We are Made out of Memories

I love memories.

I love good memories. I also love the bad ones, although not as much. They are all parts of my life. I’ve lived in many towns and cities on both continents and cherish visiting all the old places. And I often surprise myself, knowing how many people from my past live all over Europe and North America.

Having memories is a good thing. Sharing them with the people involved is even better. I have a soft spot for recalling mentors, teachers, friends, places and practical jokes from my past. And the events. But that’s not as easy as it seems.

I’ve spent the first thirty years of my life in Poland and enjoy going back to visit. I go back there quite often, mainly to see the old places and have a chance to speak Polish. But also to sit down with friends and bring back the memories. Food is not that important, although I crave good Polish dishes. Actually, I don’t know how to carry a good conversation while eating. Food gets in my way. Coffee––that’s a different story.

However speaking with my old friends gets more and more difficult. The six-hour time difference is not a factor. Phone calls are good for short, semi-emergency conversations. Not everybody uses emails. Letters delivery is erratic––a friend from Montreal just received my Christmas card. The envelope was opened, and the card was gone. On many of my cards, I just don’t get any answers. And when I do, it often takes months. Facebook is iffy, and WhatsApp and Google Duo are not for every person. And then not everybody wants to talk about their pasts. Things which seem interesting and funny to you may not be seen the same way by your interlocutor.

Well, we all lose on a lack of, or even on skeletonized, communication in later years. It’s like talking to the parents about their past and their heritage. We blink, and then we realize they are gone. It’s too bad since for me my memories are my biggest treasure.

So the song comes to mind.

The original was written in Russian. I couldn’t find an English version. So here’s the Polish translation. It sounds even better if you understand the words.


  • You remind me of how each person at an event may remember things differently. I get the honor of posing open ended questions to people who are between 87 and 104 as I do their life biographies. Quite often I find out things that their immediate family members never knew. It gives opportunity to add more color to the history of their loved one. Thank you for all your sharing. It is inspiring.

  • Dear Witold,
    Beautiful song. I understood the lyrics. Lots of memories.Had a tears in my eyes.Thank you for sharing.

  • Dear Witek
    I am proud of you and all the effort it takes to be so discipline and continue to write. The song was originally written by Bulat Okudzawa. He died in Paris in 1997. Do you remember his other poetry such as prayeror “buty-sapagi ” and many other. He was our hero. He encourage us to start thinking independently, and oppose the regime. I have CD with his songs. At the time of nostalgia I listen to his soft voice. With all my appreciation, I am waiting for the next story. Teresa Machel


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