A Trick of Memory

Why do some periods of one’s life seem to completely evaporate from memory? My first job was working as a bag boy at a Kroger in Spring, TX. I was 16, and it was the summer between my sophomore and junior years. Beyond that, I remember little about the job. I do remember learning how to pack things as tightly as possible in a grocery bag, always making sure the sturdiest products were at the bottom. That and gathering shopping carts in the rain.

I also distinctly recall blowing most of my earnings on baseball cards and other related paraphernalia that summer. A big Cubs fan at the time, I spent $65 (probably a week’s pay!) on a signed Ryne Sandberg batting glove. At least that’s what the owner of the collectibles shop assured me it was; it didn’t come with any documentation. (I’ve always wanted to get a professional to examine the glove and confirm it’s legit.)

Other memories from that time of my life blend together. I moved to Houston in the summer of 1990. Before then I had never listened to much classic rock. Maybe it was the friends I fell in with, but my early years in Houston were a crash course on the Steve Miller Band, Journey, Rush, Foreigner, and of course Led Zeppelin. Strange to think I was closer then to the release of Steve Miller’s The Joker than we are today to Smells Like Teen Spirit—by over a decade, in fact!