Janet has a remarkable memory for faces, especially if seen in a dramatic/musical context.  I'll never forget when she was 13 years old, and immediately recognized the new high school chorus intern years after seeing him perform—in a video, on a small-screen television, in a non-speaking part—in a college opera production.

My memory for faces is quite the opposite.  I have a hard time recognizing good friends out of context!  What I've seen in print, however, is another story. 

A friend is looking forward to raising chickens, and on her blog mentioned her plans for acquiring buff orpingtons.  "Buff orpingtons"?  I know nothing about chickens other than a few good recipes, but as soon as I read her page I remembered the only other place I'd heard the term:  Dorothy Sayer's Busman's Honeymoon.  They play no role at all in the mystery, so there's no reason in particular I should have remembered them.

Last night we attended a Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra concert.  The first work was a beautiful modern piece called Musica Celestis, written by Aaron Jay Kernis; the last, Beethoven's Third Symphony.  In between we heard Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, featuring a cellist born in 1980 playing a cello born in 1790.  Both were delightful.  The cello was a Lorenzo Ventapane; the musician Julie Albers.

I recognized her name as soon as I saw it.  But why?  My first thoughts went down the logical trail of someone Janet knew at Eastman, but reading her biography squashed that idea.  When I learned she was from Longmont, Colorado, however, the mystery was solved.

Many years ago I discovered a book, by Robert Leland Johnson, called Super Babies.  It is the story of the first few years in the life of his son, Anthony—once a sickly, premature infant, now an MIT graduate.  At the very end of the book (1979), Anthony begins to take Suzuki violin lessons.  This morning I pulled the book off my shelves and quickly confirmed that his teacher had been a woman named Ellie Albers, of Longmont, Colorado.  Can anyone doubt my conclusion that Julie is her daughter?

Memory is an amazing thing.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 8:02 am | Edit
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It sure is! It is so easy to recognize a face. They are so unique and interesting and hold so much expression of personality, but what's in a name? Random syllables. I need to hear people and place names over and over before they stick. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but I'd rather be able to actually remember what I read!

Posted by IrishOboe on Monday, February 26, 2007 at 5:18 am
I wish I could say that I remember what I read, but I can even enjoy re-reading mystery stories because I don't remember whodunit! Well, that's partly because I only re-read stories that are well-written, and so enjoy them even when I do know the murderer -- but often enough I really have forgotten. I have an almost photographic memory sometimes (though maybe that's the wrong term, since while I do often picture the page as it looked, at other times I "hear" the words in my mind), but it seems rather random.

Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 3:02 pm
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