Aging Well in the Gorge February 12th 2020


How many times have you felt embarrassed because you’d just met someone and a day latter you could not remember their name no matter how hard you tried? Don’t worry, it happens to folks of all ages. The good news is there are tricks you can use to improve your ability to remember names.

1. The first trick is the foundation of all memory: focus. You can’t remember anything if you don’t first encode it in your brain by paying attention. With names it can be particularly difficult when you meet someone for the first time: you may be anxious or thinking of what to say next instead of focusing on the person’s name.

2. Repetition. When you meet someone use their name in the first words of your conversation. And then repeat their name several times in the conversation. Try “Hello Betty, it’s very nice to meet you Betty. Now, Betty, how long have you worked there?” You’ll just have to explain that you may sound like a dork, but they’re so important you really want to remember their name.

3. Use your other senses. See their name by writing it out in order to utilize your visual memory. By using different senses, it will improve your ability to remember. The smell of fresh bread or a particular song can flood me with forgotten memories.

4. Make associations. Associate their name to a physical or personal characteristic. You might also try alliteration such as “Dollar Dave” or Big Bertha (or maybe not!). Or in my case I used rhyming words when I met Doreen in college. I can still remember her name by thinking of “Boring Doreen” - and she wasn’t boring at all. But it worked.

5. Create cues. The more you work at remembering a name, the sooner you will be able to recall it. For example, try creating cues. Make a list of the people in your book club and review it until you have all the names memorized.

By using these five tricks, you can improve your ability to remember names. Then you’ll be able to impress your new friends by remembering their names as they stammer trying to recall yours!

The program for the 2020 Original Courthouse Regional History Forum on Saturday February 15th is “Rufus and the Army Camp that Helped End World War II”. Cal McDermid, director of Fort Dalles Museum and a Sherman County native, explores the unique settlement in Old Wasco and later Sherman County, and the role of Camp Rufus in developing technology for bridging the Rhine.

Clarification from last week. I became aware that in addition to conducting the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau conducts over 100 surveys throughout the country - some of which includes visiting households. So, there is the chance you may be visited by someone from the Census Bureau before April 1st collecting information for one of the other Census Bureau surveys. Still in this day of scams and scammers it is good to be cautious. If anything feels suspicious and you want to verify if the worker or even a mailed survey is legitimate, call 301-763-INFO (4636), 800-923-8282 or the Regional office in California at 213-314-6500; or go online at www.ask.census.gov.

Sawyer’s TrueValue was located where the St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store is today and where Sawyer’s Ace Hardware and Rental is now (they changed from TrueValue to Ace Hardware in 2018) was previously the site for Safeway. I received correct answers from John Huteson, Cheri Brent, Laura Comini, Lana Tepfer, Ronda Spies, Ron Nelson, Jeanne Pesicka, Virginia Johnson and Mary Ann Hass this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Most of you probably remember the old school desks bolted to the floor with a writing table you could open so you could cram your books and papers inside. And a pencil/pen slot carved along the front edge of the top with a two-inch diameter hole in the front right corner. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was that hole once used for?  Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop off your answer scratched in the top of an Antique Vintage Industrial Double School Desk - which will set you back only $165.

Well, it’s been another week trying to keep it straight and narrow. Until we meet again, as Ernie Sillwell told me “You don’t miss what you haven’t seen”.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet that clings fast to the heel that crushed it.” George Roemish from his poem “Forgiveness”

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