“Whoever snatched my formerly reliable, sharp short-term memory: I’d like it back now, please.”
Last night it poured. I fell asleep to the pounding on my roof and to the tremendous wind. It truly howled. This morning I woke to another dark, rainy day. It will be warm. Right now it is 49˚. The low will be 40˚. Winter has gone on hiatus for a few days.
When I was a kid, I did my homework at the kitchen table every day. I remember memorizing the times tables, spelling words and the Baltimore Catechism. “Who made you?” “God made me.” Questions and their answers from that catechism are still lingering, unused and unneeded, in my memory drawers, but the times tables and spelling words are part of my every day. Sometimes I had to do written homework, often worksheets. Mostly they were arithmetic lessons. The one I remember the most was a sheet to practice using coins. I had to add or subtract nickles, dimes or quarters.
I was never good at numbers. I used to hide my fingers under my desk so I could count. The nuns kept sharp eyes for finger counters so I had to be sly. The spelling words were easy. Every week I had to learn 20 new words for a test on Friday. I think I always got a 100, not a boast but evidence of a good memory. If I spelled the words out loud a few times, I learned them. My memory always saved me. That’s not so true anymore. As I get older, pulling answers from memory drawers gets more and more difficult because I can’t find them, but I have learned to compensate. I use my mother’s technique of going through the alphabet a letter at a time hoping one will jog my memory. I also use mnemonics. The funny thing is that often out of nowhere the answer jumps unexpectedly into my head long after I had searched for it. I hate not finding it, but I get comfort knowing the answers are still there.