Thursday, December 18, 2008


I walk into the living room to tell my husband something. The minute I arrive, the thought is totally gone. Wheeling around, I scurry back into the kitchen where I know the thought is awaiting my return. When my foot hits the linoleum floor, the thought jumps back in my mind and I manage to keep it there this time long enough to tell him.

Oh dear! That is about the same as remembering something I need to buy at the market and by the time I find a pencil to write it down, I can’t remember what I needed.

I propose these little lapses aren’t exclusively owned by the over-55 gang, but they certainly hit us more often as we move on in years.

My friend Bev, a top-notch executive secretary, trained me when I went to work for a company in Pomona back in the ‘70s. After several years of working together, we thought we were probably the best executive support team in the valley. Both of us are now retired, and we laugh a lot over old times. The biggest laugh can be simply stated this way: when we were 35, our bosses could tell us what they wanted done, and we would do it. At 45, our bosses could tell us what they wanted done and we would write it down so we wouldn’t forget to do it. At 55, our bosses could tell us what they wanted done, we would write it down but then forget where put the note! We laugh now, but it wasn’t very funny then.

There were days before I retired from my last job when I felt I was losing ground. It seemed that I had an allotted number of brain cells left to finish up this fast-paced job and if the boss didn’t slow down, I was going to use them up well before retirement date. It was a scary time, but I stayed the course.

My sweet husband Jerry and I poke good-natured fun at each other when one of us has a momentary lapse, but we have made a pact that we are not going to tease each other in front of other people. We will help each other out, rather than make an issue out of one of those honest but happening-more-frequently blanks.

We also have agreed that we are not going to waste time trying to remember some insignificant thing – was it Thursday or Friday? 1973 or 1974 – you know, those times when it seems dreadfully important to get the exact jot and tittle correct while the world waits for us to get on with our story. Jer and I have agreed to kick each other under the table when that starts to happen. The kick will jog our stuck record and get us back on track. It’s our little secret.

We’d like to go gracefully into old age, making allowances for each other and being one of those couples younger people think of as “darling little old people.” We’ve got to work at staying sharp. Techniques for exercising the mind abound, if you listen to the authorities. I’ve chosen my technique – memorizing my favorite old poems, starting with “Abou Ben Adhem, May His Tribe Increase.” (I can hear you speculating that maybe some of my cells have already gone missing). I’m a firm believer in the value of memorization! I think if I can just get that first poem down pat, the rest will be easier and I will be reassured that my brain cells are still alive and kicking! Though Jerry may think otherwise.

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