What is That Person’s Name?

23 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Have you ever run into someone you knew, in the store or at church and can’t remember their name?  That is so embarrassing!  Especially when they remember your name.  Well, that happened to me the other day.  I ran into this guy from my model airplane club, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember his name.  He said, “Hi Bill.  It’s been a long time.  How have you been?”  As we shook hands, I said, “Hey there. You’re looking great.  How is it going with you?”  We talked about the club, his new model airplane, and the health of some of the older club members.  All the while I was racking my brain to remember his name.  It just wouldn’t come to me.

Image Credit: http://thelearningexplosion.blogspot.com/blocked/

It wasn’t until after we had parted, and I was driving home that I finally remembered his name.  Now what is wrong with that picture?  Why couldn’t I remember his name?  What do you suppose causes these ‘mental blocks’ when we want to remember a person’s name or the name of a place?  I know I’m not the only person with the problem.  My wife and many friends I’ve talked to say they have the same problem. 

Image Credit: https://www.dreamstime.com/people/talking/

So, what is the answer?  I don’t hold with the idea that all these people have some kind of temporary amnesia or dementia.  I’ve been told that our memory tends to weaken naturally with age.  OK, I can buy that, but many of the younger people I have talked to seem to have the same ‘mind block’ problems when it comes to remembering names.  

Image Credit: https://www.vecteezy.com/young-man-with-question/

If you can believe the Internet, it informs me that single families started out as hunter gatherers, so there was no need for individual names.  Once farming came on the scene, around 8,000 to 10,000 BC, there were more fixed roles in a larger community of people.  People had to come up with a way to distinguish individuals from each other. That’s when people started to assign names to individuals for local identification purposes

Image Credit ttps://www.istockphoto.com/early+man/

As I was looking for answers to this question, I happened upon a neurobiology professor that said the way our brains are designed, he called it ‘associative architecture,’ we tend to associate a person’s profession with that person before we associate that person’s name with the person.  Maybe that’s how people started identifying those in the community by their profession.  I’m afraid I’d have to hear a lot more on that concept before I accepted it as the truth for the general public.

As it happens, my wife, DiVoran, was reading a novel recently about an old Welsh community where many of the residents were of one family and everyone in the community called them by their profession; with names such as, Evans the Milk, Evans the Bread, Evans the Meat, and Evans the Pub.  That seems to confirm, at least to some degree, what the above-mentioned professor was saying about what he was calling ‘associative architecture.’ 

Image Credit: https://www.vectorstock.com/royalty-free/baker/

Now I haven’t had the time to fully research the idea of why so many of us have trouble remembering people’s names or the names of places.  But, as for me, it seems to have something to do, in part, with my mental capacity to concentrate and with the association of what a people does professionally.  I’ve been told it might help me with the problem if I would try to create a mental picture of the person and how I know that person.  Food for thought.  What are your thoughts on the subject?  Got any helpful ideas for me?

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “What is That Person’s Name?”

  1. divoran09 February 23, 2022 at 9:22 am #

    It is quite a mystery. I wish I knew the answer, better I wish I knew the cause and the solution of the problem.




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