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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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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