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JamBios Memory Gallery

The JamBios Memory Gallery showcases user submitted memory stories from around the globe.

Each month selections are hand curated by Annie Cusick Wood and the JamBios creative team. They are chosen based on how the memory touches our heart, makes us laugh or inspires us.

To submit your memory story, start your free JamBio and invite the Memory Gallery to read one of your Chapter sections. Select Reader "Memory Gallery" at MemoryGallery@JamBios.com.

JamBios Featured Section
By Clare Cox

The Agony and the Ecstasy

How do you greet your heroes? 

With confidence? Like an old friend down the  pub, easy banter flowing back and forth, implying a shared history even if it only exists in your imagination?

Gushing and excited? Tripping over part formed sentences the pressure of speech unstoppable as you rush to convey just how deeply they have touched and enriched your life words jumbled and nonsensical falling in a never ending torrent 

Or silent, stuttering, tongue tied? Unable to express your inner most feelings, over anxious on how they will be perceived and received. Not wanting to cause discomfort to your intended recipient, you stand awkwardly, dumb struck,  praying for rescue

No matter your approach, they listen

 you still, 

they     See      You       

and small gestures begin to bring you calm, 

a touch,

a whispered comfort so you remember to breathe,

an acknowledgement of common denominator graciously offered to put you at ease

And all too soon it is over and the memories burn hot in your brain. The nature of the meeting taking on a surreal quality and the necessity of replaying every word to relive sometimes frustrated by gaps, where your conscious waved the white flag and took itself off for a lay down

You ride the waves of emotion,  grateful for that small connection no matter how fleeting. Thankful for its occurrence especially in the unexpected moments, when the memories return and break through unbidden, giving you pause to smile and reflect

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Category: Memory Gallery Selection

We pretty much go through something very similar!

JamBios Featured Section
By Emily Thiessen

What Does It Mean?

Everyone remembers where they were when 9/11 happened. For me, it happened twice.

On September 7th, 2001, I’d gone over to my friend Amy’s house for a sleepover. We’d watched movies, gossiped about crushes - all the regular innocent mischief twelve-year old girls tend to get up to. And then - resolving that although pulling an all-nighter was a cool idea, it was one we could attempt another time - we went to bed. We both climbed into the top level of her loft bed, laid down top-to-tail with my head at her feet facing the window… and slowly the whispered giggles were replaced with slow, easy breathing. We fell asleep, and into the world of dreams.

The dream that had chosen me put me in the forested outskirts of a city.

I could see the entire city, almost as if it were in miniature, nestled into a valley below where I stood. At the center of that city stood a skyscraper that reached hundreds of feet above the rest of the buildings around. It stood proud, a shining pillar against the amber sunset.

And then I heard a sound.

A sharp, high-pitched whistling sound pierced the air. It was like white noise, turned violent. I looked to find the source of the awful sound, and suddenly, from beyond the edge of the trees, it emerged - a plane. I watched as this silver bullet sliced through the sky towards the city. Then, horror chilling me to the bone, I watched it collide with that beautiful tower. The tower crumbled. The city was washed over with a powerful wave of dust and ash.  

I remember suddenly being aware that I had a few of my close friends standing by me. I turned to them, reassured them that we were safe on the outskirts even though the dust was beginning to crawl beyond the city… and then I woke up. 

I didn’t get back to sleep that night. It was four in the morning when my eyes shot open in a panic, my heart racing - and my ears still ringing with the ghost of that horrible whistling sound, so loud and constant that all hope of finding rest again was well and truly lost. I had no choice but to stare out my friend Amy’s window, watching the sun rise while I waited for her to wake up and distract me.  

Four days later, on September 11, 2001, I was in my seventh-grade French class, and the principal came in to announce that there had been a terrorist attack. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre.

My blood has never run so cold.

I spent most of that day in complete shock, watching over and over and over and over again as my nightmare came to life. 

Now, I’ve never claimed to be a mystic, and such a “vision” has never happened again - but that sort of thing has a way of making you evaluate your life. I was an extremely sheltered  twelve-year old girl at the time, and Canadian. I was, for all intents and purposes, almost completely disconnected from the immediate effects of that attack. As in the dream, I was on the outskirts of the suffering. So why had I, of all people, been given that unique emotional investment in it? Why was I chosen to be a voyeur in a situation I couldn’t have known nearly enough about? And if it were a prophecy, what the hell did I have in my power to do about it?

In the days and years following 9/11, it became clear that this event marked a tectonic shift in the very foundation of our world - of who we are as humanity. And so, seventeen years later, I’m still asking myself those questions. Why me? Who am I in all of this? Ultimately, I think that’s actually the closest I’ll ever come to finding an answer as to why this dream came to me - to make sure that I never stop asking myself those things. To always consider my role in any crisis, because there’s always a role to be filled. To step into the suffering, even if you’re safe on the outskirts. To take responsibility for the future of mankind. 

...alright, so, maybe that dream gave me a bit of a hero complex. 

And in all honesty, there’s a very real chance that it actually meant nothing. A matter of coincidence. But in seventeen years, I’ve made the decision over and over that it does mean something, that my contribution to the future is something I need to keep myself accountable to. That there is a contribution for me to make.

I’ve never once regretted it.

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Category: Memory Gallery Selection

Have you ever wondered if your dreams foretell the future? This memory will make you think twice.

JamBios Featured Section
By Ashley Ratajski

A Frightening Situation

What is happening in this world? Every time I log onto the internet or turn on the news I see another tragic story. We recently found out about the horrific events that took place in a Florida high school. It breaks my heart to think about what those poor children experienced and what those poor parents now have to go through. No one should ever have to experience that sort of pain. When I see/hear things like this happening in our world, I can't help but think of a situation that took place my senior year in high school. It wasn't anything like what happened in Florida but at the time I had no clue how my day was going to end.

One day, my mother dropped my brother and I off at school. We entered the school through a side door every morning. When you entered the building you could either walk straight or go down the stairs. I would always walk straight because my locker was on the second floor of the building and my brother would always walk down the stairs because his locker was on the first floor.  I said goodbye to my brother and started walking. Within 30 seconds of entering the school,  I see this girl running at top speed in my direction. She was in a panic, crying, and shaking. She started yelling "Someone has been stabbed." I immediately froze. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A gym teacher was near by and he ran up to her to try to calm her down so he could learn more information from her about what was going on. Instead of panicking myself, I turned around and walked down the stairs to find my brother. When I made it downstairs, no one was panicking. Everything seemed normal. It occurred to me that they had no clue what was going on so the stabbing must have happened upstairs. I calmly walked to my brother's locker hoping he would still be there. He was. I walked up to him and whispered "Someone was just stabbed upstairs." He just looked at me. I didn't know what to do or where to go. I didn't know any details. Who did the stabbing? Does he have a gun? Does he have friends with weapons? You hear about this stuff happening on the news all the time and I immediately started thinking about that. My brother wanted to go upstairs to see what was going on. I thought that was a ridiculous idea. Sure enough though he took off to head upstairs. That's when I started panicking. No one on the first floor still had any idea what was going on. I didn't want to start screaming or crying. So I took off after my brother. I didn't want to be separated. The staircase that I took just happened to be near my locker. It was around the corner. When I turned the corner the scene was quite different compared to what was happening on the first level. There was panic. Kids were running. Teachers were yelling "GET INTO A CLASSROOM NOW!" I didn't see my brother anywhere but I ran into the Psychology room. I was in there with about 3 or 4 other students and the teacher. I didn't know it at the time but apparently the stabbing took place right outside the room I was currently in.

At this point I was very concerned. I didn't know where my brother was. I didn't know where my friends were. This was pre-smart phone days. Anyone with a cell phone had a flip phone. We couldn't access the internet or social media. I didn't even have my phone with me. I had no way of knowing where anyone was or if they were okay. Within minutes we were looking out the windows seeing the police starting to show up. Then the news crew. The teacher knew parents would start seeing this on the news and start to panic so she let us use her phone to call them. I remember calling my parents and telling them I was okay but I didn't know where Mike was. It was bothering me so much knowing that I was with him a short while ago and he just took off. I wanted to stay together. I was also worried about my best friend. She was there somewhere in the building. My friend of 14 years. I had no idea if she was okay. A lot of things run through your mind when you are in a situation like that.

Luckily, the school was only in lock down mode for about an hour and a half. The kid was caught and arrested. The poor kid who was stabbed was taken to the hospital and he is fine to this day. No lives lost. When you are in that situation though it is TERRIFYING.  My high school was very large and when you are locked in a classroom in one corner of the building you have no idea what is happening elsewhere. You start thinking about what you see on the news happening in other schools. I think about this often and realize how lucky everyone at my school was that this situation wasn't worse. 

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Category: Memory Gallery Selection

Today's current events often evoke our own past memories such as this one.

By Beth N. Carvin

The Dog who Became a Tree

After a long and happy life, it was time to let Mandy rest in peace. At that point all she could do was lay on the floor, looking up at us with her big brown eyes, using all her energy to wag her tail. She was unable to move and Bruce would have to pick up all 60+ pounds of her to take her out to do her business. We made the decision to take her to the vet and let her go. It was a weekend and I had a class I had signed up to take. I don't know why I didn't cancel and go with Bruce but I must have not wanted to be there for it. I was a little scared of death I think. 

Bruce brought her down. Bruce must have told me about it vividly because I feel like I was there, though he confirms that I wasn't.  The doctor let him say goodbye and then administered the shot. It happened quickly and the doctor said she was gone. Bruce took her body home, wrapped in a blanket. He dug a hole on the upper bank behind our house. He took her body from the truck and gently placed her in the grave and covered her up. He took my guitar and played the one song I had taught him to play, which neither of us can remember today. When I came home that afternoon Bruce brought me back to the dune and showed me where he had buried her. I'm not sure if we did a little ceremony for her. 

 It was strange not having her around. For 13 years she had greeted us at the door every single day. Now when we came home it was oddly silent. An empty void. We no longer had our Mandy chores. We continued to "take her out for a walk" on the beach each morning, without her. Hikes weren't quite as much fun without her. Barnum the cat missed her.

And then one day we noticed that over her grave, a little tree had sprouted. It wasn't like any of the greenery in the area which was mostly made up of palm trees. But Mandy had sprouted into... a pine tree! The little tree grew and grew. Three feet. Six feet. 10 feet. Over the years she continued to grow high into the sky. Her pine needles fell beneath her and into the pool. The tree trimmers and the pool cleaners all suggested that we remove that tall bothersome pine tree. But she didn't bother us. We loved having our Mandy pine. The tree that didn't really belong on the dune. 

The story would end there except that in early 2017 we sold the property to the Cusicks. I had the opportunity to give them a personal tour of the property and I told them about the Mandy tree. They are dog people and enjoyed the sweet story.  They understood why we couldn't cut her down. I let them know that once they owned the property they could do as they like. 

A short time after they moved in, Annie sent me a text message. She wanted me to know that they had cut down Mandy and they were turning her wood into some lovely benches. She wasn't quite sure how I would take the news but I was pleased that they were going to be using her wood for something beautiful and useful. She sent me photos of the benches and they were lovely. I told Bruce and showed him the photos, not sure how he would react. He, too, appreciated that they were making good use of her. 

A few months later Ian and Annie came down to our office for some JamBios work. Annie said she had a little gift for me. She handed me a bag. She had just come back from China so she immediately said, "It's not from China."  "Open it." She seemed unusually excited for me to see what it was. I opened the bag and pulled out a pretty wooden bowl. Before I could make sense of things, Annie said, "It's Mandy." I think my eyes might have filled up.  It was beautiful. I hugged her. On the bottom of the bowl it said, "Woof!"  I'm pretty sure it is the most thoughtful gift I have ever received. 

Mandy. The dog who became a tree. Who became a bowl. The circle of life. 

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Category: Memory Gallery Selection

Beth was asked to share this story that was in her personal JamBio. We hope you enjoy it.

By Lloyd Nebres

8:07 a.m.

8:07 a.m. | Monday | MLK, Jr. Day

I’m back where I was exactly 48 hours ago, when our cellphones screeched that warning… and variants of hell began breaking loose all over the place—beginning in one’s suddenly and strangely clear mind, focused in just that particular way perhaps centered in the amygdala, by a burst of adrenaline—unusual fissures opening up in the interstices of space and time.

It wasn’t for myself that I was instantly fearful and and terrified. After about ten seconds that felt like an hour, staring at the notification, the words THIS IS NOT A DRILL both hyper-real and surreal I looked up and around and wondered why there weren’t any sirens going off outside. And the natural skeptic in me would have signaled a pause. But that’s not what happened

because my mind was rapidly working this way, all notions converging instantaneously:

… was not about to discount the absence of sirens to summarily dismiss the shocking reality of that alert … was sure that if any ballistic nuclear missile was to be sent this way, its target would be O’ahu—Honolulu—hence Maui would be well and safely away from the blast and fallout … hence sirens would likely be blaring there right now … and Pono’s house, in Kalihi—a few miles away from downtown Honolulu and the airport and Pearl Harbor—is very near the epicenter of a nuclear explosion in which everything and everyone is incinerated …

And that was when the vertigo hit, that sickening feeling of the ground falling away and nothing solid was under me any longer, the universe veering atilt in a way it had never done before. Just 10 seconds or so into the alert.

My terror and panic was not for myself but for my son, so far away from me and so near a locus of extinction. I had no choice but to reach for him at once, to hold him if only virtually and by voice, for those last precious moments of time. His phone rang once, twice, no answer, my mind silently screaming PICK UP PICK UP PLEASE PICK UP. The third time it went straight to voicemail. The fourth, that familiar recording saying that the call could not be made as dialed. And as I looked around, everyone else on their phones, knew that the network had been brought to its knees by the sudden spike of calls.

It being a Saturday, Pono had slept in, and slept through the whole thing. He woke up about an hour and a half later and, seeing that I’d called several times, called me, to still find the jangled note in my voice, the quivering nature of it, doubtless hearing the trauma of the whole thing. His response was simple, elemental: glad to have slept through it, as he couldn’t imagine his own abject terror and despair had we had that ‘last’ conversation.

I was instantly conflicted: felt the same way he did, and yet… the torture of not having been able to connect immediately so palpable, still so visceral.

Doubtless, many here shared the same experience. It was uncanny, and painful. Dreadful, but somehow life-changing in a way that will take some time to percolate through the subconscious. Dreamlike, nightmarish.

I cannot wait to see my son again, to hold him in a way I never have before.

One. More. Time.

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Category: Memory Gallery Selection

This memory is only a few days old and yet it is so powerful.

JamBios Featured Section
By Isolation Shepherd


People who are passionate about the environment come in all shapes and sizes, and I’ve worked with them all. Some of them have stories to tell that are so hard they leak out slowly over time, like a tap that drips, and drips, and drips until eventually the washer breaks and the water can no longer be contained, and it floods out. I’ve known people go missing for days who return and say nonchalantly that they were on a three-week vodka binge, sitting in the stairwell of their building with no concept of time or space or even who they are.  They come back as though nothing has happened, and they’re fine for months until the next time. Then there are the comics, the people who make you laugh so hard you can’t believe you get paid to spend time with them. People who teach everyone in the group a terribly rude chicken song that runs around in your head for weeks afterwards, who get crazy Irish tunes up on their iphones and sing and dance about leprechauns while you’re trying to prevent others from chopping their limbs off with an axe. Those are the kind of people you want to kill and marry at the same time.

I’ve had a guy turn up wearing the smallest running shorts to plant trees, and when he knelt down for the group photo I got a view that will haunt me the rest of my days! Now I’m no prude, but if I wanted to see a stranger’s meat and two veg I’d go down to Smithfields market and chat with the vendors, maybe get the ingredients for eggplant parmesan. I’ve had the police call me to say they’re coming to arrest someone for ogling girls on the train, and can I make sure he doesn’t go anywhere but don’t tip him off. Men who’ve never built a boardwalk before telling me how to hit a nail, people who are so quiet they could drown in a mud puddle and you’d never notice they were gone, and others who talk so much you know you could chop their heads off with the axe and they still wouldn’t shut up.

But none of these people, not the comics, or the talkers, the alcoholics or the flashers, can hold a candle to David. David is at least seventy. His signature outfit is an olive-green outback hat and a bright red woolly jumper. His spindly legs are clad in old canvas walking trousers tucked into his socks. It’s as though he belongs to another time when men strolled up mountains in the early-morning mist, sucking on pipes and then making it back down for breakfast and the start of the working day. David is passionate about his local countryside. So passionate he patrols it with his wee dog day and night and woe betide you come across him because you can forget everything you were planning to do for the next hour. He likes to talk, does David. Not only that but he likes to tell you every time he sees you how it was so much better in his day, that everything you’ve done is wrong, it won’t work, won’t last, you’ll be ripping it up again in a couple of years when it’s dead because you didn’t plant/cut/lay/site/sow it right. He remembers running around the countryside as a lad in the fifties at a time when peregrines quartered the skies and water voles sat on the banks of the river nibbling blades of grass without a care in the world. The skies were always blue, and people knew how to do their jobs properly. I try to tell him it’s more The Tempest than The Wind in the Willows these days, fighting politicians and budget cuts and climate change and habitat loss, but all of that is irrelevant to him.  

My abiding memory of David, the one that I will take to my early stress-filled grave, is of the day he showed me his nipple. Yes, you heard that right. Not just any nipple, oh no. Let me put it into context for you. It’s Saturday morning. I’m tired, I don’t want to be at work because, well, it’s Saturday, and I’m standing in the drizzle waiting for my group to turn up. The group is always late, and I’m someone who is always early, so I’m already frustrated, when what should come around the corner but a wee scruffy dog, followed by David. My heart sinks. I look around for someone to rescue me but there is no one. It’s just me, him, the dog, and the wilderness.
He says good morning, and I ask him how he is. Big mistake. He proceeds to tell me about his chest infection, how it’s all the fault of these wood burners, filthy, dirty things. People put all sorts on them you know, Ally, all sorts. Not just wood but treated wood. It’s full of toxins. They don’t care. The air is full of it, it’s no good for me asthma. It weren’t this bad in 1953 when t’factory chimneys in Manchester were putting out smut and you couldn’t see yer hand in front of yer face some days. Terrible. And then they come in here, Ally, they come in here and they tek the dead wood and they don’t season it, just put it fresh on t’fire. Might as well just smoke some kippers while they’re at it make some use of it cause it’s no good for keeping ‘em warm.

He takes a breath and I try to tell him I have to get the tools ready because people will be here soon (please gods let them be here soon) but it’s like I’m not there. He just continues, and this is when it gets worse. If you’re eating, stop right now. Grab a whisky, take a long sip. Ready? OK. His dog is running around my legs, winding its lead round and I’m trying to step out of it before it takes me down like Luke Skywalker with an AT-AT Walker, so I don’t notice at first that he’s lifted his jumper up. When I’ve disentangled myself from the dog I look up and I’m confronted with his pale, thin concave chest, and his small hairy nipples. He points at one proudly as though he’s displaying a medal. Me nipple is infected, Ally, he says. Can you see? I’ve been to the doctor and there’s nothing he can do except give me some cream. It’s painful though, painful. Rubs every time I move.

I look, because I feel as though I have to. I’ll spare you the details, but it was indeed infected, and I sent a little prayer to every doctor that has ever existed because they have to see things like this and far, far worse every day. I wasn’t sure if a medical opinion was expected of me, so I frowned and nodded and said it looked sore, he really shouldn’t be out walking making it worse why didn’t he go home and let some air get to it and have a rest. (Please go home don’t make me spend the day with you and your chest infection and your infected nipple). Oh no, he was here to work, or at least complain, which is his day’s work. Thankfully, before he could show me any other diseased areas of his body the rest of the group appeared, and David pulled his jumper down. It seemed as though the tale of the nipple was only for me. I felt strangely as though I’d been caught doing something I shouldn’t, like I was in some weird porn movie that has a very niche audience of infected nipple fetishists.

In the aftermath of this day, it was as though a barrier had been lifted between David and I, and he rang me two or three times a week to update me on his chest infection and his nipple, and the myriad complaints he had about everything from the state of the footpaths to the fact that the guys from the local council couldn’t find their arses with both hands. We’re close now, him and me, closer than I would ever wish to be, and if someone wants to come to my part of England and build a tiny wall between me and David I would welcome them with open arms. I’d even pay for it, Donald. Bring it on.

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Category: Memory Gallery Selection

This memory might well be titled "The Tale of the Nipple"..and it's not what you think.