Today is one of those anniversaries that doesn’t commemorate anything. I remember exactly what I did on August 8, 1988. I looked at my white rubber digital watch and saw the date was 8/8/88. I was walking from my grandmother’s house to the neighborhood pool, where I was on the swim team. I was never the most valuable member of the Riveroaks Swim Team, but I did get an award for being most-improved one year. Anyway, I thought the 8/8/88 thing was really cool, and it branded itself on my memory because I didn’t know there would be a million sort of remarkable, sort of mundane numeric combinations of date, month and year over my lifetime.
Now 87, my grandmother still lives in the low-slung, three bedroom ranch house I was walking from. She’s been there about 55 years. The pool is an abandoned hole full of sludge simmering behind a sagging chain-link fence. The families and kids who patronized the pool have died or moved on to more happening neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, leaving her once middle-class neighborhood with a rash of problems: roving pit bulls, meth lab explosions and a pedophile (I think he moved when he was convicted though, hopefully to prison?).
The memory is like a Polaroid: a snapshot of time, sepia-tinged and a little out of focus. But it always comes to my mind with a clarity that’s surprising given the number of equally mundane moments I’ve forgotten. I think about it once a year, maybe some years I forget to. But today I remembered.