Lady! You have what we refer to as a "Butterfly Brain" !!!!!!
That is what he said. At the time I just laughed. I didn't really relate to it. Fifty years later I have been using that self description as explanation of my working and learning idiosyncrasies. It wasn't just a bouncing ADD brain; I also had an unusual conceptual memory. It was not an asset.
There was one thing I knew already in high school: I was a good organizer, strong in group settings, a creative thinker and great at follow through. There was one thing I truly did not understand: why could all of my friends read a passage in a text book, go to the questions assigned and answer every one without referring back to the text. In our American History class Mr. Thielen would assign 3 pages of reading, follow it up the next day with a quiz: "Take out half a sheet of paper. Three questions: A, C or F" Sheer panic for me. Invariably he would ask a question and I would only remember that the answer was under the picture in the upper right hand corner of page 238 but I didn't know what the answer was. That is something that I have never been able to put a name to or has anyone else.
Learning was a big challenge but I loved it. High school and undergraduate school meant hours of study beyond what the average person had to do. Had I been born with a limited mental capacity? I often question that possibility. My brother, Dan who was just 2 years older than me, could read and remember anything. He read every book in the junior section of the library by the time he was in high school and had to get permission to take out books from the "adult" section. It was intimidating. I followed him through school and the teachers all remembered him. Not that he was great; just that he was good and smart. I compensated by being a polite and quiet kid; I got involved in many activities but managed to keep under the radar in academic achievement. I barely graduated with honors but not because I took any difficult courses. I would change that in graduate school but by then (age 50) I fully understood what it took for me to remember information beyond just conceptual ideas. I had to study in spurts and everything had to be color coded; review questions typed out in one color, answers below each question in another. I went so far as to study while traveling (yup..did that) reading one question and totally absorbing the colored response before going on to the next. I should add that I was a full time employee throughout the years of graduate school so grabbing study time anywhere was essential.
Back to the "Butterfly Brain": I was a sophomore at Black Hills State University attending financially through three avenues: National Defense Student Loan funding, Pell Grant and Work-Study. My work study years were spent grading papers for the English professors. One particular afternoon I attended a college sponsored event held in the big theatre. On stage was a psychic. I, with my test papers in lap, was busy bouncing attention from the stage to the papers and anything or anyone in the theatre that my eyes landed on. I was lightly following the psychic's directive given the audience. The psychic selected one person in the middle of the sea of about 350 students. The student was to take a $1.00 bill and pass it on across the theatre until it landed at my chair. He selected me to "read my mind." So funny was that. I did not really grasp what he was asking but I held onto the dollar bill and waited. He acted very confused and he said he was getting a reading from a few other people around me but not me. Everyone that he pointed out was someone that I had thought about in the previous minute (my mind bounced like I rabbit chased by a coyote frequently). He then directly restated his request of me: "Concentrate on each number in the serial number on the dollar bill you are holding." I did so and he repeated every single digit as I concentrated on it. After successfully "reading my mind" he state: Lady! You have what we refer to as a Butterfly Brain." Yes I do.