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Over 60…And Getting Younger: September 18

Memory Pro and Con

I have always had a prodigious memory!

Sometimes it has been a boon and occasionally it has caused me embarrassment. I would never have been able to write this column “Over 60 and Getting Younger” for over 11 years without the aid of a huge recollection factor.

In dental school one of the earliest courses was human anatomy. The tests were called practicums and certan muscles and blood vessels were selected as questions on the cadavers. Because of my gift I could recall pictures in my mind. I did well in anatomy. I wish memory of pictures and facts could have helped me more in biochemistry, physiology and microbiology.

Pictures of my childhood keep playing themselves back to me. I remember my friend Marvin in a suit and tie walking on the football field at James Monroe High School to watch his pals play touch football when we were about 14 years old. Of course Marvin has no recollection of that day or that incident.

Let me tell you of a series of incidents that rattled me because of my memory. I would be walking somewhere in Manhattan with Lorraine, my beautiful wife, and I would see someone from my third- or fourth-grade class. I was in my 30s and I would approach them openly. “You are Ed Lewis and you were in my class at P.S. 50, with Mrs. Ahles and you sat in the third row behind me!” Ed Lewis would look me over quizzically and slowly start to move away from me. In a few seconds he was gone and I was left perplexed and standing there with my third-grade memories.

There you have it. A wonderful gift has both good and not-so-good aspects; of course my memory has faded a bit with old age, but flashes of pictures come back to me that I can’t control at odd times. But all in all I am thankful for this faculty. I love getting these startling pictures.