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5 February 2006
That was the phone number of our house all the years when I was growing up. Those were the days before we went to an all-numerical telephone numbering system and we had cool exchanges like PRospect and KLondike and JUniper. (Remember PEnnsylvania 6-5000?) We were PRospect 5-****.
Until a year or so ago, my friend Char was living in her parents' house, helping care for her father and then for her mother. Though their phone number had long since become listed using all numbers, I continued to use the JUniper exchange instead of "58." In fact, I can't remember the number if I start with "58," but can remember if I start with JUniper.
(Come to think of it, how come I have Char's mother's phone number memorized?)
It's funny how things stick with you.
We lived in a house in Albany (next door to Berkeley) for a year, and in our house in Oakland for several years and I couldn't tell you what the telephone numbers for either house was, but I can still remember PRospect 5-****, though I moved out of that house when I was 18!
Likewise, I have trouble remembering our license plate number today, but the car my parents had when I was born was 6B 68280 and when they bought a new car it was 4A 67858.
I remember that October 24 is the birthdate of a guy I worked for for 3 months when I was in high school.
People talk about the necessity of never giving your Social Security card to anyone, or leaving it where someone might be able to find it. Heck, I got my Social Security card when I turned 13 and I don't think I've ever had a replacement card. I might have received a new card when I married and changed my name, but I misplaced it decades ago, but have no problem remembering my Social Security number.
I had a boyfriend for one year, my last year in high school, and I still remember that his address was 1038 G...... St. (I won't print the name of the street, but I do remember it, though I never visited the house and never sent him anything! ), yet I have to look up just about every address of every friend I have now because I don't remember any of them.
When I was pregnant with Jeri and seeing a doctor frequently, I had to give my Kaiser medical number so often that I memorized it. I still know it, though now they have to add two zeros in front of the number since I've had it so long and the new patients coming into the system have such high numbers.
The workings of the human mind fascinate me. We all know that we begin to forget things as we get older, but as I age, I am fascinated to discover what I retain and what I lose. It amazes me that I don't know the license number of the car I drive every day, but remember the license plate number of a car my parents got rid of when I was in grammar school.
I don't understand why I have to look up Walt's office telephone number, but can rattle off the telephone number of the house in which I grew up without batting an eyelash, though my parents moved out of that house over 30 years ago.
I wouldn't be able to tell you my own cell phone number except that I devised a mnemonic which involves only recalling two numbers rather than the full 10 numbers. It's quite easy (well, for me!). It starts with our area code. There is only one area code in this area at this time, though eventually I'm sure we will have to expand. But for now, we all have the same area code, so I don't really have to think about remembering that. Then all cell phone numbers from this cell phone company have the same starting three numbers.
Then it gets tricky. And esoteric.
Years ago, Walt's friend Dick told him that the group at his office had been sitting around one day with nothing better to do than to count how many ways they could think of to kill a person. Some of them were pretty silly, but #63 was flushing the person down the toilet.
Being young and silly ourselves, "63" became part of our lexicon. All we had to do was to say "63" in certain circles and we all knew that we were thinking of flushing a certain person or thing down the toilet.
So "63" is the next part of my cell phone number. So really, all I have to do is remember the last two numbers. I know the area code, the exchange, 63 and then the last two numbers. Voilą! My cell phone number.
I am probably past the age where numbers are going to burn themselves forever into my brain any more, so I'm left with these few numbers that I seem unable to forget.
I should call PR 5-****.
some day and see who answers.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Photo by Claire Amy Atkins