Transcript for Jill Price on Remembering Everything

 

Jim Fleming: Suppose you could remember every day of your life. Would that be a blessing or a curse? For Jill Price it's definitely been a burden. She is one of only a half dozen people who have been diagnosed with hyperthymesia which is a fancy word for nearly total recall. Price is now in her mid 40s and she can remember every day of her life since the age of 14.

 

Jill Price:  Let's see, 20 years ago today I was in New York with my parents. My dad was an agent at William Moore so we were here for the upfronts and then we went to Florida for the weekend and that weekend was the one year anniversary that we had found out that my mother had a brain tumor. So, I was actually not fun to be around at that time.

 

I describe it like as if somebody is following me around with a video camera on my shoulder and then each day is a tape on a shelf and as soon as a day is mentioned it's as if someone took the video and put it in a VCR and I see the day.

 

You know, everyone has points in their life where they're not, you know, proud of or happy. You know, bad decisions or bad experiences and the thing is, is that people who have normal memories, that fades eventually or it somehow fades. You know, I don't know how much because I don't have a normal memory but I can't turn them off. You can't turn your brain off. I can't turn my brain off. I don't know about anyone else but it's the good memories that get me through and comfort me and I guess have kept me sane.

 

I remember when I was 17 I saw a woman in the bank who...she looked like granny from the Beverly Hillbillies and she was in her bath robe and she was screaming at the top of her lungs because she didn't know where she was. And the man that was standing next to me told the man standing next to him that she had Alzheimer's and I had never heard of that before. I've never forgotten her and so when this all came about she's somebody who I kept thinking of and the kind of pain I saw in her face and fright that, you know, I hope that with them studying me and that if other people come forward they can study a whole group of us and hopefully find something that we have in our brains or I have in my brain that could help other people.

 

Fleming:  Jill Price is the co-author of the memoir The Woman Who Can't Forget. 

Comments for this interview

Hitchens on Orwell (Bill, 03/21/2014 - 11:45am)

Can you tidy up the transcript please? Hitchens was a very articulate speaker and the transcript renders some of the sentences meaningless. Sloppy stuff