Thursday, August 16, 2007

Scribbles from the past

I found an old notebook, a small one, the kind I carry in my purse in case Something Needs to be Written Down.

Clues, such as an old Christmas shopping list that includes the name of my son's former fiancee, suggest that I started it about 3 years ago, then misplaced it for a while until I found it again last spring and used it to take notes from a lecture I attended.

It contains several lists of names, obviously students' names, but I don't remember most of these students. It sometimes distresses me how many of them simply flee my memory. In the early years I only taught a few classes at a time and over the years some students voluntarily came back to me for seconds, but a good estimate of the average number of students I've taught each year is 200. Nine years, 200 names a year -- probably I've forgotten 1600 of those 1800. This saddens me, because I tend to really like most of them.

I've found old to-do lists and notes from department meetings, and the thing that I actually wanted when I pulled out the notebook -- a folded-up handout from that spring lecture.

The oddest thing in the notebook, however, is this message to myself, in large letters, clearly intended to catch my attention:


I have no idea.

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