Monday, January 25, 2010

Early onset dementia?

Ever since I have been active on Fac.ebo.ok the past year or so, I have noticed that I can't seem to remember many people from my hometown. It's almost like I've blocked out a significant portion of my years there. I'm not sure if this is common or not, but I am a little bothered by it.

As I may have mentioned before, my sister V and I grew up in a small town. Our four-year high school had only about 350 students total, and my graduating class was 69 people. Because there was little industry in the town where we lived, not a lot of people moved in or out. Sure, occasionally someone moved away (and I envied them!) or someone new moved to town (always an event), but for the most part, I went to school with the same people K-12. We moved there when I was 5, and my dad lived there until I was 19, so I spent essentially my entire childhood there.

Given the size of our hometown and the relative stability of its population, you would think that I would clearly remember everyone I knew there. . . . but this is not the case. On more than a few occasions, I have received a friend request from someone, or seen a name on someone else's friend list, and had to email V to see if she knew who the person was. Even more concerning: V usually knows who these people are, even though she is two years younger than I, with only a couple of exceptions.

Most recently, I've felt bad because there have been a lot of posts by classmates of mine about a man whose name I recognize as a high school classmate (or maybe from the class a year after me). "JS" is apparently fighting cancer--and may have died, based on someone's cryptic status update yesterday--and I have no memory of him beyond his name sounding familiar. I couldn't tell you what he looked like, what his personality was like, or any shared experience he and I had.

Why is it that I can remember the telephone number of the boy I liked in junior high school and just about every mean thing anyone did to me in my hometown, but I cannot remember anything but JS's name?

While "chatting" with a high school classmate on Fac.ebo.ok last week, she was referencing people I did not remember at all, who were apparently just one year ahead of me. In that instance, not only could I not retrieve any concrete memories of the person--as with JS--I couldn't even really remember the name.

I'd like to think that I can't recall these mostly irrelevant facts because my brain is so filled with other good stuff, but I am a little concerned that my memory is failing me at age 38.


Flying Monkeys said...

I've experienced the same thing. People know me, like remember specific things we did and I can't pull it out to save my life. I think it's all the booze I drank and experimenting I did in college.