LARSON: Using the Internet to check facts reveals deficit in memory bank

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

For what it’s worth, I’ve been blessed with this amazing long-term memory. I can’t remember where I put my glasses, but I can recall incidents as far back as when I was 18 months old, as verified with shock by my mother.

I have vivid memories of taking dance lessons with Mr. Ernie when I was 3 and still know all the words and steps to Mickey Mouse’s Birthday Party.

When I get together with grade school friends, I’m always the one everyone turns to for the who, what and where of way back then.

But last year, when my friends Sharyn and Carol were listening to my account of their childhoods, Carol said, “Since Susan’s the only one who remembers any of this, how do we know she’s just not making it all up?”

I know I’m not making any of it up and I wish I’d kept a diary just to prove how right I am about everything.

But Carol did get me to thinking that there are all sorts of things that happened in my life that absolutely no one else I’ve ever met has ever heard of. Were these dreams? Delusions? I began to question my recollections.

But enter the Internet, where anyone can revisit anything that’s ever happened anywhere.

Take the radio show “Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club.” I remember listening to that long before my brother was born, which was when I was 3. According to Wikipedia, the show ran from 1933-1968 in at least 40 cities and McNeill’s 35-year run as host remains the longest tenure for an emcee of any network entertainment program. But in all my life, I have yet to meet anyone else who’s ever heard of him.

Then there was “Big John and Sparky,” which began in 1950 and was aired on 181 stations. The theme song was “Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” Big John was sort of a father figure to Sparky, an elf who sounded like he’d inhaled helium, although I didn’t make that connection back then. At least a dozen websites verify that I am not making this up.

“Super Circus” aired on TV in 1949 when I was 2. I would sit a foot from the screen to stare at Mary Hartline, a beautiful blonde majorette who led the circus parade. I wanted with all my heart to look like her when I grew up. But when I tell people about her, no one has a clue who she was, much less how pretty she looked.

So I Googled her. She was real. She was pretty. Only thing is, as I looked at the photo of my toddlerhood idol, I saw that she had what now is known as thunder thighs. Even through the graininess of the black and white picture, I could see ripples of cellulite. And that’s what I used to tell everyone I wanted to look like? Maybe I should be glad there are some things that no one else remembers.

Susan Larson is a freelance writer who lives in Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com