Brain can work in mysterious ways

Writing a daily column in the Herald Sun for nearly a decade, the phone regularly rang hot. Most were new callers responding to items in that day’s column, but I also had several regulars.

One caller who resonated was a nurse.

“I work in a ward with elderly people suffering from dementia,” she said. “I read your column to them every morning, and you know, they can talk for an hour relating memories about something you wrote about, like your mention yesterday of the bell above the door in milk bars. But they couldn’t tell you what they had for breakfast.”

It’s funny how the mind works.

One gentleman rang once or twice every week to tell me the same story.

I’d always listen and never say anything, but one day, after four or five years of this, I said: “Glynn, do you realise you told me that story yesterday?”

“Did I?” he replied, and then he immediately started another story.

He told me this new story every week for several years until one day he stopped calling.

***

How many of these things can you remember, and can you add to this list?

Kids used to be given Hypol every day because it was good for them.

A car’s high beam button was located on the floor and you pressed it with your foot.

Shops sold bags of broken biscuits.

You’d take saucepans to collect your take-away Chinese food order.

Kids would roll Jaffas down the aisles at cinemas.

Cinemas were put in carpet so kids couldn’t roll Jaffas down the aisles.

You could buy cigarettes from the trolley lady at hospitals.

Cops would give bad kids a clip in the ear then send them on their way.

Bikes didn’t have gears.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut.

Staff in hardware stores wore grey dustcoats.

You had to get out of your chair to change the channel on your television.

You would darn holes in socks instead of throwing them out.

***

Campbell suffered a stroke while playing the 12th hole at his golf club about a year ago.

He survived and was eventually able to return to playing.

Now, every time he steps to the 12th tee, somebody in his group says: “Do you get a stroke here?” And Campbell laughs every time.

If you don’t get it, ask a golfer to explain it.

***

It’s interesting to look at our place names and research who, and sometimes what, they were named after. And it can be somewhat depressing.

Take Melbourne, for example. It was named after William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, who was a largely nondescript British Prime Minister in 1834 and again between 1835 and 1841.

He didn’t lead during any times of war or domestic strife, didn’t achieve anything grand and espoused no worthy principles. He was, however, kind and honest.

Don’t laugh if you’re from Sydney. Your city was named after Thomas Townshend 1st  Viscount Sydney, a British politician described by numerous historians as having talents that “scarcely rose above mediocrity” and being a cruel monster for dispatching convicts to the far side of the earth.

Do you have any stories to share with YourLifeChoices? Do you know any interesting characters? Do you have a milestone birthday or anniversary coming up? We’d like to hear from you. Email [email protected]

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