June 18, 2018


Hershey Nuggets: A surprising Memory Aid

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.”




22 thoughts on “Hershey Nuggets: A surprising Memory Aid

  1. Very unique blog and I love your writing style! ! I love the different ways you suggest to help one remember things. For me, I just use a traditional To-Do List.

  2. I know there was something I was supposed to do today, but I didn’t write it on a scrap of paper last night, or leave my checkbook on the bench in the closet, or even on the stairs… good thing I text everyone so I can look back there.

  3. That is really cool. Your mother is a smart cookie!

  4. Personally, I love the way your Mother uses various memory prompts. Apparently, a list (too many items) doesn’t work for her, and she would probably never place it out in the open where it might appear as clutter to her. The chocolate doesn’t stress her too much, and can instantly bring a memory back, reward the remembering, and the doing of the thing while enjoying a treat. The coaster may be a bit off-putting to some, but the forgetting of what is forgotten is much worse. I pray your Mother never has to go there!

    • Thanks so much for writing such a lovely comment. I pray that she never goes there either. Nor us, you and I. Mom was caregiver to both her mother and my father after that. She must decide daily to live fully and remember all she can. As long as she lives.

  5. This method could never work for us as neither of us would notice the out of place object and we would just be searching for it when we needed it. Perhaps we need a way more orderly backdrop for this system to work haha.

    What we do is we have one wall in our kitchen which is a chalkboard and we write lists there which we take photos of with our phone for shopping purposes or other. If we run out of space we use our doors as chalkboards too as they are plain wood.


  6. LOL! Hey whatever works, I love it! 🙂 Perhaps that is what I need to do, the only problem is I would probably stare at it thinking why on earth did one of my kids put that shoe there?? 🙂
    Oh and I am the same as you with unopened emails in my inbox. Why I don’t just delete past the spam ones instead of just leaving them sit, I don’t know!

  7. I had to have a blood draw this morning before I ate anything. Since I eat breakfast on auto pilot, the only way I could be sure to remember was to leave an empty bread wrapper by the toaster. I of course couldn’t understand why I hadn’t replaced the loaf, but then I did remember to get my blood drawn. The other day I moved a piece of wood from the front yard, but not before worrying that my husband might have left it as a reminder of something. Fortunately no. He couldn’t remember why he had left it there!

  8. That’s a clever way to remind oneself– never heard of that one. I write endless lists, lose them, forget to check them, etc. But chocolate would be eaten way too quickly to serve as a memory device!

  9. Can I just say I flat-out LOVE your mom??? Also I keep Werther’s (sugarless) hard candies in my desk. Glad you found me so I could find YOU!

  10. Sweet reminders, indeed! Would not work in my house… but what a great idea, otherwise. Coasters should work better…I suppose. 🙂

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