I was listening to a random conversation the other day where someone commented on the horrendous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911… suddenly I was reminded of a conversation I had (as a teenager) with a young woman whose mother, as a young child, was one of the severely injured survivors ——and it truly bothers me that I cannot remember her name.
How many people have we come across in our lives who made enough impression on us to remember bits and pieces, and yet not all the information? Admittedly, she was only an acquaintance, we hadn't been hard and fast friends, and yet her words about her mother's scarring and terrible ordeal did leave a lasting impression somewhere in the back of my mind. I don't even remember how I met her, just that at one time we "hung out" together and talked… like friends.
I have childhood friends that I remember vividly (or so I believe), most of them are no longer in my life. I often wonder what happened to some. Why is it we seem to remember some people even though we haven't spoken to them in (in some cases) half a century? And why is it we forget others even when something sticks in the back of our minds, just waiting to spring open when we haven't thought of them in years? I am pleased to say that I do have some very long-term friends who are currently in my life and those friendships I will always treasure.
Novelist John Irving said,
"Just when you begin thinking of yourself as memorable,
you run into someone who can't even remember having met you."
I apologize to those folks that I don't "remember" — it's terrible to admit someone has been forgotten. (Yes, I am sure that I didn't remain memorable to some folks either.) And yet, do we ever really forget when just a simple, supposedly unrelated, phrase is uttered and suddenly the memories come flooding back, but not quite all the way.
Allegedly the average person meets around 80-thousand people in his lifetime. I guess it would be hard to keep track of all of them.