I defy the recent finding that a man's memory of his teenage years is no more likely to be accurate than mere chance. The researchers at the Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago questioned only 48-year-old men, who naturally remembered things differently from what they had said when the researchers questioned them 34 years before at the age of 14.
Mature men know that 34 years is not long enough for events to be remembered accurately.
Even the value-added years since I was 14 may not be long enough for total recall, but I certainly remember 1939 as accurately as the names of the people we met at a party last week.
I dare one of those researchers (whose conclusions were reported by Reuters on June 2) to tell me I misremember the sign posted by the principal in our Midwestern school hallway:
"Don't wait to be a man to be great. Be a great boy!"
Would they deny my certainty that in a school show I portrayed a ventriloquist's dummy named Bosco on a bigger student's knee?
Did I not write and deliver the ahead-of-its-time antitobacco oration, "Where There's Smoke, There's Fire," before the WCTU in the church basement?
Did I not play tennis, using the old underhand grip, on the American Legion courts?
I think there's a likelihood better than chance that the big Armistice Day (Veterans Day) blizzard came that year. They closed the schools and we could barely get to the movies. Am I wrong that they were double features?
I know, I know. The researchers reportedly questioned the boys and men on matters like sex, religion, and family relationships.
I remember well beyond the vagaries of chance that I went to Sunday school regularly and loved my parents. My memories of sex are less precise.
Ten more years, and everything should be perfectly clear.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society