I like to think that I have a pretty decent memory. At least for important stuff, like all the places I’ve been and all the places I’ve researched where I want to go some day. What year did I buy my house? Well, let’s see, it was the year my brother moved since we had his going away party in my brand new house and that was…….has it been eight years already? Maybe nine? What year did I visit Rome? Well there was the quick two day visit in 1999 when I took the night train out of Rome to Nice the second night and I shared my compartment with a really cool Australian couple with a young son about 9 or 10 years old. She was a vet from near Melbourne I think. Then there was the visit in 2001 when I stayed at the Fawlty Towers guesthouse near the train station and I hung out with a couple German girls and this really funny guy from Glasgow most of the time,. Then there was the visit in 2007 with my husband when we stayed at a really neat convent near the Colosseum that had huge high walls and a beautiful peaceful garden that was so peaceful and quiet that you could forget you were in the middle of Rome. Where did I put that book I was just reading? Um… is it on the bookshelf? The counter? Maybe the coffee table? Outside somewhere? Where are the passports and the stash of Euros I keep around so we’re ready for our next trip? I could probably find them in 30 seconds with my eyes closed.
So, as I was saying, my memory may not be perfect, but when it comes to anything travel related, I feel like I can rely on it. So, I was pretty shocked recently to find out that I’ve been to Chicago at some point and I have absolutely no memory of the event. I discovered this when I was gathering up some old clothes to give to charity. I found a light jacket at the back of my closet that had been there for years and since I didn’t think I’d ever wear it again, I checked through the pockets before I put it in the box. There, inside an inner pocket of the jacket was an old boarding pass. I know it’s mine since my name is on it and it’s dated April 18 but doesn’t have a year. It’s for a United Airlines flight from Vancouver to O’Hare in Chicago. I know it’s more than seven years old since it has my maiden name on it, but I have no memory of any trips I took that connected in Chicago. I did visit my brother when he was going to school in St. Louis in 2004 but I’m almost 100% sure that was in May, and I clearly remember how strange it was that the cheapest ticket to St Louis took me to Newark then backtracked all the way back to St Louis.
So, I’m kind of stumped. I’m also questioning my formerly reliable memory. Yes, I am getting older, but I was hoping that serious memory loss was still a long way into my future. So I’m off to look through my old photos and travel journals and see if I can find any clues to this mystery boarding pass. And maybe to send an email off to United Airlines telling them that it would be really nice if they’d print the full date including the year on their boarding passes to avoid these sort of problems in the first place.