‘Of Course I’m Sure’

I’ve been delighted to hear a wide spectrum of responses from people who have enjoyed Following Ezra. No matter what their perspective, many readers have the same question: “How did you remember all this stuff?”

The truth is, I had some help.

Like a lot of parents, I remember many incidents in my children’s lives quite clearly. I have always enjoyed telling and retelling these stories. But time passes quickly, and after a while, the timeline becomes a bit hazy.

I had written about Ezra (as I’ve shared previously) in notes to myself—journal entries, e-mails to myself and others, and small pieces I had created in writing workshops. But as I was putting together Following Ezra, I frequently discovered that I hadn’t a clue exactly when some of these things happened.  Was that zoo outing when Ezra was six, or eight? Was the afternoon at the park when he was in kindergarten, or first grade?

Luckily, I got assistance.

I was working on one of my favorite scenes in the book, the eventful visit to the novelty store that starts Chapter Seven, when I realized that I wasn’t quite sure when exactly it happened. So, sitting on the sofa one evening, I asked Ezra.

He did not hesitate.

“That was in April of two thousand four,” he said. “A Sunday. Three weeks after the release of Disney’s Home on the Range.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Of course I’m sure,” he told me. “We went to Borders in Westwood that morning to look at the Home on the Range books.”

That’s how he remembers things. (See Chapter Nine, “I Just Know.”) He carries an elaborate mental calendar, based around the things that are most important to him: animated films, DVD releases, birthdays of various loved ones.

On the sofa, I pulled out my laptop and started typing notes. I asked him about another incident. He remembered that date, too.

As I sat there typing, Ezra paced and began recalling other adventures. Then he noticed I wasn’t taking notes anymore.

“Why aren’t you typing?” he asked.

So I started.

Later that day, he found me in the house and asked, “When are we going to work on my book again?” I told him to let me know when he thought of things he wanted to add. I was always amused when he would march into my home office and pace back and forth while he reeled off memories, as if I were Boswell to his Samuel Johnson.

When the book was in the editing and fact checking phases, I truly came to rely on him.

“Ezra?” I’d shout across the house while he was surfing the Web. “Remind me: What year was it when you were obsessed with breakfast cereals?”

He never let me down.

Of course, living with somebody with that kind of memory has its drawbacks. Occasionally, you have to be firm with your children—say, when they take too many cookies or forget to clear the dinner table. Ezra sometimes responds with historical references. “Abba,” he’ll say, “don’t get mad at me and use an angry voice like you did in March of two thousand seven!”

When he does that, I always forget whatever was bothering me, and just smile.

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  1. AZmama3
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Super cute!

  2. RaisingArizona
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Love this post! Thank you. Delightful!

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