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Why do mothers and daughters have different memories? "The Hairbrush Spanking."

Updated on October 11, 2012

This Hub is about The Nature of Memory

Many people have very different memories of similar events. In this hub I look at an example of different versions of childhood memories. The first is one of my stories about growing up in Vancouver's West End. The second is a vivid well known story told by world famous psychologist Alfred Adler to discuss his ideas on the nature of memory.

The Hairbrush

Mommy and me and the hairbrush.
Mommy and me and the hairbrush. | Source

"THE HAIRBRUSH"

Soon after I was born mommy's brother, Uncle Irving, was killed fighting the Nazis. He was a bomber and his plane crashed. My mother gave all her love and hopes to me. She fed me special treats, read stories with me, dressed me up like a little Jewish princess and took me to the art gallery. And she left me free to play in the lane.

When I was wild and jumped and climbed trees, she let me be. But once I was really really bad, and she had to spank me. She got her pink hairbrush. I struggled, I screamed, I begged. She pulled down my pants. It hurt.

Now I am 62 and mother is 88. We love each other, and fight with each other. Mom feeds me and my partner Marie-Belle delicious treats: kosher brisket, hummus, spinach pie, and almond komishbroit. She gives us books, we go to movies. Mom often tells me and everyone who will listen, that I was a golden child. I was always happy and good. I always listened to her. She never ever had any reason to discipline me. And that pink hairbrush. There was no pink hairbrush, but if there was oneā€¦ it was only used to brush my shiny black hair.

When I asked my sister if it would be OK to publish this story of mother/daughter relationships lifelong parenting and early childhood memories she said "I guess its OK ...just make sure mom never sees it.

The Nature of Memory

Memory is Individual

We wonder why our parents and siblings do not have the same memories as we do when we experience the same events.

It seems people's memories are not identical tape recorders but individual patterns of clusters of neurons shaped by emotion intelligence and experience. What might be vivid and terrifying for a child is just another blip in a frantically busy day for a parent.

Court cases are a good case of this-individual memories of an event can differ widely. People who witness anaccident at the same time can give vastly different reports. Psychological laboratory experiments have shown that individual memories can be greatly influenced by social pressure. It is likely that we remember what we want to,or need to, or in cases of trauma are psychologically strong enough to remember.

One of the most famous accounts of the fallibility of memory is told by Dr. Alfred Adler.

Dr. Alfred Adler is the father of Adlerian Psychology and the following is one of his famous stories.

Memory of the Cemetery

As a young boy Alfred Adler had to walk past a cemetery on his way to school. The cemetery terrified him, but did not seem to frighten his school chums. Alfred got frightened even when he thought about the graves in the cemetery.After suffering great fear Alfred finally decided to face his fear and to overcome it.

One day he summoned his courage. He walked through the entrance gate and entered the cemetery. He ran through the cemetery and even had the nerve to jump over the graves. It was terrifying at first and then exciting. In this way young Alfred conquered his fear. The memory of the cemetery and his actions was very vivid to Alfred Adler as he grew up. He told other people about his actions as a child. He wrote about this event. Then at age 35 he heard from a friend that there was no cemetery on the way to school. Adler concluded that he had created this vivid memory in his subconscious. He concluded that his subconscious created this memory for him as a way for him to face the deaths of his father.

I have thought about this story often. Since both Adler and his friend were relying on their memories of the walk to school, how could they know which of them had the true memory. I have thought one might be true...no the other might be true. I have never learned if Adler returned to the the original streets to look and see if any cemetery or graves were there.

Stories of Vancouver's West End

This hub is about the nature of memory.Why is it two people remember events so differently? The hub presents a stories and gives a brief analysis from a psychological point of view.

The Hairbrush story starts in Vancouver's West End in the 1940s. I have also set other of my hub stories in this same location and time era. Check them out. They are:

"Billy and Me-Vancouver's West End in the 1940s"

Grasshopper Funerals-More West End Adventures.

The spirit of my Uncle is with me-WWll Pilot killed in Action.

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    • marshacanada profile image
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      marshacanada 3 years ago from Vancouver BC

      My mom is also much more likely to remember the good times. Thanks for your comment pineapple 123.

    • profile image

      pinapple123 3 years ago

      I was spanked 6 times. My mom remembers one time. I guess it's denial. It helps her sleep better and not worry about the harm she has caused me.

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for your comment LailaK.

    • LailaK profile image

      LailaK 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Nicely-written! Thank you for sharing this!

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for your comment fashion-are you a person?

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      fashion 5 years ago

      Interesting and well written hub.Thanks for sharing.

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for your comment laura19888.

    • profile image

      laura19888 5 years ago

      very interesting hub :)

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Many Thanks for commenting on my hub Sun Girl.In your family have you heard different versions of family/community history?

    • Sun-Girl profile image

      Sun-Girl 6 years ago from Nigeria

      Interesting and well shared hub,thanks for shjaring your view.

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for your interesting comment loveforlife.

      These are memory mysteries.

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      loveforlife 6 years ago

      This is a good one. Where you told about a boy who assumed graveyard on his way to school, this is very true as i have experienced the same in my childhood. It was railway track i assumed but later on when i grew up, i have been told that there were no railway track at all. But still up to now in my memory that is a rail track. Now don't know myself why was that.....

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for your comment Monisajda. It sure is interesting how differently we and our parents remember childhood events.

    • Monisajda profile image

      Monisajda 6 years ago from my heart

      Hi Marsha, this is truth about having different memories of my childhood than that of my mother's. What for me was very real and dramatic didn't make any impression on her, she completely forgot the fact that I remember. Interesting read.

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks for your interesting comment Amanda Severn. Its interesting how we remember events so differently from our parents and siblings. I guess that is because we each have different emotional reactions to the same events, and our emotional reactions shape how our memories are laid down.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

      Hi Marsha, I think harley davidson leather jackets is advertising spam!

      This hub really hit a nerve for me. I'm one of six children, and there were events in our childhood that are I remember completely differently from my other siblings. My nearest sister in age is just two years younger, and our memories of growing up are so far apart that an outsider would imagine us to be from different families. I guess the mind plays tricks on us all.

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks harley davidson leather jacket-are you a person or an advertizing spam?

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      harley davidson leather jackets 6 years ago

      very good

    • marshacanada profile image
      Author

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      When I was a child in the 1940's-50's spanking was a common form of punishment at home and the strap at school. It certainly kept me in line though I can only remember two spankings and one time I nearly got the strap.

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