SUMMER IS FULL of visits and reunions of one sort or another. How do we keep track of everyone’s name? In the olden, golden days people called each other by their surnames. The elders in my family still call their friends of 50+ years Mr. Jones or Mrs. Smith. That could be the solution; however, surnames are not necessar- ily a constant—Mrs. Jones (10 years), Mrs. Smith (12 years), Mrs. Rogers (presently). Worse yet are the names I NEVER learned. You know, Sue’s mom. What do I do when Sue is 30 years old and her Mom is standing in front of me, hand extended in greeting?
Don’t panic. She probably knows me too, as Katie and/or David’s Mom. I try to redeem the situation by saying things like, “Sue must be enjoying her new job,” hoping, of course, that Sue has not married or become a partner in a firm that has her name in bold letters on the door. All three of those things are not likely to happen at once—just so I can pick up on her name. And if it did happen, it would be a bit odd to call Sue’s mom, Mrs… if she, in fact, still has the same surname.
We are not good at admitting we don’t know. Some of us feel ashamed not recalling names. But, I can assure you in 60 years it won’t matter. My aged clients don’t seem to mind not knowing. By then, people seem much more forgiving about forgotten names, or perhaps, we will grow more forgiving of ourselves for our slips in memory.
I suggest three ways to recall names.
Renew your sight. Before an event, review yearbooks and old photographs to make con- nections as to who’s who.
Revive your hearing. Before an occasion, call people and catch up on news of where who went where.
Use Facebook to make connections and help with recollections.
Above all, concentrate on what you do recall and don’t panic about what has gotten away from you.
Renewing ties in itself will help with reviving memory. Maybe it’s time to reintroduce your- self, not as someone’s child, parent, spouse or employee of… but yourself. Hello, “I’m so glad to see you.”