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[av_heading heading=’Profiting from childhood memories’ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote’ size=” subheading_active=’subheading_below’ subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=” custom_font=”]

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

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DO you occasionally stop to recall memorable events of childhood? I guess you can remember all the names of your teachers in the elementary grades, but not in college. Why is that so?

According to a published research by Professor Patricia Bauer of Emory College of Arts and Science at Atlanta, Georgia, children have more competent memory than adults; and so are apt to recall unique childhood incidents in adulthood.

Professor Bauer and her colleagues studied 83 children. They found out that between the ages of five and seven, the amount of the memories the children could recall hovered between 63 and 72 per cent.

They reckoned that while most three-year olds could recall a lot of what happened to them months earlier, these memories may persist while they are five and six, only to decline rapidly thereafter.

No wonder very few young adults could recall memories they had cherished before age three. It’s our parents, more often than not, who remind us about habits and child lingo we had “memorized” at pre-three, only to be forgotten henceforth.  Let me substantiate this up close and personal: My late mother would often recall that as a toddler learning to speak, I used to say “matataw” when I wanted to ask her for water and “bataton” when I would like to go to church with her.

Chances are, a clue to one man’s destiny could have sprung from a child’s act.  I was three or four (must be in 1953 or 1954) when my parents took me to a photo studio for a solo photo. In those film photography days, the “shooter” had to hide his face under a black cloth covering the tripod-mounted camera to prevent film damage. This was the scene I was seeing when my father carried me to a chair facing the cameraman. So scared was I that cried and thrashed my feet. It was only when my dad handed me his fountain that I sat still while the camera was clicking.

With that pen in hand, could have I subconsciously decided to be a journalist someday? In retrospect, I now realize, that first photo session was an indicator of what I would much later do for a living – write, write, write.

May I challenge you readers to also dig into your childhood for any hint of the role you would play in adult life?

Childhood memories enable us to learn from the past and relay the information to the present generation. As popularized by late Spanish philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

In the first half of 1950s in the barrio where I grew up – San Pedro in San Jose, Antique – lived the only car owner named Palermo. It was to him that the neighborhood turned to for emergency transport.  And so when my three-month old brother Walter developed a rare skin disease, my parents had no choice but hire Palermo’s car to transport the baby boy to his town clinic. Unfortunately, dermatology not having gone beyond the “primitive” stage yet, my brother eventually died.

“Never again would we disturb a neighbor,” Dad told my mom, vowing to buy a second-hand jeepney, which he did for three-thousand pesos – a princely amount in that decade.

That jeepney with capacity for 12 passengers would double as second source of income for my dad and mom who were both public school teachers. Registered as a public utility vehicle, it plied the seven-kilometer distance between our barangay and the capital town of San Jose.

At that time, teachers were earning the minimum monthly wage of one hundred twenty pesos. But our jeepney was earning much more.

Those two circumstances – the death of my infant brother and the consequential move of my father buying a jeepney – taught the family a lesson that we now read about in inspirational books: “Every adversity has a seed of prosperity.”/PN





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