Imagine being the parent of a five-year-old with childhood leukemia. You feel as though the attention you pay to your son’s happiness is more important than your career, your hobbies, or your personal goals. You strive for a balance between carefully managing his health and granting him the freedom to roam and dream. Communicating to him and to others in your life the implications of his cancer—not to mention fielding the sentiment of pity that inevitably comes your way—is a daily task that requires bravery and patience. No matter how much you worry about him, your greatest hope is that he enjoys each new day as it comes.
There’s nothing like microwaveable taquitos on a hot summer day in sunny San Diego. I spatter some Tapatío onto the paper plate. It’s July something. The T.V. buzzes in the background. I’m on the couch. My Converse teeter off the corner of the coffee table. Then, I hear it. And with the fanfare of nostalgia, I’m reunited with the theme song that started it all.
We are riders on a mission,
Action kids in fun condition.
Prepare to countdown...
A great, great man once said, “if you have never lived a day without plastic, you have never, ever lived.” That man probably did not know that there is plastic coating on most metal, and thus did not know that to truly abstain from the use of plastic would mean never leaving your bed—or more accurately, the floor of your room.
In 1976, a nurse named Karen Quigley walks into a hospital room in Charleston, South Carolina. Her patient is a 26-year old male with thick, bushy brows, blue-green eyes, a wide nose and a head of wavy dark hair. He has a herniated disc, and a pinched spinal nerve is sending sharp pain down his leg. He asks for something to read, so she loans him her pocket Bible. While reading, he has the urge to make marks in it. He asks his mother to buy him another copy, so as not to write in the nurse’s.
About a week later, he is discharged from the hospital, but still has extreme difficulty walking. He sets up a hospital bed in his duplex. His mother stays in town. He continues reading the Bible, and he remembers the nurse’s name.
“Alan’s brain got run over by a speedboat,” Cathy Crimmons’ book, “Where is the Mango Princess?” begins. It’s the story I know all too well: the loved one is going about her day, eating her food, caring for her children, when smack! her brain and her life are run over by a goddamn speedboat.
The term flashbulb memory, coined by psychologists Roger Brown and James Kulik, “is a memory that’s encoded during an emotionally dramatic event, something that’s highly significant…even if it’s [understood] after the fact,” says Lori Driscoll, a professor in the psychology department. “The context is encoded in much more detail than with regular memories.”