Mysteries of memory February 22, 2014 • Joyce Ore
Sandra White’s birthday is in a few weeks. That I remember the day is interesting because I haven’t seen or heard from Sandra since we graduated in the middle part of the last century.
Sandra and I, along with five others, started kindergarten together, but the two of us grew up more competitors than friends. Competitors may be the wrong word, since she was totally concerned about getting the big “A,” while I was more concerned about being picked to play some position other than far left field during recess softball.
I can’t send Sandra a card since I have no idea where she lives, what she does, if she is married or even if she is still alive. And yet, every year about this time, I remember her birthday.
Had there been a yearly celebration on her birthday, I could understand why this date is so deeply etched in my mind. But I don’t remember Sandra ever having a birthday party. So, why do I remember this date when I forget others that are more important? I do remember my only sibling’s anniversary only because he and his bride were married the day before Sandra’s birthday.
Memory is a strange thing. My other half claims I remember unimportant things such as where we ate on his 23rd birthday, but can’t remember to make a notation when I write a check.
Memory tends to be selective, and we don’t seem to have much to say about the process. My memory is a lot like closing my eyes and randomly opening a book to a page. I never know what will pop up.
Memory often is related to association. I can remember what year we bought our house because our youngest daughter wasn’t crawling, and she was born the year after we moved to Hastings, which was the year after we traveled to Yellowstone, the first real vacation we had in the 10 years of marriage; therefore, we bought the house in 1967. So there! Probably doesn’t make sense to anyone else, but it works for me.
So why do I remember Sandra White’s birthday when I can’t even remember my own age? Actually, that‘s not the same thing.