That Fickle Memory
Judy Causey Love
I read an article a while back in a ‘respected’ magazine about memory issues and thought perhaps I’d get some insight into why I can clearly remember what the weather was on June 24, 1970, but can’t remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday.
The author of the article stated that sometimes particular images will trigger a memory and cause it to last. They even did a very unscientific test, in my opinion, showing eight things and asking people to look at them and then repeat what they saw. They all got them wrong. No wonder the police say eye-witness testimony is often unreliable.
How many of us have left the house and then turned around to make sure we turned off the oven, or locked the door? There are a lot of new gadgets now to help us with all of this, but I can’t be trusted with them. I’m liable to set the stove to come on and the lights to go off while I’m away.
Actually, more studies than you’d believe have been done on this subject and in the end, I’ve just decided to live with it and make fun of it. Besides, it’s a lot more fun when you can’t remember your offenses.
I used to be quite proud of my great memory. I could work the New York Times Cross-word in ink and no one wanted to watch Jeopardy with me because I answered almost all of the questions. Surely, I can still be interesting even if I can’t remember your name. And let me say that writing this column is helping me with my memory loss. If I need to remember a story or an event, I usually can find it in the Gazette or one of my articles… if I can remember where I put them. Hey, a lot of words go into a newspaper. Wait, have I written this before?
How many times have you started a sentence and then stopped, saying, “I can’t remember where I was going with that.” Well, I can’t remember how many times MY train of thought has just gone on down the track without me aboard.
Someone once said (I don’t remember who) that memory loss made reruns more enjoyable. That’s the truth. I still sit on the edge of my seat when Matt Dillon hunts for a dangerous escapee. I still laugh at The Golden Girls like I’ve never seen them before. I can tell you the names of all of the detectives from the old Law and Order. And so it is with books. I can read a book and 6 months later read it again and be surprised again by the ending.
My niece sent me a calendar with birthdays highlighted for all family members. This would be so nice if I could find the darn thing.
They say there are 3 things that start to go when you get old. One is your memory and I can’t remember the other 2.
If time moves in one direction and memory in another, I am lost on some third path that is yet to be located on my GPS.
But I am still Wonder Woman! Only now I wonder where I left my keys, wonder where I put my phone. Wonder where my glasses are. Wonder if I took my medicine. Wonder what day I’m supposed to host the church ladies meeting. The list goes on and on. In computer terms, I guess my memory is ‘random access.’
However, it’s still very frustrating that I remember the things I should let go and constantly forget the things that are truly worth remembering. I remember how it felt to be twelve years old and playing with my puppy. I struggle to remember where I just put the remote.
I suppose we are all in this together and that’s a good thing, because we are supposed to cherish our family and friends, and remember our good times together. So, if you ever forget me, I’ll come toilet paper your house… if I can remember where you live!