Sherry Hopkins column

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 31, 2009

Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

Tricky memory works at night when Sherry’s asleep

Just like you, I depend on my brain to get me through the days, weeks, months and years of my life. It is my junk drawer for useless information, most of which is only needed if you watch the gameshow Jeopardy on a regular basis. It prompts me to pay bills on time and signals me (too often I’m afraid) when to eat. The amount of memory stored by my age is quite impressive.

However, I seem to have a problem finding just the right information when it is needed.

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I struggle for the right word or correct name, I wring my hands at what it was I came into the room for. I absentmindedly put the tea bags or the peanut butter in the freezer or the iron in the dryer.

I don’t think that I have any serious issues at hand. I know who the president is and what year we are in and the woeful current events of the day. Just ask me anything about Michael Jackson or the drought in southern Texas or King Willie, the Mayor of Memphis.

I can rattle off facts that I don’t even know that I know. How is that possible? And then when I start a conversation with Dear Don I can’t remember the topic.

Zac spent a few days with me last week and while we were watching a cartoon movie they were using lots of old songs from the early seventies. I was singing along with every word and he turned to me and said, “Grandma, have you seen this movie before?”

 “No, sweetie,” I answered, “Grandma knows those songs from when I was young.”

He hasn’t quite grasped the “Grandma was once young” thing yet.

I distinctly remember pouring a watering can full of water onto George McCarver’s head when I was in first grade. He had made a remark about me to the class and I wasn’t about to let that slide.

Mrs. Jamerson, my teacher, spanked me on my hand with her wooden ruler. I remember the sting and I also remember George McCarver never messed with me again. School had been in session less than a week. That incident was over fifty years ago.

Today I don’t exactly remember what I had for dinner last night. Or why I’m saving a piece of paper with a phone number I don’t recognize written in my handwriting.

My only saving grace is that when I fall to sleep at night I problem-solve in my dreams. I remember where I put things I’ve been looking for. I once remembered our bank pin number after we both forgot it for several months.

I dreamed how to put that bathroom window back together when all the daylight finagling just wouldn’t bring results. I remember movie actors and song titles and things I meant to tell Dear Don but forgot somehow.

So I guess along with all that useless information in my brain is the useful day-to-day stuff I need to remember. My problem would be just exactly what folder it’s in and just how to retrieve it when I need it – short of a quick nap.

You get the picture.

(Contact Sherry at <>)