It's the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and Gregg has posted a good summary of what happened. Unlike Gregg, and more like most people who didn't grow up in the Great Lakes region, I only became aware of the Edmund Fitzgerald through the Gordon Lightfoot song. It stands out in my mind for more than one reason, though. First of all, it was a beautifully crafted song, simple and evocative, and I bought the album that it came on. What really makes it stand out though, is the fact that I was in high school at the time and I happened to have some really, really boring assigned reading fo do for a period of several weeks. I don't recall all the books that were involved, but Thoreau's Walden was one of them -- and by far the most boring. It put me to sleep every time I picked it up. I would read a couple of pages, and that was it. I would fall asleep for a little while. and it seemed that every single time I woke up from one of my literature-induced naps, either "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", or Climax Blues Band's "Couldn't Get It Right" was on the radio. Any time I hear either of those songs, I flash back to that time. If it's the Edmund Fitzgerald that I hear about, I do think a little bit about the fact that it's a true story, but mostly think about how much I disliked reading Thoreau.
1. Gregg Eldred11/11/2005 12:13:21 PM
You bring up a very good point, one that I have discussed with a lot of people: Why is it that certain songs bring back very specific memories, things that you may not have thought about in 30 years (in our case), when you have trouble remembering your wife's birthday (for example)? Gordon Lightfoot takes you to a very specific time/place that you remember over the course of time. I have songs like that, too, but the memories only come back when I hear it. Why do we work like that? Is that common for all people? Can we apply the same principle for other thoughts (to increase memory retention/training/etc.)?
Thanks for the post and your memories. Now I have to remember where I put the car keys.
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