Gerdientje


Memories may be other than visual imagery. Gerdientje by W G van de Hulst (date unknown. My copy is the 11th edition) is one of the stories that gave me several imaginary kinaesthetic, or physical, memories. Caused, I guess, by my ability at the time to imagine myself in Gerdientje’s skin.

I have a very clear feeling-memory of being in one of those old Dutch kast-beds, lying in the comfortable dark cave-like interior. Warm under the blankets. Seeing out past the half-open cupboard door to the glowing wood heater in the living room. I’m quite certain I never had that experience in real life.  

Another is me-as-Gerdientje knee-deep in the cold water of a lake, pulling at a rowboat and her father at the point of drowning. When I think of that incident, I feel the water cold around my knees, the stiff cold workingman’s clothes her father is wearing. The tremendous pull against my puny strength of the sodden clothes. It is as if I am there in the dark wind, being her.

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