Memory is a Mysterious Master

Or: ‘Ah, yes, I remember it well’

Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle
8 min readAug 30, 2020

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Mundi, African Bush Elephant, Mayaguez Zoo, Puerto Rico ©2014 Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

I admire people who can remember their earliest years in great detail. Memory, for me, is a marvelous mystery. For most of my life, my “toddlerhood” had been lost in a heavy fog. Trying to recapture it would be like looking out a train window during a long journey in a heavy rain.

I am, at 80, quite near the end of my ride. To save my survivors the trouble, I have been discarding the detritus of my life — closets full of papers, some nearly seven decades old. It is there I discovered written in pencil on four sheets of yellow paper this record of the fifth year of my life. I had written it in 1955 when I was 15.

Pembroke Village

Pembroke Village was a housing project in Bethlehem, PA, completed at the end of World War II. [Today it is part of the Pembroke Historic District.] I don’t know how long my family had been living there in 1945 when I was five years old, but it could not have been very long. There were many, many little kids and each day we would gather at the central playground. I would join Jimmy, my best friend, two not-so-identical twins, an older girl named Janet and her little tagalong sister Nancy, and my tomboy sister, Barbara. We formed the reigning gang of that playground, although I was among the youngest and had very little to say. The older…

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Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

An aged humanist hanging on to the idea that there is hope for humankind against most current indications.