If memory serves ... umm, what was I just talking about?


I was recently conducting a rehearsal of our church orchestra and realized as I stood up to begin that I had forgotten to bring my conducting baton. I remembered that all my batons are on my conductor’s stand in my classroom at school. So I conducted the rehearsal baton-less, with hand alone.

Two days later, while looking for something else in one of my many teaching vocation boxes, I came across my batons. Only then did it again dawn on me that I am no longer working at the school, and all my school materials, including my batons, are here at home!

Although according to family lore I am allegedly related to Robert Koch, the famous German physician who was one of the founders of bacteriology and who discovered the anthrax disease cycle and the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis (I had to look this up because it has been eons since I was in a science class and learned about his contributions to medicine), I cannot lay claim to making such noteworthy and world-renowned discoveries as he did.

However, I can put forth the TKTOSD — the “T. Koch Theorem of Self-Discovery” — which states that getting into a retirement mode mentally after the day-to-day routines that ordered my life for over 45 years seems as if it will be an ongoing and perhaps not quickly attained process.

One would think that as a retiree I would have a better memory with “less to do” (HA HA!) and I would be able to call to mind things more easily. I am finding that as I did in days of yore, I still need to make lists of what is needful to be remembered, and then remember to actually look at the lists — (if I haven’t misplaced them).

I was thinking of my little retiree garden on my deck. As I began to write about the tomato plants we had in pots I suddenly remembered that I had told some friends that I had agreed to go to their home to pick up a bag of homegrown tomatoes they had for me. I was a half-hour late from the time I said I was going to be there. Had I written it down on my to do list? Nope.

See what I mean? In some closet of my brain, but out of current memory.

Speaking of memory: I’ve been wondering if I can still remember the names of my former students. When I am volunteering at school, I try to recollect who they are as I see them in the halls. Usually I can do pretty well coming up from my brain file with the name I am looking for among the over 280 names that are stored somewhere in there from my last year of teaching.

The other night I was at Shopko and was greeted warmly by a student I had last year. It wasn’t until I was done shopping and walking out to my car, however, that the name of the girl finally came to me. Perhaps it was another example of “out of sight, out of mind.” I was too embarrassed when talking to the girl to ask, “Now what is your name?” because I otherwise knew her so well.

Yesterday I helped a retiree friend move furniture she had purchased via Craigslist from Tri-Cities to Walla Walla. Since she had sold all her belongings when she left Alaska for Borneo, then came to Walla Walla from Borneo with very little, she is starting from the ground up to furnish her home.

Much of the furniture was large and bulky and the sliding door and ramp on the 17-foot Hertz rental truck we used to transport the furniture were heavy and took a lot of physical oomph to move. This morning, I can feel almost every muscle in my body through varied aches and pains.

The lovely woman with whom I share my life sweetly observed that since I am no longer slinging chairs and large percussion equipment around in my music classroom as I did daily for so many years I am probably getting out of shape.

Yup. No doubt she’s right.

A retired friend at church heard about my furniture moving and cautioned me to be careful and take it easy, suggesting a major injury now that I am older would either take longer to heal or be with me the rest of my life.

Next on the docket is to get my annual flu shot, which is undoubtedly still important since I am volunteering with youngsters at school.

Health and wellness, physical and mental. What I want to maintain as a retiree.

Stay tuned.

Terry Koch is stepping into the life of a retiree after 46 years of teaching music at the grade school, high school and college levels. He can be reached at 509-529-6101 or terrko2@charter.net.


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