I am fascinated by the human brain. If I wasn’t such an ‘olodo’ (Yoruba word for dullard) I probably would have studied something like neurology, for instance. I am even more fascinated by the memory and how it works. How information is stored in the brain and how it is retrieved or not.
I still find it mind blowing how I remember certain things about my childhood and other things are totally blanked out. For instance, I still have the picture of one of my very first friends in the world in my mind. I can’t remember her name but I remember her face. I remember my my first crush. His name and picture will be forever etched in my mind. Then I was in primary three…
It may seem weird but my brain automatically associates my early reading days with my first crush. Each time I think of reading, I remember my first crush and each time I remember my first crush, I think of reading. No, it’s because we read a lot together. In fact, each time my crush came around, I became instantly tongue tied and speechless. His seat was towards the front of the class. I sat at the far back. So as long as he didn’t turn around and look at me (which he annoying did each time I was called upon to read) I was good. I was the best reader as long as he wasn’t looking at me, or standing close to me.
Scientists haven’t completely figured out how the brain works but they say our ‘”memory” is really made up of a group of systems that each play a different role in creating, storing, and recalling your memories. When the brain processes information normally, all of these different systems work together perfectly to provide cohesive thought’. As you learn and experience the world more connections in your brain are created. The brain organizes and reorganizes itself in response to these experiences, forming memories. Your memory is triggered by the effects of outside input depending on your experiences.
I remember my teacher in primary one. I cant remember her name but I do remember her physical features. She was matronly, dark skinned and spoke a lot of Yoruba. A language I could hardly understand in primary one.
Primary two was Mr Ojo. I cant seem to get him out of my head. He was quite an ancient looking man. I think he was missing a couple of teeth. Perhaps, I remember him so clearly, because this was when school actually became fun and the competitive spirit in me was born. I remember this girl in class – Eunice – that’s all I can remember about her. She was the girl who ‘stole my thunder’ for slightly over a year and prevented me from coming first in class (Oh well, after all these years, I have come to realise there is enough thunder for everyone…it may just choose to strike at different times)
Primary three was Mrs Obi (something) cant remember if it was Obinwa or Obinna. Same age my reading hit its primary peak. At the age of 9, I wasn’t just reading the Ladybird series or our Macmillan English reading series. I can still remember the character of the story back in the day was either Mr Giwa or Lawal.
Mr Giwa is a shop keeper. He has a shop in Lawal’s village.
The shop is full of things to sell. He sells rice, beans…
(blank out :|)
At primary three, I could explain photosynthesis, the water cycle, the nitrogen cycle and the various theories of evolution (I liked the big bang theory the most, followed by the theory of the organic soup…or are they both even a variation of the same?). No book was too big. In fact, the bigger the book the more appealing I found it. I registered at the public library which was then at the old secretariat Ikeja and I borrowed two books every other day.
Primary four was Mrs Okeke. The mother of my childhood crush. She didn’t last the whole year as she and her family had to move to Anambra state, I think. Gladly, or not so gladly, my crush moved with her and relieved the tightness in my chest. She was replaced by another teacher. All I remember about her, even though she later taught me again in primary six, is that when she got pregnant she had a container by her side for storing her spit!
Primary five was Mr Oladipo, I think. I cant remember that much about him except that he was very proud of me for being the best student in Yoruba in the entire set. He took me from class to class relating how ‘omo Ibo’ beat them all to best student in Yoruba…(Oh well!)
According to scientists, if you’ve forgotten something, it may be because you didn’t encode it very effectively in the first place, perhaps because there were distractions when you were trying to encode it You may think you have it stored but you haven’t. It could also be because you’re having trouble retrieving it. They say there could have been a mismatch between retrieval cues and the encoding of the information you were searching for. So, when you try to remember you can’t, but perhaps at a later time, it will ‘suddenly’ come back to you. (They did say they do not fully understand this, right?)
So sometimes, when you try hard to forget something, you end up remembering them because in trying actively to forget, you are further encoding/embeding the memory. Yet, others have the ability to shut off a part of their memory such that they store it in a box labelled: Danger, Do Not Open – and it stays that way.
One memory I would like to erase, but can’t is one that eventually led to me trying to kill myself. Let me share this tomorrow 😛
Meanwhile, can you remember the stories you read in your primary school reader?
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. – Eccl 9:5 KJB