I’ve always had problems remembers nouns and adjectives. It seems to be something congenital, according some research reports I read a while back – but I can’t remember the author or the journal. All nouns.
I have problems remembering people’s names. This has plagued me my entire life. If I don’t see, talk to, or write to someone at least once a month or so, his name begins to escape me. I took memory courses. Didn’t work. I’ve tried all those tricks to remember names. Ended up calling someone named Rose, “Thorny.” Another time I called her “Gardenia.” Most of the time, however, I end up admitting my terrible secret – I can’t remember names!!
Can’t remember where I put small objects, either. It is a household legend that “Mom can’t remember where she put her keys or her sunglasses.” There was that incident back in ’81 or ’82, when I was running all over the house one morning trying to find my sunglasses. I can’t drive without them except on the cloudiest of days and at night. Bright light really hurts my eyes. I was running from room to room to room. Oldest son was about 15, and had begun to tower over me. Daughter was about 13, Youngest son was about 10. They were laughing at me!! How dare they! Finally I lost it. “Why don’t you HELP me, instead of standing around laughing like fools!” I shrieked! Son#1 stepped over, looked down at me, plucked my sunglasses off the top of my head and placed them over my eyes. Then we all burst out laughing! “Mom, we’ll never know if you ever get Alzheimer’s,” he said, ” ’cause you’ve always been a space biscuit – light and flakey. And you’ve never been able to remember stuff like this – or people’s names.”
It’s true. I’ve ALWAYS been like that. Now that I’m older, however, I worry that my memory seems to be getting worse. Family insists I’ve “always been that way,” but I find nouns are more slippery than before.
Maybe it’s because I’ve stopped trying to remember a lot of things. Phone numbers, for instance. Why remember them? They are listed – 1) in my cell-phone, 2) in my PDA, and 3) on my computer. I seldom leave without my cell-phone and PDA. Birthdays and anniversaries – I’ve never been one to remember birthdays, much less anniversaries, but I do MUCH better now. Birthdays and anniversaries are all in 1) my PDA, 2) on my computer, and 3) on various “reminding” websites – like Amazon, Hallmark, my Yahoo calendar, and my MSN calendar. I get reminded at least 5 times of each special day. Several times, several days ahead of time. Of course, despite the reminders, I all too frequently manage to not send a card or get a gift. I “postpone it” and then forget it, and then – well the day is past and I still haven’t sent the card or gotten the gift. SIGH!!
At least most of my friends and relatives with whom I am in contact are in one of my e-mail address books. Problem is, sometimes I can’t remember WHICH e-mail address book they are in (I have multiple different e-mail accounts). Then there are the times I go through an e-dress book and wonder who on earth some of those people are!
So how do I figure out whether I have memory problems or not? I work crossword puzzles, and do jigsaw puzzles and some puzzle-type games on the computer. These help me keep “pattern-recognition” alive. I’ve never been great in terms of speed when doing jigsaw puzzles, but I always get them done. Crosswords are a bit trickier. I have problems with nouns and adjectives, remember? But I can usually manage to get through them eventually.
Memory is a tricky thing. How do I know that the things I remember really happened? most of the time I can get confirmation from those around me. But there are some memories I don’t have any way of getting confirmed. I’m out of touch with the people involved, and I can’t remember their names to try to track them down!
The best option I can think of is to simply accept that my memories are accurate, despite my problems with nouns and adjectives. Verbs aren’t a problem. Maybe I should start trying to associate nouns with verbs.
Well, at least I’m in good company!