I’ve always had a phenomenally good memory, but only in a qualified sense.
Does anyone remember Marilu Henner, who, long ago, played Elaine Nardo, the art gallery employee on “Taxi”? She is purported to have a perfect autobiographical memory.
I appear to come quite close. Oddly, although I’m always forgetting where I most recently put my eyeglasses, keys, wristwatch, etc. , I seem to have quite an amazing memory to remember verbatim conversations, and all manner of arcane trivia, from decades in the past.
People are always passing comments about how exasperating it is that I can’t quite seem to remember to do the important chores, to run necessary errands, or otherwise to keep a promise, but I can always remember the times, in the tenth grade, when my theology teacher at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip told us that he’d never liked boiled hot dogs, and that his brother had a major foot problem. I haven’t lived in Jackson Heights, Queens, since September 11, 1971, five days before my twelfth birthday. My parents and I, during the first years of the twenty first century, went back to St. Gabriel’s, our old parish in East Elmhurst, for a couple of reunions. I attended grammar school there. Sister Catherine, of the Sisters of Charity, was on the faculty when I was there. At one of the reunions, I re introduced myself and explained to her that I thought I could remember that she was once named Sister Lawrence. She reacted with a stunned facial expression and replied: “Not since 1966!” Of course, I could come up with quite a large number of other similar incidents. I quite often enjoy shocking old friends, teachers, and classmates with these trips down memory lane. It would be nice, however, if I could as easily summon up the equivalent ability to remember to buy things I’ve run out of, to take out the garbage, and to meet whichever deadlines may arise in the here and now.