On birthdays, memories, and song practice

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Today’s my birthday. I share it with the birth of our country, which has always made me feel kind of special. Other notable birthday buddies include George Steinbrenner, Leona Helmsley, and Geraldo Rivera. (We Cancers can be characters.) If I could have chosen a day of the year on which to be born, I suppose I would have even chosen this day. There was always something fun to do—picnics, ball games, boat rides, and pyrotechnics to cap it all off.

When something happens on my birthday, chances are pretty good that I’m going to remember it. While I can’t remember every detail of every birthday I’ve ever had, I do remember many of them. And if something out of the ordinary happened on my birthday, that made a bigger dent. It became a part of me—filed away for the rest of my life. I’d venture to say that, if something happens on my birthday, there’s a better chance that I’ll remember it than if it happens on July 5 or 10 or 31.

Which brings me back around to the Ronald Tammen story and my most recent discovery. You may still be unsure about whether to believe Paul’s version of events. I get that. It was so long ago, and memories do have a way of morphing over the years.

But there’s something I haven’t shared with you up until now.  April 19 is Paul’s birthday. That’s why his memory of song practice that night is so vivid. He kept his birthday to himself, he told me, because he’d seen how merciless those guys could be in celebrating other Delts’ birthdays. No sense in putting oneself through that if you can help it. But regarding the question of whether there was a song practice that night, and who it was he walked home with? On those topics he’s quite sure. Sure as the day he was born.


6 thoughts on “On birthdays, memories, and song practice

  1. I’m new to your page, but not new to Miami University. I grew up close to Oxford and eventually went to school and graduated from Miami as well. The story of Ronald Tammen has always fascinated me because how can a person disappear into nothingness like he did?

    Anyway…as far as song practice goes, wouldn’t that have come out from the investigation itself? I mean to say, immediately following his disappearance, why wasn’t that noted in the original Ronald Tammen disappearance story? Why isn’t everything Ron did that night known and in a report somewhere. I guess what I’m trying to say is that an event like him going to song practice shouldn’t be guess work for us now. I feel like everyone that saw him that night should have come forward and spoke to the investigators then so it wouldn’t be guess work. Does that make sense?

    1. Thanks for your comments, and welcome! So, yeah…in a perfect world, one would think that these stories would have all been included in the investigative notes or in news accounts. But, alas, investigative notes get tossed or lost over the years (Oxford PD had no records as of 2008 and I’m sure the university doesn’t have all of Dean Knox’s notes). The person who remembers song practice so clearly did say that he spoke with Carl Knox and also he remembers Knox telling him that he was likely the last person to have seen Tammen before he disappeared. This source has impressed me with his memory too. He’s the person who clued me in on the name of the former Oxford cop who I was able to track down.

      All this begs the question of why these details, if true, didn’t make it into the public record. Is it because some details were ignored if they didn’t fit the accepted narrative very well (i.e., that Tammen had gotten amnesia and walked away, landing on Mrs. Spivey’s doorstep, and then wandering or hitchhiking off to parts unknown)? Or could there be another explanation for the omissions, not to mention the ignored leads (e.g., H.H. Stephenson’s possible sighting, the dead body in Georgia, and the blood test)? I really can’t say at this point. I can only listen to what people who were there tell me and read everything I can get my hands on, and see if this new info brings us any closer to the truth. But I can tell you…that source who said that they were at song practice? He was one of the most credible persons I’ve interviewed in this whole project.

      1. Oh my gosh…I love this question so much because I’ve been pondering this idea recently. Only I wasn’t thinking about Paul–a pseudonym I used for the Delt who walked back with Ron to the dorms from song practice mere minutes before Ron disappeared–although I agree that would be interesting too. I was wondering about someone else who remembers some details clearly but not everything. Interestingly, I reconnected with ‘Paul’ recently, and, years after our initial conversation, his story hasn’t changed. I plan to see the other person later this year. Perhaps I’ll raise the idea with him–I need to mull it over a little more. It would be incredibly ironic if hypnosis could bring details about Ron’s disappearance, which I believe had a lot to do with hypnosis, to the surface. Thank you so much for this question.

  2. “Sure as the day he was born.”

    Some things are just perfect and that sentence is one of them. Enjoy your day!

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