Singing and memory

All her life, my mother sang a great deal, not only formally,
 but also at her needlework, to her children, or by woods
and water. When she sang to an accompaniment, it was
 always to my father’s accompaniment, and when he died – she 
being then fifty-five – all the songs she continued to sing
 to herself were German songs he had taught her during their 
married life. After the age of seventy, these gradually slipped
away from her and we heard her singing the French songs
 she had learned during her school days in Dieppe and Paris.
When she reached the age of eighty-five, these in their turn 
seemed to fade, but she still sang to herself, snatches of odd
 English popular songs which she had picked up in her childhood in London, from servants-street cries, sentimental broadsheets and the like, current at the time. The various stations of her life being well marked, it was possible to see a clear example of the way memory works.

H. M. Swanwick I Have Been Young (Victor Gollancz, 1935) p19