A Whatchamacallit By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

When empty-nest-syndrome involves the brain.

It’s normal to lose your train of thought now and then.  If that train routinely jumps the track and crashes in a fiery ball of twisted wreckage, you may have a problem.

My husband and I were getting caught up on the day’s events one evening and I mentioned I had run into the father of one of our daughter Liz’s classmates.  I shared that the young woman was now married with 2 children and lived down south; Arkansas, Alabama or some such place.

“Which classmate?”  Bill asked the logical question.

Her name, which had been perched on the tip of my tongue mere moments before, immediately flew the coop.

“She sat behind Liz in homeroom,” I said.  Her face was blurry in my mind’s eye.

“Do you mean Erica?  How about Becky?”  Bill looked at the ceiling, mentally reviewing Liz’s 8th grade class roster.

“No,” I waved off these obviously wrong guesses like pesky gnats.   “A small girl with a pointy chin.  I think she had brown hair.  Maybe red.”

“Is it Cassie?  Natalie?” He ticked off possible candidates on his fingers.

“Those two were blondes,” I scoffed.  Was this the best he could do? “She was the only one who didn’t get a gutter ball when we took the Brownies bowling in 2nd grade.”  Chances were slim that Bill remembered Liz had been a Brownie twenty years ago, but I was clutching at straws now.

“I think there’s an “A” in her name.  YOU know who I mean,” I insisted.

“Abby?  Anita?  One of the Ashleys?”  A hint of desperation had crept into his voice, but he soldiered on manfully in the face of almost certain failure.

“They didn’t have an Anita!”  I exhaled loudly.  This was pointless.

A forgotten word is a shy creature.  It hovers just out of reach and darts away quickest when chased.  Names are the worst, as I know from increasing experience.  They cannot be wooed; they will not be coerced. They alight only when and if they so desire, usually when you have given up all hope of catching them.

We sat in silence for another 10 minutes engrossed, in varying degrees, in a fascinating PBS documentary on the three-toed sloth.  The elusive name came home to roost at last, flitting back into my brain as suddenly as it had left.

“Stella!” I exclaimed, shooting Bill a triumphant smile.

He stared back at me blankly.  “Huh?” he asked, clueless.

Having trouble remembering things doesn’t necessarily signal early dementia, but I think it may be time to get a professional opinion.  Bill’s memory is clearly going to pot.


About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
This entry was posted in General Ramblings and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to A Whatchamacallit By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

  1. Al says:

    This is a funny story. While I know this happens to a lot of people, I’ve been one of the lucky ones with excellent recall. Anyway, just wanted to say I loved the post, Petula.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This post made me laugh. I can remember the names of my kids’ friends right up to the point where I actually need to know the name for some reason. Same is true for many of my former acquaintances. It’s even true for the names of streets everyone lived on (including me) and the numbers of those houses. I’m not sure if it’s part of the aging process, or just a way of delegating older information to the back of my mind so newer information (like where I left my car keys, and did I remember to feed the dog this morning) can move to the front.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pegoleg says:

      I always say I don’t have a memory problem – it’s a filing cabinet problem. My mental filing cabinet has too much in it.

      This happened to me just today. I went to lunch with friends and bumped into another friend and one lady’s last name entirely failed me when I went to introduce them. I just used first names for everyone – I know it sounded weird, but what else could I do?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I recognize this all too well. My husband and I have similar conversations. Usually what happens to me though, is the name comes to me in the middle of the night. A lot of good it does me then!


  4. Aphasia: The one word I never forget.


  5. Does he actually remember her 8th grade classmates names or was he just throwing out random names hoping to alight on the right one? Because that’s an astonishing show of awareness and connectedness, both which I lack. I can’t even remember their teachers names, much less classmates! Show off.


  6. Jean Talaga says:

    Oh yes, I can definitely relate to this and “Bill’s” difficulty. Thanks for the early morning chuckle, Peg!


    • pegoleg says:

      Hi Jean, how nice to see you! It’s funny how whatever I’m struggling with – memory, hearing – Bill has it worse. I’m sure you and Steve don’t ever have such issues, though, right?


  7. If you can remember the kid threw a gutter ball twenty years ago, you don’t have a memory problem, your brain has simply reorganized its priorities. Bowling results are way more important than a mere name!


  8. Heheheheh…at least you didn’t wake out of a deep sleep and shout it. That’s when it happens to me. In the middle of the night I will wake up and remember what ever it was that I forgot hours earlier. At this point I refer to all my nieces and nephews children as “the boy” or the “the girl”. Their grandmothers (my sisters) are not best pleased. The nieces and nephews only mind when I forget their name. “The girl. You know. The one from the blond girl”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. funny story. I have been right where you were


  10. Margy says:

    My husband doesn’t remember things for me either. You’d think, after all these years of marriage, he would know what he is supposed to remember that I’ve forgotten… or something like that… I think.


  11. Al took my joke, gosh darnit! Ah well. I can relate to so much of this story. My husband whats-his-name has such a horrible memory, it’s really sad.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s