Wednesday, July 8, 2020


My landscapers are coming tomorrow.  They've been coming every month for three years.  It's always the same guys.  They've told me their names a dozen times.  The answers don't seem to stick.

I knew the name of my favorite waitress at Ghini's; her male counterpart remains a mystery even after ten years of tuna fish sandwiches.  

First Watch and Margie go together like the roast beef and havarti on toasted bread without cheese crust she brings me without my having to ask.  Why her name has stuck in my feeble brain when the delightful hostess at Grumpy's, our around the corner, neighborhood dive, has never made it into my permanent memory bank?

TBG is worse than I am.  When we lived in Chicago we had an ongoing laugh over his Beth Who???, in response to any comment about our friend Beth, a woman we saw on a fairly regular basis.  He uses mnemonics to help. Although George Washington and Martha reminds me of the couple he references, their real names are Al and Sally.  He has no clue.

He's made a point of learning the names of the obscure character actors who reappear in the old movies we love.  Ian Hunter.  Ann Sheridan.  Eugene Pallette.  Gail Patrick.  He recognizes and names them all.  

But the mail carrier who hand delivers our stuff when the mailbox gets full, to be sure we're just lazy and not in need - no idea at all.

Ann Landers wrote that repeating the name 3 times sets it firmly in your brain.  I tried that for a while.  My brain must not be wired like hers was.

But the best name story happened in my house, when TBG and I hosted a holiday gathering for the hundred or so people in his department, inviting all those he'd hired and their families. There were a lot of them.  I approached one young family member with an outstretched hand, introduced myself, and apologized for forgetting her name, if we'd met before.

Oh, yes,  we have met before.  Seven times.  We met at.... and.... and....

And so it went, a list of the seven times she'd told me her name.  By the 4th instance, I was ready to douse her with my drink.  At the end, to her self-satisfied and smug face, I smiled and said I'm glad to meet you for the 8th time and walked away, wondering why she thought snarking off to the boss's wife was a good idea.

Still, it makes for a good story when I've embarrassed myself by not remembering Beth Who?????


  1. I have notes on my phone telling me the names of the people in my condo building, and the family information--like spouse and children's names of some people I regularly interact with. It helps a lot.

    1. What a great idea! I'm stealing it... adding where the kids are in school.

  2. Before the plague, our street had weekly happy hours. The woman who organized it insisted on name tags for everyone, which was a good idea. After two years I still refer to people by their landscaping, i.e. the guy with the really tall palm tree. It's just sad.

    1. I love name tags. In their absence, "the woman with the two teeny dogs" works for me.


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