One tends to think of memory's magical kingdom as having fixed boundaries. Only shadows of the past are allowed residence and interlopers are strictly forbidden. However, the sentries can be fooled and intruders may sometimes sneak in under the cloak of familiarity if they bear a close enough resemblance to a recognised inhabitant.
"Okay, Gordie, you've lost the plot. What are you blathering on about now?" you may well be thinking. Simply this. If you're around the same age as me, you may well remember the CAPTAIN SCARLET merchandise that was available back in the 1960s, particularly the DINKY diecast vehicles like the SPV, MSV, and SPC. (Though nowadays it's usually referred to as the SSC. Perhaps it was only Dinky who called it an SPC?)
I had all of them - and still retain the set I acquired many years ago as replacements for my originals. I've had them for far longer than I ever owned their predecessors, although it doesn't actually feel like it. It's almost as if there's never been a period in my life when I was without them, and that the ones I have today are the very ones I had as a kid; hidden in a cupboard somewhere for all those years until I rediscovered them after a long period of neglect. That's not the case of course, it just seems that way.
However, there are other ways to fool the mind, and here's what I hope is an interesting example of just such an instance. Back in the very early '90s, THUNDERBIRDS enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity when the BBC broadcast all 32 episodes on network TV for the very first time. Previously, back in the '60s (and with most subsequent repeats), they were shown in various TV regions on different days and times. Amazingly, the '90s screenings were a huge success, spawning a level of merchandise to rival that which was available during the show's heyday.
The BBC tried again with STINGRAY and CAPTAIN SCARLET, but met with a more muted response from viewers. However, having anticipated the same kind of enthusiastic reaction that INTERNATIONAL RESCUE had enjoyed; toy manufacturers launched all sorts of items to tie-in with the expected demand for all things GERRY ANDERSON.
Such an item was the SPV 'play set' by VIVID IMAGINATIONS, pictured in this post. Now, here's the thing: I obviously bought this as a collector's piece, not to play with - and I purchased it while living in my present abode, with where one would naturally assume I would associate it. But no, whenever I cast eyes on it, I seem to see myself, as a kid, sitting on the doorstep in the back garden of my old house, playing with this exact same vehicle - even though this specific toy didn't exist at the time and wasn't made until around a quarter of a century later.
So vivid is the image that it does indeed seem like an actual memory - as opposed to what is obviously merely my imagination (see what I did there?), facilitated by the fact that I associate the familiar design of the vehicle with a particular period from my past. In short, it's a perfect fit - and seems more at home in my memories of 1968 than of when I actually obtained it.
Funny how the mind can play such tricks, isn't it? I believe it's called 'false memory syndrome', which is perhaps where 'Deja vu'-type feelings spring from. Anyone got any similar experiences they'd care to share? Feel free to let loose in the comments section.