming back from the boardwalk one summer night, with Seals and Crofts "Summer Breeze" playing on the radio..

But right now, I treasure the memory of bringing Mr. V home from the hospital on Christmas Eve, four days after his surgery to remove his cancerous right kidney and a wedge on his right lung where it had metastacized. Up until I got there, we didn't know if he could come home (the hospital was over an hour from home). I brought our four kids (two his; two mine) and my mom to the hospital to see him - I had us all wearing Santa hats. We walked into the room; and with a huge grin my husband told me "I can go home today." I still remember how he looked, insisting on walking out of the hospital, one of the guards telling him how healthy he looked. I agonized over every bump in the road home, but to this day, despite everything that happened after, it's the most precious memory I have.

posted by redvixen 27 March | 16:34
I'd have to say the birth of each of my sons. Nothing else stands out like that.
posted by arse_hat 27 March | 23:17
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