David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Institutional Memory

June 1, 2012:   Institutional Memory

Recently, I have been enjoying journals my parents have started keeping recounting their lives together.  My mother's are always quite entertaining. A public historian by education, she knows the value of recorded memory.  So, even though these journals don't have the imprint of her handwriting, just the protection of a thumb drive, they still remind me of what's important about preservation.  Perhaps, most moving is learning just how affected my parents were by the events of my life. Hence, my homage to 

 

Institutional Memory

 

What could I have been thinking

To never give much thought

To her particular perspective

As it reflected on my experience.

 

Present times mean support

From parent to struggling child,

Regardless of his age

And maybe more so as they grow old.

 

History is what the journals preserve,

A bit of what I wasn't told,

In the darkness of their fears

Shared only with each other.

 

Now I realize that I'd forgotten,

And what I'd never known,

The way the pain can spread out

Hidden all the time.

 

I don't bear the same fortitude

To record such memories for my son,

Although each hastily scrawled poem

Could reveal the truth to him.

 

Each entry of a journal,

Each line of verse

Is incremental memory.

 

Each day of reflection,

Each clumsily cast stanza

Is situational memory.

 

All in a march toward

Intentional memory,

Inspirational memory.

Institutional memory.

 

May we all pray that it is never lost.