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« Friends | Main | Some late thoughts on the late Sheldon Brown »
Friday
Feb082008

Memories


Today is my birthday. As a kid birthdays were important, then as the years went by they mattered less and less. Now I am much older they have become important again. I guess it has something to do with the sense of achievement in having made it thus far.

People say I look good for my age. That is because I was born at a very early age and have remained young ever since. That’s me in the picture above; the earliest picture I have of myself. Taken in 1936 the year I was born.

I have a memory from about the same time the picture was taken. I know that sounds strange or even impossible, but this memory has always been with me throughout my life. I even have memories of having this memory throughout my childhood. So I know I didn’t imagine or dream it in later life.

My memory is of being with my mother; we were outside and it was a bright sunny day. My mother was standing at the end of a garden, holding me, sitting up in her arms. We were looking over a hedge into another garden.

The most likely assumption is that this was at the back of our house in Surrey, England, so therefore we were looking into a neighbor’s garden. Someone some short distance away was calling “Coo-eee, coo-eee.” My mother was saying to me, “Look, look over there.” She was pointing at the same time.

In part of this memory I was in this little body (The one you see above.) and part of the memory I was out of my body, about fifteen feet to the left, and slightly elevated. I was looking at myself in my mothers arms.

This is the only ‘out of body’ experience I have had, it has never happened since. I can still picture the scene now as I write this. I could hear this person calling, “Coo-eee,” and I watched myself, my head was straining forward to look and listen. My eyes big and round, and my head kept jerking this way and that every time my mother said, “Look, look over there.”

Suddenly, I was back inside this little body, looking out. I can even remember my thoughts at the time. I was thinking, “Who the fuck is calling Coo-ee?”

Now this in itself is interesting, because obviously I had not learned to talk at this time, much less learned the “eff” word. However, I have come to realize that memories of thoughts are in words, and even though I couldn’t talk back then, I have since added the words to describe the feeling of frustration at not being able to see the person calling out to me.

Language is both the gift, and at the same time the curse of human kind. A gift in that I can retain a memory such as this, and even share it with others. It is also a curse in that we tend to hold on to the bad memories and relive them, along with the accompanying emotional pain.

A friend of mine recently had a heart attack at age 40. He knew there was something seriously wrong, and called 911. When the ambulance arrived, he walked out of the house and then collapsed. His heart and breathing stopped, but the paramedics revived him.

He has since made a full recovery, and was recently telling me of the experience. He described an ‘out of body’ experience where he was off to one side and slightly above the scene, watching himself and the paramedics as they revived him.

His experience sounded exactly like mine; convincing me still further that it actually happened. It matters not that you believe my little story, but that you found it entertaining. It will always be real to me.

The weather forecast today calls for sunny skies and temps in the 60s, here in South Carolina, much like the day I was in the garden with my mother. I will be going out for a bike ride later; burn off some calories and make room for cake.

Reader Comments (26)

Happy Birthday!
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Mike
Dave,

We share a birthday....well, same day, different year!

Have a wonderful day and keep up the great blog stories.....
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Enjoy the sun and happy birthday. To many more,
Jack
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Happy birthday, Dave.

Your fan,

Dan
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Daniel
Happy Birthday, Dave!
Enjoy the ride, feel the breezes and savor every moment.

-- Jim
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter cyclofiend
More wishes for a happy birthday! Great story about the early memory. I have some of those, too.
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter db
Happy Birthday. Now go ride the bridge or Wappoo Road.
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter spokejunky
Dave,
I was thinking about doing an mtb ride today but, in honor of your birthday the right thing to do is to take out my Fuso instead. Have a great birthday.
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter warthog
coo-eee baby coo-eee
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Dave,

Happy birthday.
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Ron
I too have a birthday today! Seems you have a pretty special readership. I enjoy your blog a great deal and hope you stick with it.

Happy Birthday, Dave!
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Brian, Seattle
Happy Birthday, Dave. Enjoy the ride and enjoy your day.

Now...who the hell was saying "coo-eee?"
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter maltese falcon
Happy Birthday!

A mild day in February in the low country is a great time to ride!
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter leroy
Happy Birthday Dave!

Best wishes,
Bob Gong
Granite Bay, CA
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter bob g
Thanks to share your knowledge and memories. Happy birthday!

Renato
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter pedaleiro
Happy Birthday Dave!
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Scott Gordo
Happy birthday, Dave!

Jan
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Jan
happy birthday Dave

eugene
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter imabug
Happy birthday, Dave! Enjoy it!
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Ed W
It wasn't a person. It was a bird, I believe there is some folklore about this bird (catbird?) and how children interact with it.

I'm sorry. I'm short on specifics but when Dave described the sound and the sensation similar memories flooded back for me.

Happy birthday David. If we are the only ones to know this feeling even briefly it motivated us to fly. May we both fly more.
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter geoffrey
Happy Birthday, Dave! In honor of your B'day I'll take my Fuso out for a good hammering this weekend here in sunny So Cal (77 degrees forecast tomorrow).
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Bill in Pasadena
Happy Birthday, Dave!
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter gatlinburgspokejunkie
Happy Birthday, Dave!

-- Paul
February 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Dave,
"Enjoy another piece of Birthday cake or drink on me!"
When rested, "Off and On!"
'Off' that couch and 'On' you bike!
Event next Sunday here at the Beach, time to pedal ...
(MASI on my blog page.)
February 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter wrw
Happy Birthday Dave
February 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter lancewrite
Great story Dave. I hope your friend who had the heart attack took up cycling ;-)
February 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter lemmiwinks
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