A Mystery

December 27, 2017

Mrs. Chatterbox and I are puzzled by a mystery—the disappearance of a family member.


By 2005, having had enough of Oregon winters, we decided to move to Arizona. Before flying to Phoenix, we contacted a realtor and placed our townhouse on the market. At the time, we shared our lives with an adorable Corgi named Ellie, who we kenneled before heading to the airport.


After landing in sun scorched Phoenix, it only took five minutes to realize I wasn’t fond of the desert and could never relocate there. We made the best of it, visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer studio and a few other touristy places, and after four days returned home to learn our townhouse had been sold. We packed and hastily moved into a nearby apartment complex until we could figure out what to do. Here comes the mystery.


We’d owned Ellie for three years at that point and we have wonderful memories of her sitting on the front lawn of our townhouse and chasing squirrels in the backyard. I remember her passing beneath several years of Christmas trees on her short little legs, as if there weren’t suddenly giant trees growing in our living room.


After selling our home, we lived in that apartment for six months, a time I remember with extreme clarity. The rent included cable with HBO so we were able to watch Sex and the City for the first time. I can conjure hundreds of moments in that apartment.


It recently occurred to me that I have no memories of Ellie being with us at that time, and I don’t remember paying the pet deposit that would have been required. The apartment didn’t have a backyard so I would have needed to walk her, pick up after her messes and dispose of those messes in a dumpster. She would have had food and water bowls in the kitchen but my brain has recorded none of this, nor has it recorded the lengthy, soul-searching conversations I typically have with my pets.


I can easily recall sights, sounds and smells, but my brain seems to contain no recollection of Ellie during those six months—which is weird because I clearly recall Ellie coming with us when we purchased a big old house in Portland six months later.


Accepting that my memory was flawed, I mentioned this to Mrs. Chatterbox, whose memory is second to none. She likewise couldn’t pull forward a single mental image of Ellie in that apartment. It seems inconceivable that we’d both experience this brain drain over the exact same thing. CJ didn’t live with us at the apartment but he visited several times. Over Christmas I asked if he remembered seeing Ellie there. He shook his head.


As I’ve mentioned, we lived in that apartment for six months. Mrs. Chatterbox’s parents had already passed and mine were still living in California, so they weren’t around to babysit our Corgi. Obviously we didn’t kennel our beloved pet for six months.


We have photographs of Ellie at our townhouse, as well as at the “old Portlander” we eventually purchased, where we lived when Ellie developed the cancer that took her life. There are no pictures of Ellie. How is it that Mrs. Chatterbox and I have a six month gap in both our memories, three of us if we throw CJ into the mix?


Did aliens scoop her up for examination, and then swipe our memories after returning her? She was a herding dog and maybe the aliens got tired of being rounded up in their spaceship. Sounds insane, but there doesn’t seem to be any rational explanation.


Have you ever experienced a significant lapse in memory you couldn’t explain?




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I've forgotten some details or experiences over the year, but never something like this, which is especially odd since none of you can remember life with her there even though there are photos to prove it. This is truly bizarre.
By: Mitchell is Moving on December 27, 2017
Maybe she disappeared into a 4th Dimension gateway in the wall like that old Twilight Zone episode. Are you sure it was the same Corgi at the townhouse and later house? Maybe Ellie disappeared and another Corgi just showed up.
By: PT Dilloway on December 27, 2017
That is wild Stephen, you know there is a reasonable explanation for where she was but the answer is baffling, maybe she simply fit into your day to day life so well that she was simply always there and nothing out of the ordinary happened during those six months to create an outstanding memory...
By: Jimmy on December 27, 2017
I attribute my memory lapses to old age .... wishing the Very Best for a great New Year to You and Mrs C.
By: Hilde on December 27, 2017
That is very odd. I have never forgotten something that important. Maybe she was boarded with a nearby neighbor on some days or spent most of her time with others int the apartment?
By: Tabor on December 27, 2017
There are some bad things that have happened that i have tried to forget, and have forgotten some of it. Nothing quite like this, though.
By: messymimi on December 27, 2017
That is VERY odd! I love corgi's - they're such adorable loaves of bread...
By: The Bug on December 27, 2017
I NEVER forget anything. My memory is perfect!! I...who's calling, please?
By: fishducky on December 27, 2017
Maybe she was so pleasant and quiet, you don't remember. We remember anomalies, not the mundane. (?)
By: Robyn Engel on December 27, 2017
That is extremely odd. Can't say I've had any examples of such a significant memory lapse. Seems like there must be some obvious explanation that didn't seem such a big deal at the time so you didn't form long-lasting memories of it, such as a friend looking after her for those 6 months. If she was being looked after elsewhere, that may have been one problem sorted and out of your minds while your attention was on finding a permanent place to live?
By: Botanist on December 27, 2017
whoa....that is totally weird! I remember all my dogs and cats....however where my memory fails is I cannot remember some very very bad times when I was married before...I guess this "convenient" loss is actually a good loss. Who wants to remember horrible things?
By: Kathe W. on December 27, 2017
I think you have to write it off to the power of cable, especially HBO and the intoxication that came with Sarah, Kim, Cynthia and Kristin! Your little gray cells were "previously occupied!"
By: Tom Cochrun on December 27, 2017
That is strange. It was probably the translation and HBO.i liked that show too.
By: Rick Watson on December 27, 2017
Yes, but not for 6 months and leaving out a dog? No one could forget a corgi, they are a wonderful breed. I go with the aliens and the memory wipe, it is the only thing that makes any sense.
By: cranky on December 27, 2017
It's an odd situation for people to not remember similar things. I have experienced global amnesia so I understand the not making of new memories.Is there anything else you don't remember?
By: Keith Kline on December 27, 2017
Maybe, as others have said, nothing out of the ordinary happened with Ellie, so no memories were strong enough to be imprinted on your brain. Also, because you were busy figuring out what to do about living arrangements, viewing houses, etc., that stress may have pushed more mundane memories out of your memory banks. Or is it possible that Ellie lived with a friend for that time period? That truly is a mystery. I have huge gaps in memory but it's during the time our kids were in elementary school and nothing major happened to mark the years; it was all just day to day life and blurs together in one big blob!
By: jenny_o on December 27, 2017
This is strange for sure but I wonder if you paid the kennel for her to stay there since many apartment complexes do not allow pets. You may have visited her but due to guilt, both of you canât recall that time because you could not have her with you. By the way...Merry Christmas! I have been horrible with my blogging but hope to get back into shape again.
By: Birgit on December 27, 2017
It is interesting how our memory works... I would agree with you--while I like the high desert, places like Phoenix and Vegas are just too hot.
By: Sage on December 28, 2017
I have large lapses in my memory. my sister or husband will talk about some thing at which I was present and I have no memory of it but nothing like what you experienced. a mystery indeed.
By: Ellen Abbott on December 28, 2017
No, but my husband TELLS me I have lapses in my memory!
By: Val on December 28, 2017
Wow, I can see one of you not remembering but three of you?? If you find the answer, please post it.
By: Arkansas Patti on December 28, 2017
I suspect that one of these days, something will come to you or to Mrs. C that will remind you that Ellie was with your. Maybe your writing or art from that time holds the key. Or perhaps mentally walk through that apartment and think about the logical places you would have put her bed.. hung her leash.. housed the dog food/treats.. etc. She looks like a reals sweetie. Perhaps making 6 months disappear was one of her accomplished dog tricks. I seem to have made years disappear by not getting around to blog visits.... I'm glad I was able to stop by today. Your posts are always fun.
By: Hilary on December 28, 2017
Maybe you left her at the tonhouse by mistake, and then picked her up on the way to your new house? Or else, like you said, it was aliens.
By: Tom Sightings on December 28, 2017
Not me and it seems a bit baffling for three individuals to share the same lapse in memory. Must have been a dream,
By: Daniel LaFrance on December 28, 2017
I struggle to remember where I did laundry most of my laundromatting days. But misplacing Ellie is just bizarre! There should have been some trace, some odd moment that stands out. Routines often blur into background, but there's usually a stand-out event.
By: Laura Benjamin on January 1, 2018
Hmmm...I agree this is a bit bizarre. But then I do realize that your brain can play some weird tricks on you. For example, I remember conversations that I had in high school with teachers in English. Of course those conversations were in German, but I don't remember them as such.
By: Pixel Peeper on January 7, 2018

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