Sometimes, I Don’t Know

Recently someone asked me if I had always taken pictures and written notes throughout my life, or if this was simply started in adulthood.

For many years, during my childhood especially, I experienced so many unbelievable and amazing things, the vast majority of which were not documented or recorded in any way.  The details were simply lost, only to exist in my mind as inconsequential bits and pieces of memories that, as the years go by, fade away slowly their nostalgic value ever increasing, though never to return again.

My father left behind a large cardboard box in the attic when he passed away.  The box was unmarked, though completely filled with random and haphazardly unsorted snapshots and photographs documenting my childhood years, more specifically the times when I was home.  He also left behind several photo albums filled with photographs, documenting the days after my birth to 1990, when I first went away to summer camp.  The amount of photographs started to dwindle in the years that followed, especially in 1994, when I began to alternate between summer camp and boarding school.  By the time I moved out of my parents house, the photography had all but ceased.

At the very bottom of the box were a handful of cassette tapes, recorded when I was 8 years old.  Sadly, despite years of begging my parents to invest in a video camera, one was never purchased and I do not have home movies of my parents.

In recent years I have been asked why I neglected to document the most important and pivotal moments in my life, as if people assume that I was a successful prose writer from an exceedingly early age.  Despite showing a fascination with the written word at a very early age, scribbling down little notes, ideas, and observations by age 8, and simple stories and narratives by age 9, I often ask myself why it took me so long to take that documentation of my life seriously, and sometimes, I don’t know.

Sometimes I fear that not adequately documenting the many years of childhood, especially my travels and experiences, now lost in some ways, mostly philosophical, that I might feel regret through to my last mile.  Some might speculate that as an adult I might just repeat earlier experiences in adulthood, and I could very well do so, of course, though life was easier when I was younger.

People were much more willing to forgive and forget the little missteps and trespasses of others back then.  I did document some things, on an often sporadic and unpredictable schedule.  Whatever I had written down was far less censored, fearless, and devoid of any concern for the consequences that might have been rendered.

I wrote mainly through the lens of a voyeur, documenting things through the lens of a full-time news reporter following my every life experience, charting every last detail as if my life depended upon it.  Instead of simply making outrageous claims of experiences, I actually lived and sought them. I was young and stupid, but in my writing, I was older then.

The header image uses the fonts League Gothic and Gidole.

The Tapes | Generation Gap | Camp Chateaugay, In Pictures (1992-1994) | Camp Chateaugay, In Pictures (1996) | Camp Chateaugay, In Pictures, Part 2 | Camp Chateaugay, In Pictures (1991-2000)


  • jolly555

    You did a great job documenting and snapping away life’s experiences and discoveries. I wish I had tow this line when I was a bit younger I would have really created memories. It really amazing to see some of our works.

  • Phoebe

    You are lucky to have some form of reference for all or most of your valuable memories. A lot of people only have them engraved in their mind.

  • Jane Njeri

    Your story is inspiring. This is especially because at times we need a person who can push us to step into our new self that we didn’t know about.

  • Rizzee Cerdeñola

    I have the same experience. I regret the travels, happy moments that I failed to documentation. It would be a great thing to be looking back at.

  • Obalade Damilola

    Unlike some of us, you still have a tad bit of photos and writings that hold some details of your life.I have nothing that can make me peer back in time at my childhood.. No photos,home made videos..just forgive yourself and move on..Document your new experiences, take good pictures..leave the past behind

  • Maury Cheskes

    I can see what you mean how writing becomes more mature when you get older. You’re lucky your dad left you so many memories to glimpse at. I agree, it’s good to document experiences in your life with vivid detail so you can relive it later.

  • rachel

    i do believe things happened for reasons. especially when it comes to our parent. sometimes we just dont see it but i glad you did found some memories of your childhood. dont have regrets for things in the past, but be thankful what you have become today 🙂

  • Miaka Yuuki

    In my case it is not the documentation that I regret per say. Rather I never take photos of it. I have no phone before so i missed them. However, I had made a lot of memories and is on videos now for safe keeping.

  • brainedet

    This is so heart warming to read. You have always being on the right path of success and I appreciate the fact that you have really become who you wanted to be. Continue to bless us with your works.

  • Joe Dreyfus

    It’s okay to not know, there are really things that perhaps would never be answered or we will have to settle with an answer we make up in our mind. What’s done is done, and we may look back into things every once in a while but don’t let it deter you with the potential of what you can still become. I think you’re doing a great job in your journey dude. There is much more to share, may you continuously find inspiration from the little tidbits of your life and everything around you.

  • Zachary T

    There is wisdom in your writing, perhaps back then and even more so know. I find a lot of writers who can write in depth and speak to their readers are the type to be wise beyond their years. They are the types who will be caught on the wildfire of being misunderstood by their peers because their thinking is of another age group. Tom, when life gets challenging – take a pause. Sending you warm hugs. The wisdom you so seek in times of trouble is there, you just have to take a deeper look.

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