Last updateWed, 01 Apr 2020 1pm

The Way It Used To Be: We forgot to remember

Reprinted from September 1999

I’ve decided the two most frequently used phrases after you reach 50 are, “Do you remember when?”  and “Don’t forget to remind me to…” Somewhere in time and age there is so much to remember from the past and so many things going on we can’t seem to remember to do what we wanted to do.

It starts in the mornings when Chip picks me up for work. I tell him, “Don’t forget, we have to have stamps today so go by the post office on the way.” He mumbles something and I say, “And we need change, so let’s go by the bank.” Another mumble. He says, “You forgot to tell me the car needed gas.” I mumble something, after all I have things of my own to remember. After we get gas he said, “I have to go by the cleaners. They called me about some items I’ve had there three weeks and forgot about.”

We drive along chatting about the affairs of the day. The school shootings and politics. We have a lively discussion.

After we leave the cleaners we decide to stop at the office supply since we both recalled our fax machine had been without a cartridge for four days. The reason we remembered now is because an employee called us both at home to remind us that morning. Once we got into the office supply, we found we needed everything we’d forgotten to remind each other to buy in the past few weeks. By the time we left, it was getting on into morning, but we wanted to stop at the grocery store and pick up lunch items since we don’t go out for lunch. They were having some sales and I picked up laundry soap and things that could be left in the car all day. I had $79, or so in grocery items.

As we were driving away from the grocery store Chip said, “What did you get for lunch?” I took a deep breath and said, “Uh, you know nothing looked very good. I thought we’d get by with Kentucky Fried Chicken or tacos.” He looked very bored. 

We parked in the lot and came in the store and there was a message on the answering machine that we’d forgotten to pick up photos left at the drug store. I made a mental note to do that. As we opened, I said to Chip, “You know we forgot to get the stamps.” He nodded, “And you know what else? You forgot to tell me to stop by the bank and get change.”  We both shrugged.

It wasn’t’ long before we got a phone call from a customer with a repair job at our store who politely asked whether his watch was ready. Chip scrambled to justify the delay, but as he hung up he said, “You know what? I flat forgot about that watch.” I saw him fire off a fax after he put the cartridge we’d finally remembered to buy in the fax machine. He looked out of the office and said, “We are almost out of fax and copy paper, don’t forget to put that on the list.” The list we both discuss is a mental list. Obviously if one has a written list, one must remember where it is and to add needed items on it and we both figure we don’t need it.                 

We write birthdays and anniversaries on the calendar so we’ll remember, but everyday things should be trusted to memory. With two of us reminding each other to remember, it should not be a problem. 

Later in the day my CPA called and said that she’d be by to pick up the figures for the month and end of quarter. I was astonished she expected them to be ready that day. I’d have to get right on it. I think I said something to Chip. If I could take care of this book work, the least he could do would be to remind me. 

Some customer came in and we chatted and reminisced about the good old days and he said, “Do you remember when there was a jewelry store downtown by that old movie theatre?” I didn’t. I asked him if he remembered when we’d been engaged in a government concession on a military base - he didn’t. I had to think his memory was bad because he had done business with us then. 

I typed up some statements I’d set aside and forgotten about for a few days, but then discovered we didn’t have any first class stamps. As the day wore on, I had to take a $20 bill a couple of times and get change at one of the stores in the center who evidently also forgot their change sometimes and got it from me. 

Some woman came in wanting a specific watch. It is a very popular seller and she’d been in before and told me to call her when I got it in. Of course I had never gotten around to ordering it in the first place, but told her to come back in about two weeks. I was happy we’d remembered to get the fax cartridge so I could get it ordered right then. 

About that time, the CPA arrived and the figures were not ready yet. She smiled and we agreed I’d take them by her house later. About 2 pm Chip complained he was hungry and reminded me we hadn’t eaten. The employees eat on a schedule, but we eat when we remember and in between customers. I remember as I went to get lunch from the Mexican restaurant in our center to take a $20 bill so we’d have change.

I’d meant to listen to the 2 pm stock market reports, but it slipped my mind. When the postman came, he brought back a letter, which was mailed without a stamp. No one admitted to this, all believing the stamp fell off.

As we set the alarm and departed, Chip said, “I think I need gas.” I reminded him we’d taken care of that this morning. He looked thoughtful and agreed, adding, “morning was so long ago I forgot.” I nodded sympathetically. “Tomorrow we need to pick up change and go by the post office to get stamps,” Chip mumbled. Somehow I thought, “I know I’ll recall this tomorrow morning.” On the way home Chip and I enjoyed a lively discussion on politics and school shootings and we tuned in to the market reports.

Tomorrow will be another day and I am positive we’ll remember to get everything done!

I was thinking about what was on the menu for dinner when I recalled the books and the CPA. I thought about it and resolved to set the alarm early so I could get them to her before 9 am. I called Chip and told him to call me at 6 am to remind me. I know he’ll remember.