Memories are useful, as in …

✓ Remembering where you live,
✓ Remembering your boss’s name,
✓ Remembering how to drive your car in our wonderful WNY snow.

But sometimes your memory plays tricks on you or just fades away. It can leave you in a panic or embarrassed, as in…

✓ Where did you leave your car in the mall parking lot this time?
✓ Somebody “forgot” to inflate Tom Brady’s football.
✓ Or, a little less funny, retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre played 297 regular season games in a row and says he now suffers memory loss.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your memory worked like a high-tech blue-ray DVD recorder/player tucked right into your brain?

A perfect memory would be very nice. Just imagine how many arguments you could win, how many hours you could save looking for your keys and how much fun it would be to get 100% on every test you ever took. Scientists say real photographic memory is exceedingly rare.

I know at least one person I am sure does not have a photographic memory: me. As a matter of fact, I think I have an exceedingly good forgettery.
So, is there really a way to improve your memory?

Some people say eating berries, chewing gum and guzzling coffee are pure memory magic. But I don’t know if Raspberries, Juicy Fruit Gum and Maxwell House coffee are better than Goji Berries, Wintergreen and Tim Horton’s coffee. So I guess I will pass on that peculiar technique.

Real scientists, on the other hand, have been studying that question for a long time. Researchers at Harvard Medical School published a list of real methods that work. Here are two:

  1. Experience the thing. An experience is more than a thought. Use as many of your physical senses as you can – sight, sound, touch, taste and smell – and put them all together. Then add the emotions that go with it. Combine it all – facts and feelings – and you have a pretty good chance to make a “rememberable” experience.
  2. Repeat what you want to remember out loud. If you see it, say it. Then repeat it again. Somehow, hearing yourself say what you think helps make it a memory.

So this week your Jamestown Gazette invites you make some memories. Important memories that will matter. Your chance will come at high noon on Saturday, December 16.

Join in the Wreaths Around America commemoration in Soldiers Circle in the Lakeview Cemetery.

Place a wreath on a fallen soldier’s grave. You may feel the cold wind, sense the green wreath prickle on your skin, smell the sweet pine of the bows and see the cold, hard stone engraved with a name you’ll be asked to remember. Say it out loud.

It will be the name of a man or woman who once risked life and limb to save yours. Allow yourself to imagine, maybe even feel, some of the joys and sorrows of that lost life. It deserves to be remembered… and maybe you will.

Wreaths Around America will be an experience you are unlikely to forget.
Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.