The P. and G. Klopp Story


Chapter 3

On Memory and Truth

Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin. Barbara Kingsolver

            Biene and I once witnessed an accident while driving to Vernon over the icy highway on a cold December morning. The car ahead of us showed some extremely erratic behavior and seemed to be out of control as we saw it slipping and sliding on a curvy downhill stretch. A few seconds later, it had collided with an oncoming pick-up truck. Fortunately, nobody was seriously hurt. The truck driver and his pregnant wife emerged unharmed from their vehicle, while the owner of the small passenger car was frantically running around, often looking down over the edge of the ravine on the other side of the road, as if he had lost something during the accident. He did not seem to care much about the occupants of the truck that he just had run into and kept shouting anxiously, “Lucy, Lucy, where are you?”

          A few months later, a police officer knocked at our door and presented me with a subpoena to make myself available as a witness at the Vernon Court House. Memory is defined as the mental capacity of retaining and reviving impressions or of recalling previous experiences. My particular memory of the accident on the Monashee was very accurate, and I assumed that it revealed the truth and nothing but the truth. However, when the Crown prosecutor quizzed me on the details, I realized that logical thinking had filled the gaps created by the bizarre behaviour displayed by the man who had caused the collision. I did not know that the concern for a little dog could be more important to anyone than the well-being of one’s fellow human beings, especially if you were responsible for causing their harm and grief. My logic demanded that the man was calling his female companion who might have been thrown out of the vehicle and might have been severely injured. I am mentioning this incident to increase awareness at the very start of my project that things are not always what they appear to be and to be aware of the potential flaw in the relationship between memory and logic. Distorting reality as a result of this flaw then becomes a major problem for anyone attempting to describe personal experiences of the past. Read More