Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First Memory

On Day 16 of 30 Days of Blogging, I'm taking a topic suggested by my friend Leo who was, long ago, one of my best RA's ever. (I always say I don't have favorites, but she is totally one of my favorites. If I had favorites.) Leo said:

first memory, first crush, most influential book

I'm not sure if she meant that as one topic or three topics, but I'm treating it as three because I have 14 days to go and don't think I have 30 topics.

Anyway, I went with "first memory", but I'm not sure how to answer that. None of my very early memories (and quite a few of my later ones, now that I think of my college years) are completely linear, so I'm not sure which one comes first. Instead, there are bright pops of memory and experience floating without context. I'm not sure what comes first, but I have a contender:

When I was very small, my parents took my brother and I to a drive in movie in their station wagon. They parked backwards in the space, lowered the wagon's back door (it opened downward, like a pickup truck, rather than outward, like a side door), and my brother and I stretched out in sleeping bags, heads propped on our elbows, and watched "Star Wars". I don't remember what I ate, or what my parents did since they were facing away from the screen, but I remember that the movie was huge and bright and amazing.

I think this might be my earliest memory because I can't figure out where it happened. If it was at Fort Campbell, before we moved to West Point, then it is the earliest. If it was at West Point, then it's in a pool with a few others:

I remember wearing sandals to play outside. This is baffling to me now, as I hate sandals, but I remember having a small brown pair of sandals. I also remember wearing them over socks, which I think was the fashion at the time.

I remember that once we got in a car accident, rear ended, while my distant cousin/foster sister for a short time Angela was in the car with us. My mom had a cake for Angela on her lap, and when the other car hit us my mom's hand sunk into the cake. Angela and I were sharing a seat, and when the other car hit us all of the accessories to her Mego Wonder Woman doll fell under the seat in front of us, and we spent a while trying to find them. My mom put the partially ruined cake down on the floor of the car when she went to talk to the cop with my dad, and Yapper, our fox terrier, ate a lot of it since no one was looking.

(In an odd coincidence, the cop's daughter and I ended up going to college together and were RA's at the same time, but not on the same staff. I think she worked in Cheney, but am not 100% sure of that. Again, memory holes.)

I remember when our dog, Gretchen, had puppies during a Cub Scout meeting at our house. I don't remember how many puppies there were, but I do remember that they all looked the same so my mom used colored string (maybe sewing thread?) as their collars. When people came to look at them and buy them, they called them Blackie, or Bluey, or Red, or Brownie. I think there was a little one called Runty who died, but I'm not completely sure of this. I just remember that when people would come to look at the puppies Yapper, who hated people, would bark and carry on and chase the puppies under the couch.

I remember that our neighbors had a pet bird, named Dirty Bird, that got away while they were cleaning the cage.

I remember that we lived on Y Street, but have no memory of what our house number was or what Y Street looked like. It's entirely possible that we didn't actually live there, but I feel like we did.

I also remember our television, which was a huge console model like they don't make anymore. It was in a long wooden cabinet, with a record player on one side, and the front panels on either side of the screen were wooden lattices with red velvet behind them, covering the speaker system.

Out of all of these memories, I'm pretty sure that the puppies came the latest, but the rest are hard to place.


strong cookie. said...

woo hoo! favorite! SUCK IT, other RA's!

I love early memories because, in fact, they are so all over the place, and rarely, if ever, linear.

Memory itself is so tricky. I read a lot about this stuff when I was a senior and taking "creative non-fiction classes". I am interested in hearing what your Mom says about these memories since they are so subjective.

strong cookie. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.