“Bowling in Heaven” (memorate)

by Grace Robinson

“When I was little, I was really scared of thunder storms and [my] Grandma would always tell me that the sound of the thunder was actually the sound of people bowling in heaven, -and after she told me that story enough I wasn’t scared of them anymore.”

My informant spoke with great passion about this short narrative that was replayed to her many times as a child. She told me her grandmother was very Christian, so she thought that claiming that the loud thunder was actually the result of heaven-dwellers indulging in a carefree recreation, would ease by fear. Her grandmother was ultimately right, as the reminder soothed her anxieties over thunder storms, having grown up in such a religious household, the familiarity to religion from the group she was raised with aided her, even though she doesn’t claim to be especially religious herself.

I also find it interesting that while I would still classify this short narrative as a memorate, since it pertains to a personal experience, it also shares many traits with that of ‘myths’. It is essentially a kind of creation story for a universal truth, seeing as folk everywhere hear thunder. It’s a sacred narrative about how something came to be (the thunder deriving from something holy), and it doesn’t take place in the real world (i.e. Heaven). So while I wouldn’t quite classify this piece as a myth, due to what I believe to be a small reach, it definitely seems to share its qualities.