Memories Are Made of Something

A lot of us old people are excited about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. It was February 9, 1964. A Sunday night, of course. I was 12 years old and we were living in an isolated area six miles west of Lancaster, California, in the desert about 70 miles north of Los Angeles. I remember watching the program, as we did every Sunday night, right before Bonanza. Everybody watched Ed Sullivan and Bonanza.

I also remember being excited about the Beatles’ performance that night and how excited my friend Dwight was too. Dwight was a tall, skinny kid, three or four years older than me, which was a little odd, but there weren’t many kids my age where we lived. That night is one of my favorite memories from those years.

Today, however, it occurred to me that by 1964, I was in junior high (the 7th grade) and we had moved into Lancaster, where I attended Piute School (it’s still there). We weren’t living in the desert outside of town anymore and I couldn’t have talked about the show with Dwight. I’m pretty sure he and I never saw each other again after my family moved into town. 

Maybe Dwight and I watched something else one night and were excited about that? And as the years went by I somehow combined that memory with the Beatles on Ed Sullivan? Is it ok that some of the best things we remember never happened? 

At least I don’t remember being at the show in New York City with all those screaming girls, but give me a few years. 

3 thoughts on “Memories Are Made of Something

  1. “Is it ok that some of the best things we remember never happened?”

    Immensely enjoy that line.

    Reminds me of Robert Nozick’s experience machine thought experiment. If we could experience all the same pleasures of doing the activities we value without actually doing those activities would we do it?

    In the same manner: If we could experience pleasure from the memories of actions undergone long ago without actually having performed those actions would we even try to perform those actions?

    Memory is a miraculous thing.

  2. Thanks for reminding me of Nozick’s experience machine. I wonder how much time I’d spend in one of those if I had the ability to pop in and out (which, as you know, wasn’t the scenario Nozick suggested — he had longer stays in mind). It would definitely be tempting sometimes.

    For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to what Nozick imagined:

    Click to access exper_machine_nozick.pdf

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