The Persistence Of

Rod McKuen’s father abandoned his mother before he was born, and in the early 1970s McKuen hired a team of private investigators to find him.  The search is documented in the autobiographical Finding My Father: One Man’s Search for Identity, ©1976.

One fascinating aspect of the search was how poor people’s memories are.  Four women who were friends of his mother at the the time of his birth were interviewed, and each gave a different address for where she had lived.  None of these women had incentive to lie– in fact, they were doing their best to be helpful– but obviously at least three of them were wrong.  On cross examination they were all quite certain they were correct, and even picked photos of the buildings out of an architectural lineup.

It makes me wonder how many of my own memories might not be true.

1 Comment

  1. I think all of our memories decline a bit as we age. The key thing in dealing with that is to realize that a memory can seem absolutely certain to you, yet be false. Lucky for us today we have google. It helps with confirming facts.


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