Remembering What You Forget

A friend of mine was traveling to Los Angeles and asked me for the name of a restaurant I always raved about.

I could see the small space.

I pictured the sidewalk and the arch covered with bougainvillea.

I knew she should order the huevos rancheros or the steel-cut oatmeal (but not the buckwheat pancakes).  This is one of my favorite breakfast spots in Southern California and despite its location on a four-lane street in Santa Monica, it's charming.

She simply HAD to visit this cafe. If only I could remember the name.

It's a grey building, on the West side of Ocean Avenue. Um.... Give me second to think...

Nope.  Not pulling it up. Ugh.

If you're over 40, you have had a similar experience where details around familiar things are fading away.                Please tell me you have had this experience.

No one has captured this slipping away feeling better than the Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.  (Side note: if you are looking for a great book for your literary friends, definitely pick up one of his volumes of poetry!)  In the poem below he puts words around the fading memories we all have and in some way, it's strangely comforting.

Enjoy his amazing piece of writing...



The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

I eventually recalled that Cora's Coffee Shoppe is where all LA-bound friends should eat.

However, for all of the other faded memories, I hope they are enjoying the little fishing village in the southern hemisphere.