When I was a child I assumed that time represented a linear progression of events and that most memories of most people and places from childhood, especially those without later contact or context, would become fuzzier with time.
The longer I live the more I realize time is not a line in space, but truly a circle, a cycle of memories. Just this past week I have been reminded of a time in my life knowing people I haven't seen in many years. One of those people died this week, only a few hours after I spoke with another person from this time period in my life.
We are not so detached from "then" as we think we are. Perhaps "then" is simply a different shade of "now." We know this is the way God reckons time--a day is as a thousand years and all of that--and sometimes I believe we get a glimpse of it in some small way. After all, if we did not have memory, time would truly be a progression of random events, one after the other with no connection between or reference back.
Instead, we have the gift of memory, of cycle, of repetition. We have the gift of contact, of feeling someone else's life touch ours as our respective lives become interwoven into each other as we all follow separate and sometimes disparate paths on our roads through life. What looked like a line graph or road map when I was a child looks more like a tapestry today.