Recalling childhood memories


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/09/2020 (994 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

At seven years old, an odour triggered an early memory.

I had just returned from the hospital where I was quarantined for two weeks. There was a carriage sitting in the front hall of our residence on Stella Avenue. Inside was my newborn baby sister and I was thrilled.

It was then that I noticed the strong smell of the hood’s plastic material. A picture flashed before my eyes. I was lying on my back in the same carriage looking up at people staring in at me. I was perhaps 10 months old.

Just then my mother noticed and hollered at me to move away from the carriage. I would give the baby germs, she declared.

Needless to say I never forgot that memory.

Psychologists Jean Piaget and Bachal Inlander teamed up for 40 years to study early childhood development. In 1973 they believed that there was a link between memory and intelligence.

The smarter you were, the more you recalled. Most researchers of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s concluded that happy childhood memories and childhood development are linked to better emotional, spiritual, and mental health later in life. 

Growing up was simpler back then. Most children had siblings, cousins and neighbours to play with. Children were sophisticated socially and learned to adapt and communicate well. 

Yet with so much freedom to run around and play, there were fewer temper tantrums and mood swings. Psychologists felt that parents from that generation were the best mentors. They remembered the hard times.  In turn, children living in what we call “the good old days” learned to behave and to control their emotions.

What’s different today? Very young children spend a lot of time on their devices. Parents worry that continued use of tech contraptions will harm them. Most young people prefer online connections and seem to be detached socially.                          

The world has changed so much since those early times. I believe it’s impossible and unfair to expect our children to think, act and behave like we did growing up. It’s as if we’re all on a different planet. Technology has changed our world. What was once fantastic science-fiction, has become today’s reality. But just like in former times, our society has problems. Once the threats were Spanish flu, TB, diphtheria, polio and other diseases. Today it’s climate change and COVID-19. At the beginning of the pandemic, streets emptied of cars and people.

Suddenly we had a glimpse of the past. There was peace and quiet and even the air we breathed seemed fresher. With school and jobs cancelled, families reunited and rediscovered togetherness. They even found that it could be fun.

But when you walk outside, you can sense the fear. We are beginning to realize, with the escalation of COVID-19 cases, we’re stuck in this strange situation for the long haul. Strangers and even friends seem like a threat. We yearn for the past that we took for granted.

Once more we’re at war, but this time our foe is microscopic. We pray for the fortitude to carry on.

Freda Glow is a community correspondent for the North End.

Freda Glow

Freda Glow
North End community correspondent

Freda Glow is a community correspondent for the North End.

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