Madeleine Martinello has written an interesting post about memory in today’s Conversation.
She alerts us to research published this week about neurogenesis. Madeleine points out that ‘Throughout life, new neurons are continually generated … These new neurons compete for established neuronal connections, altering pre-existing ones. By squeezing their way into these networks, new neurons disrupt old memories, leading to their degradation and thus contributing to forgetting’.
Neurogenesis is particularly rampant in humans during infancy but declines dramatically with age. So researchers hypothesised that this increased disruption to hippocampal memories during childhood renders them inaccessible in adulthood.
… which prompted me to think about football boots.
Our granddaughter Ivy has her first pair of football boots. They are a wonderfully coloured pair of Diadora boots purchased yesterday from the Len Mutton Emporium in Braidwood in advance of Ivy’s first visit to football at the Recreation Ground.
She acquired a pair of shin pads and football socks too.
I am delighted that neurogenisis has not been so rampant that I have forgotten my first pair of boots.
I was a year older than Ivy when my grandfather bought me my first pair of boots. In 1956, football boots has leather studs that were nailed into the soles of the boots. I kept my boots for a whole season. I had to be careful only to play on grass.
Most of all I remember sleeping in my boots on that first day. One of the nails in the studs had penetrated the sole of one of my boots … I did not mention it in case my boots were taken off me and returned to the shop.
Ivy has moulded soles on her boots.
Perhaps some memories are so powerful that they do become defining features of our sense of being in the world.
I have no photo of my first football boots but Ivy’s purchase took me back very powerfully to hometown memories. My first picture as a footballer was when I was five years older than Ivy.
I remember that day too. It was the morning of my first cup final in 1961. I had progressed to rubber studs by then.
Blogging about these experiences is another way for me to deal with neurogenesis and ageing. It is a delightful family resemblance.