What’s up with memory–one of our most precious gifts!


z34Memory is our greatest treasure.

This is my first grade class. Top row: Mrs. Bybee, Robbie, Oscar, ?, Debby, Roy, Solomon,

2nd row: James, Helen, Randy, Gina, Anita, Tommy, Linda, ? 3rd row: Shirley, David, Janet, Dale, Barbara, Stephen, ?, Delphine

4th row: Bonnie, ?, Vincent, Frankie, Mike, Brenda 5th row: Eddie, Edna, ?, Lydia, Bobby

Edna, you were in that class, do you remember those I don’t recollect, or did I get any wrong?

My big question is: Why do I remember nearly my entire first grade class, and yet struggle to remember more than five things on a grocery list? I’m sure you’re going to explain to me the difference between short-term and long-term memory, but I learned to memorize the Books of the Bible when I was five, the Gettysburg Address in eighth grade, and I’m pretty sure that all supposedly went into long term memory. And yet, do you think I could recite any of it for you today? No, I could not.

I guess my point is how important memories are, particularly childhood memories. When I look at each of those faces, I can immediately recall what their personality was like and memories we shared. School certainly wasn’t perfect in the fifties, but it was a relatively safe place where we grew and were nurtured. I find it very sad that many schools can no longer seem to be able to provide that basic safety we all require in order to grow and thrive.

As we grow older, I’m sure there are others, besides me, who begin to worry about our adult memories. Memory is our identity, our life, our reason for living. I had a friend in California who had a mother who suffered from severe dementia, and I have a friend in Florida who has a mother who suffers from mild dementia. Both of these friends have dealt with their parents’ memory issues with grace and humor. I know I’ve chatted with my Florida friend’s mother, and she’s an attractive, seventyish woman, and when you talk to her briefly, you’d never guess she was suffering from dementia. Talk to her a little while longer and then you begin to suspect something’s up due to her repetitive comments.

I guess humor saves a lot of us in a pinch, but memory-loss illnesses have to be the most tragic of all diseases. Thankfully, I believe there are some medications that help people with these issues. How well they work, I cannot honestly tell you, but there seems to be a lot of counseling and support groups for people who have to deal with loved ones who have lost their memories. We all love our brains and hope they continue to work significantly. I’m sure I’m not the only one that prays, please God, let me or my loved ones go before the memory or thought processes do.

I do take a lot of The Great Courses by the Teaching Company, and I think of them as mini-barbells for my brain. I’d like to tell you that I eat really healthy and drink no alcohol, but that wouldn’t be true. I guess the most any of us can do is exercise our brains as much as we can, do everything we can to protect our brains, and pray God let’s us keep our memories forever. I find reconnecting with Facebook friends extremely comforting because I realize before social media, there is no way I’d know what people from my past are doing. So thank you, Facebook for that. It triggers a lot of pleasant memories from the past.

Thank you all for stopping by, and you’ll have to excuse me while I go search for my keys. LOL!




4 Responses to “What’s up with memory–one of our most precious gifts!”

  1. Shel says:

    Oh i loved this.. Know and remember so many of those “kids”.. love you Bren.. Shell..

  2. Thanks and right back atcha’ Shel. Our childhood friends are just so important a part of our memories, and still make our lives richer for having known them.

  3. Rosemarie Kelly-Cunningham says:

    You are so right Brenda, memory is one of our most precious gifts. Keeping alert, reading, working, discovering life in all of its dimensions, keeps us healthy in mind and spirit. Love touching base with my old friends as it triggers memories from the past and helps keep us in tune with the present. God bless our minds and memories!

  4. Rosemarie, I think you’re a great example of someone who embraces the present, reveres the past, and looks forward to the future. I always think of you as a role model.

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