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August 26, 2009

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John Whiting

I had a similar but less intimate experience with the late Studs Terkel, who had the same infallibly photographic memory for names and faces. My father was also thus gifted, but to a lesser degree and with the aid of a gimmick: he told me that, when meeting someone new, he would address him by name at least three times in the course of the conversation while looking him intently in the face.

John Talbott

My best oft-told story was of the then President of Cornell who had a cocktail for about 15 Ithaca-based faculty couples who granted he should have known and 15 NYC-ones whom he'd never met; I quit watching him when he reached about the 36th person without missing one (Later in the living room I discovered why: he was a geologist and had hundreds of rocks in numbered display boxes.)

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