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Imaginative Memories

June 17, 2012

As a child, and even now, I had a wild imagination. My dreams were very vivid, making fantasies a reality. For better or worse.

There are a few dreams that I have never forgotten. One was a recurring dream. I wouldn’t define it as a nightmare, but the entire dream had an odd feeling to it.

Another nightmare was quite memorable: In the depths of a well, there stood a tall, dark, and handsome man. By his side was a small girl with flowers around her neck. The man held a torch. And at the edges of the darkness stood fierce beasts, pale with glowing eyes. They came closer and closer, with no good will for the man and girl. And then I woke up.

The dream was caused by H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. My father had been reading it to us as children. Unfortunately, my imagination brought the Murlocks to life in my sleep. Because of my nightmare, we never finished the story.

Last week, I decided to read the book for myself. Over the course of the few days I spent reading, I half-expected the Murlocks to visit me in my sleep. They didn’t. (My nightmares now consist of being late for work meetings.)

In between chapters,  I couldn’t help but think about all of the stories I remember as a child. Most importantly, the stories my father told me.

Not only did my dad read to us, but he wrote his own stories. One of his favorite characters was Wee Tom Oglesby, a man the size of your thumb.

And then there was an imaginative story that took place in Canada. The family was visiting a research facility in winter. We were exploring the facilities as our guide told us about the most exciting project. We boarded a small, family-sized submarine and went into the deep cold water. We saw an octopus, and then we saw a city.

This wasn’t an old city that had been flooded in its prime. It was a hidden and alien world. It was a city where humans lived, worked, and played. But we didn’t get to explore the city before the story came to an end. Not that the story was over, but it was bedtime.

With my dad’s vivid imagery, anything could spring to life. It’s small memories like those that build the character of a person. These memories, along with catching fireflies on hot summer nights, watching my dad work on a computer screen that blinked green on black, and listening to him tell the a joke to a new friend that I’d heard four times before, are the memories that make my father who he is today.

While we don’t listen to stories as often, my imagination will always dream of the ones I’ve heard before, and yearn for more creative tales.

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