Some People Are List Makers and Notetakers…

…and then there are the rest of us. I admit I am a forgetful person. Some people, like my husband, are natural list makers.  My husband usually makes a list of things for me to do each day, now that I’m retired and he is still working. Without that list, too many things wouldn’t get done. Once he tried to get me to make my own lists. I did. Then I forgot I had made a list, and when my husband reminded me I had made one, I forgot where I put it.

My father was the king of list makers and note takers. He was Head of Structures for Sikorsky Aircraft and was chief of the team that designed the airframe and landing gear of the Blackhawk helicopter. For an engineer, my father was amazingly well-rounded. He loved classic literature and often quoted Quo Vadis or recited a poem of Francois Villon, a French vagabond poet of the Fifteenth Century. When he was eighty-one he took up water color painting. He had dabbled in painting many years before when he created a little art studio for himself in our basement in Connecticut. When he painted his first nude, my mother asked him where he got his model. My father’s reply? “It’s from memory.”

I came across some of his notes the other day while I was going through some of my desk drawers. He kept his list and notes on 3X5 cards prior to the computer age. I found cards that listed every house he had bought, when he had purchased it and what the purchase price was, the square footage, the size of the lot, and what he had sold it for. Another card listed all his automobile purchases, beginning with his 1942 Nash, the list price and what he actually bought it for and the mileage when he sold it. It was a fascinating look at the changing value of a dollar, and I didn’t have to research it online.

Who graphs their salary record? Oh, yeah, my dad.

Anyway, I’m just dragging my feet right now. I need to go look at the list my husband has left me or nothing will get accomplished today. Now where did I put it?

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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39 Responses to Some People Are List Makers and Notetakers…

  1. Huffygirl says:

    Loved seeing your dad’s old lists – what an organized guy. I’m the list maker at my house, and my husband loses his. But it seems to work.

    • Coming East says:

      It works at our house, too, HG, as long as I remember to read the lists George makes for me. I think if have a long one tomorrow. But I feel good when he comes home and asks me how my day went and I can tell him I did everything on the list. I feel like I’ve accomplished ssomething instead of wasting time.

  2. Leah says:

    I love your dad’s cards! Like your dad and husband, I’m a total list maker. If I feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, I make a list.

  3. Marianne says:

    I´m a list maker and note taker, too. I just can´t help it 🙂

    How fascinating to look at your father´s records.

    • Coming East says:

      I have several other things like that from my father, Marianne, that are fascinating, and some are even a little touching. After my mother died, Dad, who was never a cook except for grilling, had to teach himself how to put a meal together. He took my mother’s Pillsbury cookbook and kept trying recipe after recipe. Then he made a card file of the recipes he liked the best, adding little tweaks of his own. I found the file box after he died and still have it.

      • Marianne says:

        AAwwwww … did he really? That is very touching. Very precious for you 🙂

      • Coming East says:

        Yes, it was very touching, Marianne. He wrote his own directions for even simple things like how to scramble an egg. He actually became quite a decent cook for someone who had never tried his hand in the kitchen before.

  4. pattisj says:

    I had a friend who wrote her Bible verses to memorize on note cards. They were small and fit in a pocket, could be pulled out while waiting in line. I used to make lists. Way long lists, and HAD to DO IT ALL. Too much stress! Now I write things that NEED to happen each day, and try to schedule something fun, but it always seems to end up last. I’m glad you shared this about your dad. 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Patti. I’ve tried to write things down, but it just doesn’t work for me. I think I’m too old to change. Fortunately, George makes enough lists for both of us.

  5. I love your dad’s 3×5 cards. I remember Dad kept a file box as an address book–ingenious I thought, as he carefully ticked on the back if he had sent them a Christmas card. My mother still has that box filled with very old info and the latest. I love running across the cards written in his handwriting and I love knowing that my dad, the engineer, was a very sentimental soul.

  6. Al says:

    I love lists. It took Patty a while but she finally learned. When she would ask me to do some chores, if she didn’t make a list, they were a long time in the doing. If she made a list, I knocked them out in pretty good fashion. I can’t stand to have a list with an uncompleted item on it. It’s such a good feeling when I check off the last one! Unfortunately, she manages to come up with another one shortly thereafter.

  7. I am both unfortunately. Conflicted, I think it makes me. But what a fun and fascinating heritage your Dad’s record cards are for you and your children! 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      I wish I’d kept more of his papers, Eye, just to see his lovely printing. Most of his papers, though, we’re his engineering articles and totally incomprehensible to me.

  8. To be a real list maker, you have to be super organized, like your dad. I am not a real one, bc I make a list and then forget where I have left it, like you do sometimes.

  9. shofar says:

    I would have enjoyed getting acquainted with and talking story with your dad! Makes me think of my dad who remembered all the stock numbers of vehicle parts when he was supply clerk for the Navy; he was meticulous in every way and was also well-rounded like your dad. I’ll bet you still miss him like I miss mine!

    • Coming East says:

      Absolutely, Shofar! He was such a great dad, very loving. Were you a Navy brat, or had your dad left the Navy by the time you were born?

      • shofar says:

        My dad was a civilian and worked for and retired from the Marine Corps Air Station which was under the Navy when I was in high school. We often had Marines in our home and youth activities at church. My husband was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, was in in the Hawaii Air National Guard as a meteorologist, and retired from the National Weather Service (NOAA).

      • Coming East says:

        Sounds like a very interesting life you’ve lead, Shofar.

  10. My husband is a list maker like your father. He has ledgers with all sorts of bizarre information. I won’t do a list until I am completely overwhelmed, the crossing off is some how soothing.

    • Coming East says:

      I do lists when we are taking a big trip, Life. Like for the Cape Cod trip, I had a long list of household things I needed to take since we were renting the house for a week. I agree; crossing things off a list makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

  11. notquiteold says:

    I love the nude from memory. I bet his memory was pretty sweet!

  12. Dianna says:

    Oh, I would consider those cards of your Dad’s real treasures!! Sometimes I make lists when I have lots of errands to run. But if I couldn’t enter all our appointments in my cell phone’s calendar, I’d really be up the crick!

    • Coming East says:

      Once I get a smart phone, Dianna, I may start using the calendar feature. I think it’s too hard on the stupid phone. I do have a calendar and a note app on my iPad, but I don’t carry it around with me all the time. Maybe my iPod Touch had those things. I might try that.

  13. I love making lists and I am very impressed with your dad’s! Paradoxically the busier I get, the messier or more nonexistent my lists get — just when I need them most. I need someone like your dad to help me get myself more orderly! It makes daily life so much easier for me when I’m organized like that!

    • Coming East says:

      I wish some of his organization skills had rubbed off on me, Julia, but maybe my disorganization was my way of rebelling. No, I think it’s more that my brain just doesn’t work like that. Such a pity.

  14. I am a list maker, although not a daily list maker, just when there is something major coming up in my life. Hope you find your list. If I were you, I would still be looking at the index cards and marvelling at the precise nature of your Father’s ability to remain focused and in order. Fascinating. I love when you can get a glimpse into your parent’s lives, I usually end up wishing I had asked more questions. DAF

  15. Shary Hover says:

    I love lists, charts and graphs. And I love your dad’s index cards. Looks like something I might have to try. 🙂

  16. …and some of us worked very hard at being “left brain organized” professionally, were very good at it, and once we embraced the word “retired” just let go and let life evolve in it’s own time. I went through similar types of paperwork yesterday… of course, I was looking for my eyeglass prescription.

  17. Your dad was the Supreme List Maker. I have always made lists. While I was teaching I made lists of what to do each day in the order of importance. Otherwise, when I got to school, there were so many distractions I would forget what I should be doing! I still make lists of projects and groceries, etc. But the graphing and detailed lists of your father are fascinating! His mind must have been well ordered.

    • Coming East says:

      It’s funny, Ruth, because when I was teaching, nobody had more concrete lesson plans than I did, down to writing the questions I would ask my students. But my personal life is a different story. I do make good grocery lists, though. Guess food is a big focus for me!

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