Mary Beth Writes

6/30/2022

The Jan 6 Hearings, huh? This is an amazing moment in US history and I’m trying to understand our incredibly intense response. Four of 10 voters have watched at least some of the hearings, which is 20,000,000 people. It’s not just me that can’t look away.

We are witnessing powerful people say what they said and did when lies, chaos, and reckless power were flying. Most of the witnesses have been staunch Republicans; they were and are people who pride themselves for their morals, we see them picking their way through situations where their ethics could have and often did fling them from power. This is Shakespearean stuff.

Some of you likely know and follow Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor at Boston College. Her clear daily essay about history and politics is good; I learn new facts and perspectives constantly. Here’s my M.O. lately. When I want to learn what’s going on in the world, I check a few particular tweeters to see what they are commenting about. My short list includes Richardson, Angry Staffer, and Kashana.

So this: During the Hutchinson hearing HCR tweeted that Cassidy Hutchinson described some of the incidents she witnessed as if she was re-seeing the moment while she talked. She sees the details; she slows down to check her memory for who was present. Richardson comments she used to recall events that way also.

I replied that I did also and others have agreed. Particularly women. When a moment is strong, some people seem to “freeze” the visual around them at that moment. They see color of the walls, what they were wearing, what other people were wearing or doing. They see the way the light comes into the room (that’s me) or they see the ketchup dripping down the wall. Most of us have a way of logging into and then keeping strong experiences. I suspect, though I’ve never read anything to suggest or support this – I bet young women remember scenes and details particularly well. When one has less power and more to lose, it’s a survival skill to see clearly where one is in order to recognize this fraught situation and thus to avoid this danger in the future.

I may be making this up. Or not. But as Cassidy Hutchinson replied to questions, I was struck by how often her eyes kicked into that far-off gaze of a person revisiting a memory in order to get the details right.

No point here other than what humans do as they live through crises is interesting.

Apparently Mark Meadows sits on his sofa and scrolls.

What do you do when a moment is fraught?

What are you doing these fraught days?

What do you think you will remember years from now?

 

Comments

I’ve heard that we remember things more clearly when there is a strong emotion attached to it. Being an emotional child means I remember so much. I bet the trend of young women having vivid memories has something to do with the way girls and young women are socialized to be allowed more emotional expression than boys and young men. It’s a gift they didn’t know they were giving us.
Mary Beth's picture

I've met people who have barely any memories, often older (than me!) folks - and I wonder if that indicates the ordinary things most of us remember (where did you grow up? what was your house like? who was your fav teacher?) were so toxic their minds obliterated them. How we remember and what we remember is fascinating and weird. Literally my first memory is light spilling from the kitchen in the house we moved away from when I was four. And someone was holding me.

Sometimes I think I don’t have very many memories but for me this just means I need to quiet my mind and think. When I remember a particularly strong memory, I remember my surroundings. The surroundings are as clear as the strong memory.

I remember everything, from the emotions to the minutiae. My ability to remember is part of who I am, and often informs my future.I believe it also has made me a more empathetic person. Hard to explain what I mean. On another note, I am always the family member that is called to verify information, dates, and family history. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

I love this and I know what you mean. Since I'm the only one left of my childhood family, sometimes people ask me about "back then". I guess over the years I have had a lot of internal conversations abut what was true and what was family myth. Historical criticism was a big part of what I learned in seminary - and applied to one's own old stories, is just as interesting.

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The Good Old Days???

9/28/2022

Over the past few days Len and I have been emailing with two cousins regarding this interesting topic.

Were the Good Old Days All That Good?

The four of us grew up in the late 40’s, 50’s, 60’s. We are from three hometowns. Two of us were and still are science nerds. Two of us grew up in the same family and church.

This is what Len said about his childhood.

This is a more intense version of joking to kids that our smallpox scars are power ports.

Send $ to Welcome the Strangers Among Us.

If you have a heart for new immigrants among us and are open to another way to support them – Listen Up.

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Len and I went on a hike yesterday at the Monches section of the Ice Age Trail and the photos are from there. 

Was it only a week and a half ago? My how time flies when one lives in an open and free society under daily assault.

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I have two responses to QE2’s passing.

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8/23/2022 

I first saw this photograph on Twitter in April. I don’t know the photographer, but the photo stopped me in my tracks. 

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