Saturday, February 6, 2016

The brain vs. the mind

Is there a difference?
Your brain seems to hold your mind...but what is the mind?  It's the place in the brain where your memories are, where your instincts reside, where your emotions are contained (or not). So, my brain hasn't been working all that well recently, not since menopause topped off with eight rounds of intense chemotherapy.
So...I haven't been trusting my mind or my brain to the extent where I knew I could rely on it to do the right thing, say the right thing, use the right words...find things I've put down somewhere and can no longer find.
I used to have a great mind.
I thought I'd lost it, or at least most of it after the second illness because things got worse. I used wrong words. Math, never my best subject, got very shaky. People's names, forget it! I started calling people "honey" and "sweetie" to their faces because their names just weren't there until somebody else said them. Then, luckily, the names came back to match the faces. But still. The instant recall was pretty much shot.
However. Something strange happened to me today.
I had been trying without success to remember a favorite book I'd read when I was about nine years old. It was terrific. I loved it. I think I took it out of the Bound Brook Library a dozen times to read over and over. This was when one did not buy books, one took them out of the library and had two weeks to read them.
I remembered this book because the heroine was chubby. She had a skinny friend. She was often alone because her friend had other stuff to do that did not include her. Boy, that was the story of my nine year old life.
But I could not remember the title of the book.
I asked around, I put up a plea on FaceBook for anybody to help me. Several people tried without success.
So I took to Amazon, looking in kids' books. Girls' books from the 50s. Buying books from the 50s. Went through the collections offered. Went through the suggestions from my FB friends. No luck.
Back to this mind thing. I have mentioned several times that I get some great ideas in the shower. For my own stories, for friends' stories, for life in general. Good ideas that are sometimes forgotten by the time I am through washing up. This morning...still thinking about this book...nothing. I despaired.
I came out of the shower, dripping wet, dried off, thought some more...used the computer again in vain. Went back into my thinking room and a name popped into my head out of nowhere.
Dashed out, went back to Amazon, typed that name in and...oh, wow. There she was, in her faded, tattered glory, my Rowena. My friend. My buddy.
Whatever happened, how that came to me, I do not know. It's been nearly 60 years since I read that book, but deep in the back part of my mind, she lurked quietly. My friend.
Here she is. I did not ever see the paper cover. The book I read was hardcover and dark blue. But she's just the way I pictured her and, Rowena, I never forgot you!

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