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When Forgotten Memories Pop Up

I am rather lackadaisical with my sleepwear. You might find it hanging on a hook in the bathroom, or draped across the back of a chair until it is time for it to be laundered as I do wear it more than one night.

Yesterday, after making my bed, I picked up my pajamas and began to fold them. I was suddenly struck by a memory that had not crossed my mind in 40 years!

When we were children, we folded our pajamas and they were placed under our pillow. Then the bed was made and we went about our day. When bedtime rolled around again, we pulled back the covers and dressed for bed.

What makes a memory – dormant for years – rise to the surface? I think it was triggered by the simple act of folding my worn pajamas which I normally would never do.

It makes me wonder how many memories I do not recall, but are still catalogued and present in my mind. I have done a lot of writing prompts designed to increase recollection. They do not produce profound results for me.

When my aunt passed away, I was given a stack of letters I had written to her. She had bundled them together and saved them all. As I read through them, I could scarcely remember the events detailed in the letters. I suppose people who journal and keep diaries have a better remembrance of their lives. I have burned or destroyed more journals than I ever kept.

The book of my life is kept behind some mental lock and key, perhaps never to be read by another. I suppose it will disappear when I do.

For now, though, I fondly remember the act of folding my pajamas and slipping them under my pillow.

Have you ever experienced something similar? A minor memory triggered by perhaps by a simple every day task? Did you ever keep your sleepwear tucked under your pillow?

The human mind never ceases to amaze me.

50 thoughts on “When Forgotten Memories Pop Up”

  1. I never kept pyjamas under a pillow, but I do remember my mum coming in to tell me to turn out the bedside lamp. I was an avid reader as a child, and had she not intervened, I would have been too tired to get up for school the next day.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. We used to do the same with our pjs. I also remember sliding out of bed and making it quickly trying to contain the warmth ready for the following night. Happy memories.

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    1. It was always cold at our house in the night, we loved being all tucked in with a load of blankets and quilts piled on top. I never thought of trying to capture the heat.โ˜บ๏ธ

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  3. I was supposed to fold my jammies and put them under my pillow then make my bed. BUT I hated making my bed so I’d stuff my jammies in a ball under my pillow then casually toss the bedspread across the bed. It was not my best work, but I seemed to get away with it. I think my mother was too busy/tired to argue with me about my bed making skillz.

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  4. Don’s “sleep wear?” will no doubt change in later years. When newly married I slept naked. Once our young daughter had practiced subway strap hanging with a convenient dangly bit I resumed sleep wear. When daughter went to boarding school I resumed naked bathing but resorted to pj’s again when older age needed extra warmth. I have always folded said pj’s, or at times, nightshirt, and put under pillow. How can I not continue doing what Mum told me to?

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    1. That was a tough lesson you learned! I was never comfortable sleeping without pajamas or a nightgown. Perhaps it was growing up in an area where the nights were cold or cool even in the summer. I think I might equate those pajamas and blankets and quilts with comfort. I still love to feel the weight of blankets as I sleep.

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  5. I think when you get to our age, your brain is kind of like Fibber McGee’s closet and it doesn’t take much to knock a whole avalanche of memories loose. It might be a specific combination of the temperature, the amount of sunlight coming in, and a specific, ethereal scent or feeling…

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  6. We always folded our pyjamas and put them under our pillow…in fact I never stop I do it to this day.
    You have triggered the memory of how in the winter it was so bitterly cold we would get dressed in bed not emerging until fully dressed! ๐Ÿคฃ Honest! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

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    1. Willow, we did that, too! The art of dressing under the covers is quickly learned when you step into a cold room. Later, I can also remember learning to dress – at least partially – under a warm robe.

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  7. We also placed our PJs under our pillows before making our beds when we were kids. Also, recently in a webinar, we were given the prompt “I remember …” to trigger a memory and write a piece about it. I’d done the exercise many times before, but this time, I remembered how my older cousin, Yvon, taught me how to ride a bike when he was 14 and I was 6 and how, three years later, he was killed in a motorcycle accident. I’m still working on a braided essay triggered by the memory which I had long ago relegated to somewhere in the back of my mind.

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    1. I think our minds have a way of protecting us. That is a tough memory and it is sad to think you lost your cousin that way. I am not familiar with the term โ€˜braided essayโ€™. What does that mean to you? I am always interested in the writing techniques other writers use.

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  8. I still, to this day, fold my pajamas and place them under my pillow before making the bed. I also still fold the extra quilt at the bottom of the bed, in case I get cold. I taught my children the same, but to my knowledge only the youngest stuck with it.
    I was trying to think of a brain thing like yours, but I could not. Memory is amazing.

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    1. Joey, it is so great to see you here! I have missed you. The lessons we learn as children can certainly stick with us. I, too, always have an extra blanket folded at the bottom of the bed.

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  9. My dad always folded his pajamas and put them under his pillow. It’s a good place for them and Elizabeth’s inside the pillow case is even better. I usually hang my nightgown on a hook, but under the pillow would be good for traveling or if we were to lack space. My husband tends to leave his PJs on top of his pillow and I often put them underneath,

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