Have you ever noticed how forgetful you get after fifty? It’s not just the things around the house like the keys or mail or those pesky concert tickets. (Don’t get me started on my reading glasses. I bought four pair and just leave them lying around the house). But there are days you can’t remember a thing. For instance, a friend called about another friend’s son who is getting married. Half way through the conversation we realized neither of us could remember his name. We both have known the boy for years. Like, his whole life, twenty-five years. We kept talking, trying to remember.
“Remember he dated that one girl, the one with the red hair.”
“Wasn’t her name Carrie?”
“Her parents lived by the mall.”
“Wasn’t her dad a dentist?”
“I think he worked downtown by the marina.”
“Didn’t he divorce his wife for that receptionist?”
“Oh, now I remember, his wife owned the market that made the great gift baskets.”
“I used them all the time. Once I sent a fruit basket to a friend and the fruit was bad so the wife gave me a new basket free of charge.”
“She was good like that.”
“I think I sent that basket to Tammy when she got her hysterectomy.”
“Tammy’s son is the one getting married.”
“Oh yeah, what was his name?”
I have these conversations with my friends on an almost daily basis. But mostly I have them in my own mind. Where did I put that thing? Did I make that call earlier like I needed? Was it today or tomorrow that I was supposed to call the doctor? What was the name of that person who did that thing I wanted to look into? My son told me to put things back in the same place every day. Um, don’t you have to remember to put them there???? I remember stupid things like the names of my sixth grade teachers, or phone numbers of my friends in middle school. In fact people call me for numbers as if I were the white pages. But ask me what I had for dinner two nights ago and bam! The wall comes up.
I have become adept at writing things down that I want to remember. I actually write them down in three places. I have –
a. Pocket calendar
b. Refrigerator calendar
c. Desk calendar
The pocket calendar can be placed in my backpack (I don’t carry a purse, something that drives my daughters crazy) and I can write down things at lunch with the girls, when we will be meeting next, any hospital stays or any special occasions that might be coming up. We all cook and run errands for each other in times of need so it’s important to write it down as it happens. We are forgetful, but organized. Then when I get home I transfer it to my calendar on the refrigerator. That way my husband can glance at it occasionally and remind me of the various events. It is the center of our home and everyone eventually will make his or her way to the fridge.
“Hey Mom,” my son yelled one evening when he stopped by for dinner. “Did you know your article was due today?”
I rush to the fridge, look at the clock and run to the computer. I have until midnight to get the submission in. It is at this time that I look at the third calendar in my life and notice that although I wrote the deadline down in the pocket calendar and on the refrigerator I had left it off the desk calendar, which is where all the business appointments and deadlines are kept. Lesson learned. All three, all the time, period.
The one thing about the desk appointment calendar is that I have a tendency to write down numbers people give me on the pages. Two weeks later when I need the number I have to leaf through the book to find them. I have a stack of calendars from previous years kept just for the numbers. I guess I could take a day to write them all down in my address book, but I would have to find it. By the time I do find it, my mind would have wandered on to the next thing and two days later I would find the address book, put it away in a safe place and wait for the spirit to move me to organize the numbers once again.
It’s hard to imagine that this woman once ran a household with three kids and a husband, all involved in various activities, while being a president of the PTA, scout leader, band booster and director of the drama departments’ theatrical production when the teacher dropped out.
I think over the years my brain reached capacity and now chooses to ignore things that aren’t important or at least that I feel I may not need to know until some later date. I watch the talk shows and when they say it’s normal to forget some things when you get older, I call my friends to tell them we’re normal. They ask what show I was watching and then it happens. I have no idea, but I think it was channel four.