Herald and Journal Herald & Journal, April 24, 2000

Never forget a face, just names


I'm so embarrassed! Someone came up to me the other day, we talked for awhile, and she said, "Why don't you call me?"

I whipped out a piece of paper and asked her to write her name and phone number for me because I always forget to call people, and this will jog my memory.

The truth is, I couldn't remember her name.

More than once a week, I have to do this, because while I don't forget faces, I just can't put names to them.

About 100 years ago (I'm really old. I just look good for my age, I think.), I was in a hospital bed in St. Cloud with my face packed in ice. I just had wisdom teeth cut out.

Across my swollen line of vision walked this lady. She was visiting the little old lady on the other side of my curtain.

She peeked around the corner of the curtain and said, "You're Andrea Vargo."

Without even thinking, I mumbled, "You're Danny the Doberman."


Well, I was a professional dog obedience trainer for about 17 years. I trained for the fledgling Granite City Kennel Club for a while, and this lady and her Doberman Pinscher, Danny, were in one of my classes. I hardly ever forget a dog's name.

I was so embarrassed, but the lady thought it was so incredible that I remembered the name of her beloved dog.

"How's your son doing?" I asked. Of course, I couldn't remember his name, but she was impressed that after five years I remembered her son had been sick. I'm so good at covering up my failings.

Well, not really.

One day, someone asked me about my sister, who lives in Colorado Springs.

She is travel editor for the Gazette, and this gentleman wanted to know her name and e-mail address.

"Just a minute. It will come to me. I've known her for a long time. Uh . . . . Linda. That's it," I said.

I got kind of a strange look, but I'm used to those.

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