"Do you remember where we kept the shoe polish?"
He sent this picture, which was supposed to be a clue. Sadly, I didn't have a clue. I recognized the bag in the picture, but only vaguely.
Owning up to my ignorance, he answered his own question with an e-mail response.
"This is the bag that Dad kept the shoe polish and all the brushes, daubers, and buffing cloths in. It was in the bottom kitchen drawer left of the sink. (you'd have been more familiar with it if only you'd have polished your shoes more often) <grin>."
Now, I remember. I also remember where we kept the bread (also in a drawer near the sink), cereal and applesauce (that's a story only the family can appreciate!).
If it hadn't been for my brother's prompting (and visual clue), this part of my history might have been lost. I doubt that my kids care to know how often I shined my shoes, but they may find it interesting that my resourceful parents saw no need to plunk down their hard-earned dollars for a fancy shoeshine kit that's going to be stuffed in a drawer out of sight most of the time.
Often, it's the stories of others that trigger long-forgotten memories of your own life's journey. The best thing you can do is pay attention.
Larry Lehmer is a retired Des Moines Register editor and author of The Day the Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. He is currently working on a book about the Philadelphia years of American Bandstand. You can read his Bandstand blog here.