Perhaps the cause of memory loss is trauma. We block out traumatic events from our memory. Like birth, for instance. Imagine being shoved through a PVC pipe with something resembling an alien tentacle protruding from where your bellybutton is supposed to be. Hmm. Birth might have been my highest moment of triumph, but I am in no hurry to repeat it. I have never been able to remember names either. Is that because meeting people is also traumatic? I dunno.
I recently had lunch with some of my friends from high school. We’ve taken our punches and dodged some bullets, but we all agreed that we have fared pretty well. There is little comfort in people like Faith Hill chanting, “I am not going to fight old age or wrinkles or fat.” (If I had Tim McCraw sewed up in my hip pocket, I wouldn’t fight anything.)
As my friends and I reminisced about house school, careers, and marriages, the topic settled on our weddings, which happened 50 years ago. Margaret said to Carol: “I loved the bright blue dress I wore in your wedding.”
“You weren’t in my wedding,” stated Carol.
“WHAAAAAT?” Margaret was obviously shocked.
Patsy chimed in. “Margaret, you asked me to serve cake at your wedding reception. My (then) husband and I were halfway through the wedding ceremony before we realized we were at the wrong wedding. Hard to believe there were two weddings in our small town at the same time.”
Janie admitted, “I can remember David’s three groomsmen in our wedding, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember my three bridesmaids!”
Linda and I were the only ones who weren’t still with the husbands we married 50 years ago. We remember every detail of our weddings but we kept a lid on them.
I found an online memory quiz, which seemed timely: 1. When you cannot remember where you parked your car, do you (a) have total recall of your make of car, serial number, and license plates, or (b) call a cab and pretend it doesn’t matter?
2. At class reunions, do you (a) use the Association Method to remember names (i.e., he is hairy and in his fourth marriage; ergo, his name is Harry Love), or (b) do you squint at name tags upside down and say, “Nayr Mot, long time, no see”?
3. Do you (a) have specific places for your sewing basket, office equipment, cleaning supplies, and cooking utensils, or (b) are you content to put in hems with Band-Aids and take down phone messages using a cuticle stick on wax paper?
4. Do you (a) keep tabs on your grocery shopping cart by remembering its contents, or (b) do you have to “mark it” by forcing your ten-year-old to sit in the basket in a fetal position?
5. Do you (a) always remember the ages, sex, names, and grades of your grandchildren, or (b) do you have to stop and count backward or forward from the year the cat came to live with you?
6. Do you (a) always repeat the name of the person you are introduced to, or (b) repeatedly look perplexed and say “Meredith WHO?”
Recently, I told Lanny that I need to do something about my memory. He asked, “Why?”
Cindy Baker Burnett is a resident of Bonham. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org