Sunday, May 27, 2018

"You remember when . . . ."

How often have you been doing something when your mind glides to an event that happened days or even years ago and you find yourself deep in a memory?  It happens to me and others in my family often and we can't resist sharing.  Then a conversation begins with the phrase, "You remember when...."  With "Do" omitted from the beginning, it becomes more of a statement than a question, because we're 99% certain that the person we're talking to does "remember when," no matter what the memory.  Here is a sampling of a few of our conversations.

     "You remember when we used to go to Ohio Village nearly every weekend."
     "Yes, I loved it there.  It was almost like a second home.  You remember the General Store."
     "We used to get chocolate covered peanuts there.  And you used to get licorice.  You remember how we took carrots to feed the horses."
     "Oh, yes!  Especially for Jean.  I loved Jean with her soft muzzle and gentle ways.  Belgians are such wonderful horses."
     "You remember that we always went the Friday after Thanksgiving for the market."
     "It was a great way to avoid the crowds at the regular stores and we always found one or two perfect gifts.  You remember the Ohio Village Singers...."
The discussion might continue for 10 or 15 minutes as we share memories of happy times at the Village. 

     "You remember the time when everyone except me got sick on the way to Gouverneur that one year."
     "I kind of remember that.  Remind me what happened."
     "We stopped for pizza.  You guys all ate the pepperoni and I didn't.  We had to stay at a motel even though we were only an hour or two away."
     "Now I remember.  That was awful."

     "You remember when we went to Colonial Williamsburg for the first time."
     "I remember the first house we went in had re-enactors and I didn't understand what was going on.  I asked, 'What year is it?'  Thomas Jefferson pulled out his almanac and confirmed that the year was 1775.  And then he asked where we'd come from.  When we told him Ohio he was astounded that we'd traveled that long distance from the area of Virginia known as Ohio.  He said he could understand why I didn't know what year it was."
     "That was so funny.  You remember 'Little Chops.'  There was that round baby and the man pinched his fat cheeks and called him Little Chops."
     "That baby was very round.  You remember...."

     "You remember doing the ads?"
     "Oh my gosh, who could forget the ads!  Awful job!"
     "You remember how we used to set everything up on the floor in the living room on Saturday nights, then you would stuff the bags while we watched 'Dr. Quinn?'  And sometimes we had pizza."
     "I forgot about the pizza but I remember everything else.  I learned to work really fast to stuff 300 bags with all those papers."
     "You remember that we delivered them on Monday nights?  And that guy who was grumpy?  And the other house that wanted the bag a particular way?"
     "I remember there were several people who were really particular...."

The family of my childhood rarely, if ever, talked about experiences or shared memories of events.  There were no conversations that began with "You remember when."  As adult siblings we sometimes share memories, each voicing the event from a different point of view, but those are also rare occasions.

I think sharing family memories is a way to strengthen family bonds and encourage unity:  we did this together as a family and we enjoyed each others' company.  I also think it's similar to telling family stories.  Not all events and experiences in life are good, happy, or pleasant, yet we can usually learn something from the less pleasant ones. 

While I was writing this post I remembered Bruce Feiler's excellent article, "The Stories That Bind Us," in which he discussed research findings about how family narratives and the sharing of known events in the lives of the adult family members can help children become resilient.  Remembering events together, sharing our own views of how things happened with other family members, can be part of creating a family narrative.

I love that we, in our little family, bring up past events and our memories of them.  So often, we find that we all had similar experiences and views.  I hope my daughters will retell these stories and memories to my grandchildren, thereby creating an inter-generational narrative.  And I hope they'll carry on the tradition of saying, "You remember when...."

Do you and the members of your family share and discuss memories?


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved. 
Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 


  1. Oh my gosh, YES! I grew up hearing stories repeated. My sister and I still do that. When she was a toddler, my job was to walk her around to keep her from napping in the late afternoon so that she would go to sleep at bed time. When I help out with her floral business, she always says, “And you’re still walking me around.” I guess that makes no sense to anyone else, but it is our family way of recognizing how we take care of each other. It makes sense if you know the family story.

    1. It's fun to learn that others do this, too, Wendy. I guess walking your sister around when she was a toddler must have sealed the bond between you two. It's a fun story.

  2. I love when we all get to talking just like this! Sometimes we end up laughing so much it hurts. There are always those incidents that get told over and over and make us laugh every time. Great post Nancy.

    1. Thank you, Laura. Oh, yes, some stories are just too funny, and sometimes the reaction of the family members when the story's told can make it even funnier. It's great that your family shares that bond.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...