Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What's your earliest memory?

Who's asking: Sally Gawne

Memory's a funny thing, and easily manipulated. Stories get told so often that the story becomes the reality, even if it didn't happen exactly that way.

I have memories of images and smells that I suspect predate my ability to put things into words. My earliest memories that I know are mine, rather than something I was told about, come from the house in Norfolk where my family lived from 1967 to 1969.

My twin sister Kathy and I hid from the neighborhood bully in the blackberry hedge behind the house; blackberry bushes are thorny, but there was a space within the bushes where we could crouch and see the sky through the branches.

We got a German Shepherd-Alaskan Husky puppy for Easter, 1968. Mom called him Boyfriend, because his job was to keep her company while Dad was at sea. I don't really remember Boyfriend as a puppy, but I remember the night he got hit by a car, which would have been sometime in 1969, when we were three.

Kathy and I tried to feed Boyfriend once. Mom bought dog food in the 25-lb. bags, and the two of us hauled it out to the kitchen floor, where we spilled most of it. We knew we'd be in trouble -- even though we'd been trying to be helpful -- so decided to hide the evidence by eating the food ourselves. The taste of Purina Dog Chow remains vivid in my mind, and may be my earliest true memory. (Yes, I worry about what that says about me.)

What's your earliest memory? Post it in the comments section...


Kathy said...

I also remember eating the dog food and the taste. I wonder if it tastes any different now? Don't worry I'm not going to try any, just wondering.

Anonymous said...

I remember walking to the fire hydrant at the end of the block/edge of the woods when we lived in Fairfax. I don't think I even went into the woods, which, it being Fairfax, are long since replaced with nondescript townhouses. Nor do I think I was gone from the yard very long. I do remember, though, that whoever came and collected me -- probably Mom -- absolutely freaked out. I must have been around two-and-a-half when that happened.

I also rember around that same time riding in the front passenger seat of Dad's Mustang and opening the door while the car was still in motion. That door is heavy now; lord only knows how much mashed spinach the folks had been feeding me. Dad, understandably freaked out, but the car couldn't have been going more than 5 miles per hour because we were rounding the corner into the driveway when I opened the door. A good argument for very restraining car seats nonetheless.

Gee, I was some kind of daredevil toddler, wasn't I? Or maybe I just figured Mom and Dad needed to be kept on their toes.


AnswerGirl said...

I remember when you wandered off, Ed, and I also seem to remember that something about that was my fault. Maybe I was supposed to be watching you, or had told you to go away. Good thing they found you, huh?

Anonymous said...

I remeber bits of things like living in a neighborhood with sidewalks, the pink sideboard from fairfax (which was in the garage in Va Bch.) I think my earliest memory, though, is getting lost in the house in Virginia Beach. I guess we were three and a half when we moved there and I remember panicking in the mud hall and how scary the water heater was. I found my way back to Mom and I remember being a little embarrassed.
Some time in my twenties I shared what I thought was a recurring dream with Mom about a man dressed as Santa riding around in a large convertible car, waving and throwing candy. Mom said "That wasn't a dream that really happened" I was so surprised. Memory is a funny thing.
Kris swears she remembers watching the bubbles in her bottle when her mother was feeding her. Peggy

JJ said...

Having cactus thorns removed from my buttocks with pliers.

Anonymous said...

I know this is late but one of my earlest memories was riding in the suicide seat in the back of the old brown station wagon. I got to spend a lot of time there picking everyone up and dropping them off. I remember how enormous that car was. Sometimes Mom would sing the little piggies song when we pulled into the driveway. I have no idea the time frame, does anyone remember when we had that car?

AnswerGirl said...

James, we owned that car when I was in high school, because that's the car I learned to drive on -- it was a 1976 Ford LTD station wagon, and I think we bought it right around the time you were born. I know we still had it in 1982, when I left for college, but I don't know when we traded it in for the van.

JJ, we need to hear more of that story.