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  • Kathryn R. Biel

Memory and Memories...

Memory is a funny thing.  I have an awesome memory.  Sort of.  I can remember all sorts of useless, trivial facts and details.  My dream is to someday be on Jeopardy!, kick some serious ass and win a whole bunch of money.  On the other hand, I have a library book that is 19 days overdue.  When they called with a reminder, I did not even remember that I had a book checked out.

I can remember the details of an outfit I wore when I was three, and how I felt that day.  But I cannot remember to RSVP for birthday parties my children are invited to. 

I vividly remember a dream I had when I was about 4 or 5.  The dream was in black and white, and my mother had made me toast for breakfast.  I can still picture her getting the toast out of the toaster, which was our old one and got replaced when I was about 4.  And in this black and white dream, my mother spread orange marmalade on my toast.  And the orange marmalade was in color, like something out of Schindler's List.  I was so upset, since anything orange is my arch nemesis (the fruit, not the color, although I'm not wild about the color either).  In my dream, I felt she did it on purpose, and should have known better.  I woke up feeling upset and crying.  I still remember that feeling.  Most people don't remember their dreams when they wake up, let alone over 30 years later.

I'd like to think that my brain is a great big filing cabinet, and that I'm just very good at opening the drawers and flipping through the files quickly.  So, sometimes, for me, it's frustrating to deal with people who have, um, less efficient filing systems.  Like my husband.  He never remembers to bring his cell phone with him.  He forgets his wallet a lot too.  A trip to the supermarket can sometimes take 4 trips to get the necessary ingredients for one dish (Forget about the household shopping-- I can't even ask him to begin to undertake that one!)  He was really up front about his memory skills.  When we first started dating, and he told me he can't remember anything, I asked him to make a list of 5-10 things about me that he was required to know (middle name, eye color, birthday, favorite food).  He has always done well with those.

So, when we had children, it was always a wonder who they would take after.  Our son, the seven year-old, is a lot like my husband, in a lot of ways.  He has an excellent memory, but has trouble with accessing the information in his brain.  For example, he can't always remember who he sat with at lunch 4 hours earlier.  But, he knows all 50 state capitals, birds and flowers, as well as what state all of the president's are from. 

Tonight, I made Jake a grilled cheese sandwich to have with chicken noodle soup.  He complimented the grilled cheese, which he has just recently started eating again.  Then he said, "Mom, remember that day when you went and got fingerprinted?"

I was starting a new job, working with in the schools.  It is done as a security measure.  It was over two-years ago.

"Yes, I do."

"After we went to the police station, I had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch."

I rest my case.

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