My parents and I spent a good deal of the week discussing the arrival day and time of my brother and his wife. On Wednesday I spoke with my brother, and he said they’d be in San Francisco on Saturday at 12:30. So I told my mother and father and began to plan lunch around their arrival. On Saturday, my mother was upset when they didn’t show up at 11:30, and my dad was surprised they were coming at all and swore he hadn’t been told of their visit.
The weird thing about this is that I had spent the evening before listening to them reminisce about their youth. Not only did they remember the details of big events, but they also recalled with precision tiny throw-away lines from parties they attended 60 years ago. They both burst into laughter when my mom reminded my dad about a woman they had met at a party whose name was Ophelia. She was being wooed by a guy named Bob, but she didn’t want to marry him because then her name would be Ophelia Balsey, which she thought would be excruciatingly embarrassing. “Did she marry him?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know,” my mom said. “We never saw her again.”