By Lisa Batten Kunkleman
My mother’s memory technique would never work in our house. She uses a kitchen table candy dish filled with dark chocolate Hershey Nuggets for more than maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. If she wants to remind herself to take the trash out to the street, she sets one nugget on the table. Since it’s out of place, in her ultra-organized house, she’ll see it and remember.
There’s no way a wandering piece of candy would work in our house. When our family visits Mom, we’ve ruined her system more than once by putting the candy back in the dish. Well, ok, fine. Sometimes we eat it. So we forget to remember her memory device.
Once when she was trying to remember the exterminator was coming, she said, “You just ate the bug man.” Then she flipped a coaster across the room to leave on the floor as her backup memory plan.
Back when I wore rings, before my menopausal, salt-sensitive fingers started swelling, I used to add my right-hand ring onto my left-hand wedding ring finger. The three ring circles were so annoying, I remembered unwritten items on my to-do list.
When I’m too lazy write a sticky-note, I use Mom’s method and put an item in a weird place as a memory nudge. For example, I might wonder, Why’s that nasty sneaker on my dresser? Oh, yeah. So I’ll take a walk. It has to be odd to stand out amidst the other out-of-place objects in our house.
I send myself an e-mail reminder, now and then. The problem with that is, my email in-box has 547 unopened emails so the hints the rest of the world already sent smother my reminders. Maybe I should use that reminder app on my phone. I forget to do that.
On a recent visit with Mom, when I spotted a drink coaster on the white carpet between her unoccupied, trendy leather recliner and the kitchen, I bent over to pick it up. A voice from the adjoining sunroom, said, “Don’t you move my coaster. Remember, tomorrow’s trash day.”
Looking up from her homemade drop-biscuit-strawberry shortcake, she grinned.
“Of course it is. Silly me. Maybe I’ll have a nugget since you’ve switched to coasters.”