The Librarian and the Library of Memories and Thoughts

I am considering placing a help wanted ad.

Help wanted: The Librarian for the library of my memories and thoughts.

Not just any Librarian.

A cool Librarian like my friend Deb (the nocturnal librarian).

Duties include cataloging all of my old memories and thoughts, and being a gatekeeper of sorts.

Let me explain.

Memories are weird things. They seem accurate, but may not be exactly what happened. Our memories may evolve each time we access them.

According to Daniela Schiller (assistant professor of neuroscience and psychiatry) “if we retrieve an emotional memory and then experience it in a different way, it is going to change…this means that memory traces are dynamic, so each time we retrieve a memory it might change.”

I have a tendency to carry around some weird, embarrassing, or somewhat traumatic memories like overdue exaggerated library books. Picture walking through life with two arm-loads of books. Arm-loads that are so heavy that your arms are out and away from your body, like flightless wings. Books that have become written, retrieved, changed, and re-written.

That book about the time I was supposed to play the clarinet while the chorus sang, but I stopped playing in front of all those people.

That book about the time I was lost in the woods.

That book about being scared in my grandmother’s old creepy house.

That book about snakes (any snakes, volumes 1 through 263).

That book about being completely frustrated in school.

The books about the awkward teen years (Volumes 1, 2, and 3).

That book about [insert other emotional memories].

This is why I need the Librarian.

The Librarian would set up some much-needed rules and structure.

The Librarian would come up with creative reading programs that are balanced and provide perspective.

The Librarian would make sure that I could only take out a certain number of these books at one time. Inspect them for changes when they returned, and make me pay a fine for keeping them too long.

Possible Rules:

  1. You can only take out 1 or 2 children’s books at a time.
  2. Only 5 books can be checked out at once, but must not be from the same category. For example, all 5 cannot be from the embarrassment section.
  3. Books can be checked out for two weeks.
  4. Upon return books will be inspected for any changes, distortions, or over-exaggeration.
  5. Positive memory books must always outnumber negative ones. For example, if you are only check out one book, it has to be positive. Three books? Has to be two positive and one negative.

The Librarian position is open until filled. The pay is flexible based on experience, and has a generous benefit package. The workplace is fun, a little weird, but interesting. Please submit your resume and cover letter, and we look forward to hearing from you.



Celebrate Events

Flags in DC

(Image Courtesy of My Daughter, and the Washington Monument)

A few years ago I wrote about lessons I learned from my mom.

They were simple lessons:

Be Tough. Work Hard. Celebrate Events.

Last week, I was able to share these lessons with the crowd of family and friends that gathered for her memorial service.

More than just the words, or the lessons. We decided to put one of her lessons into practice: Celebrate Events.

We decided to make this 3,138 mile journey memorable and celebrated events along the way.

Car Trouble.

Mountain views.

Hershey Park.

Fast Rides.

Park food.

Visits with great friends.

Sushi. (Arguably the best I have had.)

Long days in the car.

Audio books.

Car Dancing.

Hotel pools.


Food. Food. Food.

Hugs from those who are close.

Tears, memories, and more hugs.

Connection with those you love.


More driving.

Sea World.


More rides.

Florida rain.

A round of frozen drinks to toast the one we lost.

Driving still.

The meal at the Bull.

Washington D.C.

Gluten Free Grilled Cheese!!!

Memorials that move you.

Remembering great people and great events.

Walking. Walking. Walking.


More road time.



Driving still.


Despite the loss, despite the sadness, we celebrated.

Great new memories.

New stories.

Mom, we will miss you.

Thanks again for the lessons.


I Remember When…

The other day I spent about an hour in the pool with my youngest daughter.  After a dizzying session of whirlpool creation, we began talk.  We talked about the squirrel trap she created.  How those little guys stole all of the almonds she scattered across the driveway, but none of the blueberries were harmed.

At some point I thought of about how amazing it was to be having this conversation with this little person.  My thoughts drifted to all of the memories of her growing up and I started to share some of that with her in the way that my wife and I sometimes share with each other.  We call it “I remember when…”

I remember when you were born.

I remember when you used to be afraid of the deeper pool.

I remember when I first saw you climb our tree like a monkey.

Then it dawned on me to alter it a little and begin to ask questions instead.

Do you remember when…

Do you remember when you were born?  No, but I remember the pictures.  Did I really have all that dark hair?  Yes.

Do you remember when we collected rocks at the beach?  Yes.  But mostly, I liked throwing them in the water.

The questions helped, and eventually she didn’t need prompting and it began to flow.

I remember when I was little and played with a pink basket in your room.

I remember when I first went to school.

I remember when my older sisters came home from college and I cried, because I missed them.

Today, what do you remember?  Take a few moments and reflect and share a few with us, or someone close to you.  Try this out with people you know and ask them what they remember.