Tag Archive | Memory

Outdated files in my brain….

Mom, smile 3

photo by Susan Kauffmann

As I walked this morning, I noticed an orange peel on the sidewalk. The poem our first-grade class memorized immediately popped into my head.

‘Orange peel, banana peel, Lady falling on banana peel
Be careful where you throw it,
For folks slip into hospitals,
Before you even know it.’

Why, oh why do I still remember that silly thing when I couldn’t even remember to take my coffee mug with me to breakfast????

Coffee Mug

I missed my mug, it keeps coffee warmer

Wouldn’t it be better if my brain were filled with current issues instead of stacked with outdated files that could easily be deleted and not missed?

I don’t like it when I can’t recall names I know I know, or search for elusive words that used to be there. Yes, this happens to others too, but I don’t like it happening to me. Humor helps, and friends oblige by  sharing items they’ve received by email on the subject. I don’t know who thought this one up but although I don’t want to ever become senile, it’s worth a chuckle: The Senility Prayer: ‘God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.’

Getting older can be a nuisance. Everything takes longer. Tasks become more difficult and we require more patience. Well, after all what did you expect? Things change. Life is an adventure and a learning process, and old age, if we are lucky enough to achieve it, is part of the journey.

It would be great to become wiser as we age, but I doubt it actually happens. In the same way that education can’t change a stupid person into a smart one, aging can’t perform miracles either. Still, some of us are silly enough to believe we are wiser and have worthwhile advice for those who are younger, so here goes…

If I knew earlier what I know now, I wouldn’t have worried about so many things which, in the end, didn’t really matter. I assure you that years from now it won’t matter if you hate your haircut; ruined the big dinner; were late for work, your boss was cranky; your thighs are too fat or your waist too thick; or that your partner is fed up. In time, it really won’t matter.


Rafi in his baseball uniform

‘Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses.’ Years ago when my son Rafi played baseball, his coach taught me something I haven’t forgotten. Rafi, a strong, talented hitter, didn’t have speed. I thought I should get him to run faster. His coach suggested I forget speed and have Rafi practice hitting, which he already did well. Speed, he said, didn’t matter because when Rafi hit that ball way across the park, he had plenty of time to make his home run. So, focus on the skills and talents you already have and make them better.

I also had to learn I’m not the center of the universe. No one is watching me. As a teenager, I thought I was too fat to even own a bathing suit. I was sure everyone would stare if I dared appear in such a garment. Finally, as a young mother, I worked up the courage to wear one so I could take my child to the beach. The world didn’t stop turning. Nobody cared. They were busy doing their own thing.

Fat woman in bathing suit

A real woman at the beach

And if you don’t believe me, it won’t really matter either.


Getting old??? Who, me????

Muriel from BlogIn a “Fundraising for Non-Profits” class I took  a few years ago, I was the only gray-haired person in attendance. We discussed money and donations. During a chat with a fellow classmate I realized how much things have changed during my lifetime. I was describing to him how I used to prepare the payroll as a bookkeeper in the 1950s.

In the clothing manufacturing firm I worked for, salaries were paid in cash every Friday, sealed in separate little pay envelopes. It had to be figured out ahead of time, which meant deciding how much was earned either by the hour, or for piece work, or salary — depending on the employee. After deductions were made, I counted how many pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, one, two, five, ten or twenty dollar bills were required  and called the bank on Thursday to order it.

I counted the cash and filled the pay envelopes

I counted the cash and filled the pay envelopes

Come Friday, a trembling me walked over to the bank to pick up the cash, which was probably over $4,000 — a fortune to the scared 17-year-old I was then. The responsibility terrified me and I dreaded it. I saw thieves everywhere, studied every face, and clutched the bag full of cash close to my chest.

I was 17 and terrified someone would steal it from me

I was 17 and terrified someone would steal it from me

My boss had told me if anyone tried to take it from me, to just give it to them, that we were insured. But, that didn’t make it any easier. I would heave a huge sigh of relief each time I made it back to the office intact, where I carefully filled each envelope, wrote on the front of it the employee’s name and details of tax deductions, etc.

“How silly,” the young man exclaimed, “Why didn’t you just pay by cheque?”

“As a business, we had cheques, but the employees needed their money for the week-end, and most didn’t have chequing accounts anyway. I probably didn’t either.”

“Why couldn’t they just use their credit cards??” he asked, incredulous.

The first credit card was the Diners' Club

The first credit card was the Diners’ Club

“Because there weren’t any yet. I remember when credit cards first came out, the  first one was the Diner’s Club, sometime during the 1950s. And, it wasn’t easy to get and besides, it frightened us — we had never dealt with them before. Now, sometimes I think maybe we were right…

Maybe we were right..

Maybe we were right..

Of course, throughout this young man’s lifetime credit cards and cheques have always been available. People now buy what they want today and pay for it later. At that time, we paid for it first and then got it, either by saving up the amount we needed, or using the lay-a-way method — choosing the item and having the store hold it for us until it was fully paid for. We knew how to wait….

This conversation made me feel really old……

Well, I am getting old. I know because I have a child who is 50. I remember that I used to think 50 was ancient. When I turned 50,  daughter Susan, who has a sense of humour, could not imagine having a mother of 50. She searched high and low for a gift that would be older than me — and bought me a fossil. I’m getting ready to give it back to her when she reaches 50 — not that far off anymore. (Ah, revenge is sweet!!!)

I know I’m getting old when I am with family or friends and look around  and everyone is younger than I am. I mention names of movie stars and young people I’m talking to don’t know who they are. I hear on the news that famous contemporaries have died, and note that some of them were much younger than I am.

I can tell what the weather will be like by how much my knees ache. And although my children are extremely patient when I goof with my tenuous relationship with today’s technology, I wonder…. Would I be able to text? Would I be able to handle an I-Phone?

They laugh at my tenuous relationship with technology

I have a tenuous relationship with technology

(My son could not believe I was once trained as a radar technician. But that was eons ago and I was young enough to grasp and remember stuff like that without writing it down.)

These days I know the word I want but sometimes can’t retrieve it — seems like there are too many files floating around in my reluctant old brain. I get invited to more celebrations of life and funerals than I do to parties. I visit friends in hospital, and they’re not having babies.

I visit friends in hospital, and they're not having babies.

I visit friends in hospital, and they’re not having babies.

The professionals who handle my accounting or insurance needs are all kids — I remember when that wasn’t so.

My doctors get younger and younger and I seem to need them more often. My teeth have to be cleaned more than twice a year and I keep thinking how grateful I am to still have them.

Are they old enough to treat me and know what they are doing?????

Are they old enough to treat me and know what they are doing?????

Need I say more???