Mario Puzo on ‘Retrospective Falsification’ (1972)

“The young are impatient about change because they cannot grasp the power of time itself; not only as the enemy of flesh, the very germ of death, but as a benign cancer. As the young cannot grasp really that love must be a victim of time, so too they cannot grasp that injustices – the economic and family traps of living – can also fall victim to time. And so I really thought that I would spend the rest of my life as a railroad clerk. That I would never be a writer. That I would be married and have children and go to Christenings and funerals and visit my mother on a Sunday afternoon. That I would never own an automobile or a house. That I would never see Europe, Paris and Rome and Greece I was reading about in books from the public library. That I was hopelessly trapped by my family, by society, by my lack of skills and education. But I escaped again. At the age of 18 I started dreaming about the happiness of my childhood, as later at the age of 30 I would dream about the joys of my lost adolescence, as at the age of 35 I was to dream about the wonderful time I had in the Army which I hated being in, as at the age of 45 I dreamed about the happy, struggling years of being a devoted husband and loving father. I had the most valuable of human gifts, that of retrospective falsification:
remembering the good and not the bad.”