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At Least 60 Things I’ve Known

April 11, 2015

At Least 60 Things I’ve Known

So you’re a 60 something person struggling with technology or to bring a friend’s name to the brain or finding yourself calling your dog or cat by a prior dog or cat’s name—for the third time in one day.

So what. So you forget a few things.P1050695

These are the things that I have crammed into my brain from since approximately the age of two.

  1. Which shoe goes on which foot, and in general, right from left.
  2. How to get peas on a spoon.
  3. Your childhood telephone number, which in my case was 838-J. Yes, I go back that far.
  4. How and when to say please and thank you.
  5. How to count to 100 and onward.
  6. How to count backwards from 100.
  7. My ABC’s and eventually, in Spanish.
  8. The multiplication tables.
  9. How to do long division.
  10. The notes and names of the musical scale.
  11. My social security number.
  12. The zip codes for all the places I’ve ever lived, plus for some of my relatives.
  13. How to conjugate Spanish verbs, including the irregular ones.
  14. My husband’s social security number.
  15. My daughters’ social security numbers, which I knew for many years but thankfully don’t have to keep up with any longer.
  16. The names of everyone in my fourth grade class, most of which I can still remember.P1030057
  17. The names of the five Great Lakes in or bordering the U.S.
  18. The names of everyone in my freshman class in high school, of which I forget a few.
  19. The names of everyone living on my freshman hall in college, whose names I mostly now forget.
  20. The cell phone numbers of all my immediate family. The phone numbers of my mother, my husband’s brothers, and my one sister. The others have changed their numbers too often for me to remember.
  21. Passwords on my work computer.
  22. How to use Word Perfect, Excel spreadsheets (kind of), Microsoft Word, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (kind of), Instagram (hardly there yet).
  23. The names of every pastor I’ve ever had, and most of the people in the churches where I’ve been a member.
  24. My most recent pastor’s address and phone number.
  25. The names of my husband’s friends, my children’s friends, their spouses, their in-laws.
  26. The names of my doctors, (and know the phone numbers for some).
  27. How many surgeries I’ve had and the approximate dates of hospitalization, plus those of my children.
  28. How many states I’ve been to.
  29. The names of the countries I’ve visited.
  30. The names of all my nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, steps and if pushed, the great steps and more.
  31. The makes of all the vehicles my husband and I have owned.
  32. Countless novels, poems, characters, and writers from my studies as an English major in college. Ok, I crammed them in my brain once, I didn’t say they are still there.
  33. The names of all the presidents of the United States. Oh, wait, I never learned them, but my children all have it down, compliments of the old Animaniac song “George Washington was first you see, he once chopped down a cherry tree…” (to the tune of the William Tell Overture). Why couldn’t that song been around when I was young enough to have learned it!
  34. 300 Bible verses memorized for Bible Memory Camp, a program which was around when I was young enough to learn them.
  35. Most of the abbreviations on the periodic table of elements. (Of course now there’s a song for that too.)
  36. Nursery rhymes.
  37. Songs learned in my childhood from dime store 45 rpm records Mom brought us every week when she bribed us to stay home with Grandpa and Grandma at our house so she could sneak off to town by herself. Now I understand the bribe.
  38. How to play piano. Somewhat.
  39. The names of most instruments in a typical orchestra or symphony.
  40. What I planted in the garden last year (ok, that is only with the help of a gardening journal).
  41. P1050925Names of dozens of flowers, trees and shrubs. Not nearly as much as some people know, but, some.
  42. How to fold contour sheets so they look neat in a cupboard.
  43. SAT verbal analogy questions like: crumb is to bread as splinter is to wood.
  44. The yearly deadline for FAFSA student aid (and if you don’t think that’s important or easy to overlook, you haven’t put three kids through college).
  45. How to pant properly through a contraction.
  46. How to do a down-dog, plank, lunge or child’s pose.
  47. How to write a book.
  48. How to write a script for a TV documentary.
  49. How to produce a radio program.
  50. How to edit a magazine.
  51. How to write a news article, a feature, a tweet.
  52. How to make change.
  53. How to pump up a resume without lying.
  54. Names of all my aunts and uncles on both sides and at least the first cousins.
  55. Names of all my spouses’ aunts and uncles on both sides and at least the first cousins.


    Photo by the late Polly Fryecousins.

  56. Birthdays.
  57. How to sew a dress, skirt, blouse, jacket, slacks.
  58. How to raise bread—without stopping to read all the directions.
  59. The words and tunes for many many beloved hymns.
  60. Finally, I’ve learned that you no longer need to really memorize most of this stuff when you have a smart phone and Google at your fingertips.

I hope my list brought to mind many of the great and silly and important things we cram into our brains over the years. And we can’t purchase and install a bigger memory card.

It is no wonder we can’t remember them all, or I forget my boss’s wife’s name when trying to introduce her to someone!

What have I forgotten to put on this list?
What comes to mind for your list?

  1. I try not to stuff my mind with too much trivia. That’s what sticky notes are for – ha! My brother is a savant with numbers; he can remember our previous Florida phone number. I think he also remembers the Longenecker Farm Supply number, which has been defunct for decades.

    Yes, I’m impressed with your examples. I would have had to have help compiling such a list. Brava to you, Melodie!

    • Isn’t it interesting what numbers stick sometimes (and yes, sticky notes are the staff of life.) But I imagine you know the names of thousands of school children and many many additional examples, when you start to list them. This was the most fun blog I’m put together in awhile, and they say if it’s not fun/interesting for you it’s not fun for the readers. Hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

      • Absolutely! I especially liked # 45 and 53. And I’ll have to listen to # 35. I just attended Grandparents Day at two of our grandkids’ school, and we were invited to a science lab with demonstrations of rocks with references to the periodic table.

  2. Athanasia permalink

    1) How to tune a guitar
    2) How to use a card catalogue with actual cards
    3) How to thread a sewing machine
    4) How to darn socks
    5) How to cook without a recipe
    6) How to work with fractions and alter recipes
    7) How to use note cards to take notes and assemble a term paper, put in footnotes, the proper use of op cit and ibid, type with a carbon in and make a bibliography.

    8) How to put a penny on a train track and wait for it to be flattened
    9) How to set up the quilting frame and get the the layer put in ready for quilting
    10) How to mix, bake, cool and remove an Angel food cake from its pan, intact, not from a box
    These are all things I learned before I was eighteen and started college.

    Also, many of the same / similar things as your list. Not, however, 46-51 and a couple others.
    It was a fun list. I remember having a really hard time learning how to tell time on the clock.

    • Athanasia, what great additions! I like your #8 for whimsical. I do not know how to do 9 and 10, or #4. I should have put “how to tell time” on the list, for sure. The fact that yours are all before you started college is excellent–especially the quilting prep. Thanks for expanding the list so wonderfully. 🙂

  3. Wow, Melodie, that’s a long list! Fun! May you always keep learning! I would be challenged to do my own, but you reminded me of some of the facts that stuck and some that didn’t.

    Isn’t it fascinating to see what is on both lists? Might be fun to try Things I’ve Forgotten next. 🙂

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