Reading Question 3/6 (Pine Point)

“Memory is funny. Specific and vague. Visceral and unreliable. Truth and fiction” (Simons).

“When you decide to get rid of a town, there are odd considerations and effects. For instance, once it’s gone, has it really, truly disappeared?” (Simons).

Despite the fact that the Pine Point town doesn’t really have much of a physical existence anymore in the space it once occupied, there is this collection of pictures, video clips, government documents that mention the closing of the town, and the collective (if selective) memories held of the town by each of the former residents. Given these remnants still exist even after the town itself is no more, it seems that there is a certain sense in which the town never truly disappeared entirely, but rather its story is merely forever paused.

However, Simons also touches on how the memories of the former Pine Point residents are incomplete in some aspects, and even selective in some instances. I am reminded of Barthes’ attempts to remember his mother as she was, and how despite his efforts, he only recognized her in fragments.

This brings me to the questions: When the collective memory of a town such as this is fragmented and piecemeal, has the town truly disappeared if it cannot be recalled in its entirety? What constitutes a “good enough” collection of memories for something to live on, in a sense? When the former residents themselves are no longer around, will the imagery left of the town be enough to give others an accurate glimpse of what was? Or does complete accuracy not matter so much for the visual memory as long as people are given glimpses of what this town was like?