The Keys of Memory

" I wear the key of memory, and can open every door in the house of my life." Amelia Barr

I like things in threes: three pots of geraniums arranged by the porch, three pictures resting on the shelf, three flowers blooming in a vase.

Memoir often draws me to this number of objects. Opening a door of life allows me to revisit objects and attach words to the memories. When listening to first paragraphs of To Kill a Mockingbird I still get chills down my spine. A teacher recited that opening in English class when I was in high school. Hearing it now I can still visulize Scout on that street with Jem and Dill and remember the strong pull of this book and its' lessons. Noting just the cover of this dated VHS movie The Way We Were stirs up sad feelings from failed romance and regret during a time in my youth. The soundtrack of A River Runs Through It draws me to rivers. The music creates vivid images of The Coeur d' Alene, the Clearwater, and the Columbia which are symbols of significant chapters in my life. These rivers also create peace and a strong sense of place in the Inland Empire.

These three keys in my house of life remind me of how strong emotions can attach themselves to simple objects. This enables me to reflect on the overlapping connections in my life and to continue to understand their meaning.


  1. I have the basket of memories you gave me for Christmas right here by my desk and when I'm not in Othello, not behind in my grading, and not teaching an overload (like I am this term), I'm going to write about all the memories triggered by the objects in that basket. I can hardly wait to respond to the picture of Spike and Goose!

  2. My rivers are the Columbia, the Snake, and the Walla Walla --- I know what you mean about rivers providing significance in one's life. Yes, even rivers come in sets of three. . .

  3. Hi la tea dah,
    I have loved the river pictures on your blog. There was a sense of familiarity in the landscape.


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