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First memories

I’m having a very bad day, and it’s very bad for reasons I’m not at liberty to discuss. But take my word for it: I need you all to send me truffles and red wine and good vibes. Thank you.

While I was walking home from work I was listening to my iPod and every song seemed weirdly relevant to my very bad day. It was probably just a coincidence or my imagination or something. The songs included Everybody Knows, and Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, and Democracy is Coming to the USA.

Anyway. Enough of that. While I’m waiting for the truffles and red wine and good vibes to come flooding in, let’s do a round-up of our earliest memories.

Do you ever wonder why we can’t remember being babies? I sometimes suspect we store our earliest experiences somewhere in our bodies in a form that is un-recallable but not quite forgotten.

Another thing: have you ever noticed that toddlers are intrigued by repetition? They might show no interest in watching television until the commercials come on, and then they stop whatever they’re doing to focus intently on the commercials. I think it’s because they remember them, and they’re not used to remembering stuff. They’re fascinated by the absolute unwavering predictability of commercials. This fascination seems to coincide with the age at which the toddler’s ability to store and recall memories is emerging.

Anyway. Earliest memories. I’ll tell you mine, and hopefully you’ll tell me yours.

My earliest memory is from when I was two or three years old. At that time, my mother was going to school. She would drop my sister and me off at the sitter’s every Monday morning and pick us up every Friday evening.

Strangely, my earliest memory is of a dream rather than an actual experience. In this dream, my mother came to pick us up on Friday evening, and I was angry about something. I stomped my foot. My mother got angry back and said stomping my foot was bad, so I couldn’t come home for the weekend.

The next thing I remember is the babysitter and I were standing on the front porch, and my mother was leaving with my sister. She was pushing a stroller. I was supposed to be in the stroller, but the babysitter’s child was in it instead of me. My sister was holding onto the side. They were walking away, across a field.

I tried to call out to my mom, but I had no voice. I looked over at the babysitter and she had this huge crack in her neck. Her head started to wobble, and then it fell off and rolled across the porch towards me.

Then I woke up.

Okay, your turn. What’s your earliest memory?

18 comments to First memories

  • deb

    I hate when you start a blog like this…makes those that love you worry. Here’s throwing truffles and some Lindeman’s at ya kid.

  • Rita

    Leave the awful day behind you and just enjoy your weekend.
    GC will make up for it.
    I’ll send you a vintage wine of your choice and truffles.
    My week hasn’t been much better but at least I get to go to my own home for the weekend.
    I went to visit my cat last night and he wouldn’t even talk
    to me..They really get mad when you have to leave them.
    My earlist memory would have to be crawling out of my crib and sleeping on the rug next to my bed. guess I thought they
    would feel sorry for me. Weird eh
    My daughter is having her baby on Tues. or maybe earlier
    Exciting eh!!

  • deb

    My earliest memory that is very clear was during the Cuban Missile Crisis…I remember seeing Mom cry about going to war; the boats were on the way. I cried too. That was when I was five. I have earlier, vague ones of the apartment with Margie and a pool??? Larch is when they seem to become more clear though.

  • Am sorry you’re having a bad day. That saddens me. Wish I could send along some wine – but, alas, I could use some meself.

    My earliest memory:

    I’m about 18 months old. Am in a baby carriage, one of the old-fashioned English prams – high up, with huge wheels and excellent springs. It’s navy blue. At the other end of the pram is my baby brother. I’m facing a wall, which is partly in shadow. There’s a wall running along beside the pram; it has a window high above me, which is close to where the two walls form a corner. There’s only one other thing in the scene: it’s my toy box, on the lower right side tucked up against the facing wall.

    Two or three decades ago, I described this memory to my mother. Sounds like it was my first experience of moving into a new place. There were far too many more such experiences to register any significance.

  • Hope tomorrow is a better day and the bad stuff blows over.

    My earliest memory is almost the same as yours! It’s also a dream, and I remember dreaming that there was a tiger in our living room, and I was so scared, so I ran out to the driveway. There I found my mom behind the wheel of the car, the car stuffed to the brim with luggage and my other sisters. Then my mom gave me a big smile and wave, and drove off!

    I think this shows that very young kids have a common fear of being abandoned by their moms :).

    I read somewhere recently that we do make memories as babies, but because we can’t talk yet, it makes it hard to access those memories. Apparently smells or familiar textures can help trigger memories of when we are very young.

  • GC

    I’m sorry you’re having a bad day Sweetie. I’ll be right over with a bottle of wine and a box of Smarties… not truffles I know… but Smarties are REALLY your favourite, right?

    My first memories are bouncing up and down in a white crib waiting for my Mom to come get me for breakfast. I was going to have French Toast with sour cream and maple syrup… or was that oatmeal and maple syrup? I think I was about 18 months old plus or minus a couple of years.

  • Milo

    The reason we don’t remember being babies is because the human animal is a control freak, and remembering such profound powerlessness is too traumatic. Ergo, we all have hysterical amnesia.

  • TechWood

    I remember many memories from early childhood – but can’t say which one came first.

    All of them take place in Aylmer Quebec, though there are perhaps a few glimpses to a house before then, but these all take place in Aylmer.

    1. The smell of new carpet (probably tons of chemicals) at our home.

    2. Shaving with my dad (plastic razor) at about 3 or 4 in a basement bathroom.

    3. Having a cubbie-hole (I think it was the under a set of stairs) with doors in my mom’s den.

    4. Sitting on the edge of the driveway with my mom while she waited for her ride to work in Aylmer. Coffee, cigarettes, her writing/reading/marking?

    5. I think myy sister used to skip school and sleep during the days while I got into mischief in the family garage. I once made a concoction of childrens make-up/perfumes with water and drank it with the next-door neighbour.

    6. Receiving a covered western wagon with plastic horse from my Opa. It was battery operated and as soon as I set it up and let it go on the back deck it drove off and stopped working.

    7. Throwing rocks into a backyard pool with the neighbours kids and getting into trouble for it.

    8. Wandering down a country road to a wedding party at a facility of some sort then having someone bring me back home to the suprise of my parents (I don’t know if they were even looking for me).

    9. Waking up on christmas morning to a fully wired set of telephones that ran on batteries and connected my room to my sisters. It had a little red light and buzzed, I think they were orange phones, I know my sister hated it.

    10. Being sick with some sort of flue/chicken pox? The smell of milk soaked bread on my forehead.

    11. Trips to my mom’s school for various events (theatrical events or football games – not sure).

    Perhaps my family will read this and place the memories in order and my exact age – but I suspect I was 3 or 4.


  • TechWood

    One other memory – perhaps before Aylmer. A birthday where a sister gave me a pilsbury dough boy that popped out of a blue container. He was cool!

    Back to aylmer, my first silly-putty egg and my first yo-yo, followed by a trip to the Old Spaghetti Factory.


  • I hope your weekend kicks ass – sending good vibes your way. My first memory is boring. I described it to my mom a while ago and she said I would have had to be between 14 and 18 months. Anyways, I’m just lying in my crib, wondering how long I’ll have to wait before someone will come get me. I wasn’t upset or anything, just waiting. (My mom identified the time from where my crib was and which bedroom I was in.)

    My next memory is from when I was about 3, and I was carrying a bowl of oatmeal into our little red car, on the way to nursery school. I guess we were late. I don’t have any memories of dreams until I was 7 or so.

  • Oma

    That babysitting arrangement was when I was teaching so you would have been 4 1/2 … while I was in school you were looked after by my Oma and then for the next year you had two different babysitters … one a totally incompetent old woman who came to our apartment; the second one the family who looked after you by the week when we moved back out to your Opa’s. After that you were in kindergarten and were babysat by the school custodian’s wife.

  • Carmen

    First memory: playing in the back yard and finding a piece of what I now know to be porcelain…it was white, with a gold rim and had red flowers on it. I thought I had found something precious until my mother took it from me and threw it out. To this day I am still facinated by china and porcelain.

    Second memory, about the same time because it was in the same house and we moved OFTEN: helping my mother ice the cake, she then telling me that it’s a secret and we can’t tell anyone about the cake. My father walking in and my yelling at him that there is a cake in the cupboard. It was for his birthday. I still remember my mother being very angry with me.

    Third memory, still same house…heavens, it must have been an age when I started to remember… but I won’t bore you anymore…

  • Arden

    Hrm, interesting with all the double posts, wonder if mine will be a double post too?

    My ginger dog-cat is sending purrs your way, and will try to channel them through his likeminded feline! *big hugs*

    I don’t have a lot of super early memories, but one must be from when I was still tiny. I remember my father had a big drunken party, and I remember my uncle was there. Then I remember my father driving me home to my mother’s house late that night. It would have to be so early that he couldn’t yet keep me overnight, so I’m not exactly sure how old I would have been, but really tiny.

    I also the vaguest of memories of the house my father and stepfamily lived in until I was about 3. A sort of den or family room I think, all everything is yellow.

    I have a lot of memories starting from about age 3-4 onwards that are much more vivid, and every once in a while I start to remember more things that happened when I was young that I managed to block out of my memory for years.

  • Oma

    I have a lot of “first” memories that all occurred at Louisa Street, the place I lived till I was five. When I would recount them I always said that they happened when I was five. Later I realized that they occurred over a span of about three years. The very earliest one, I think, was of reaching for a doll that had been placed on a shelf at the top of the cellar steps. I fell down the entire flight to the cement floor. Might explain a lot:-)

  • Julia

    I am sorry about your crappy day! Hopefully, it is better now.

    My memories can be unreliable because some of them are based on watching home movies years later. I think I remember the porch at the place where we lived before we moved to Quebec City, so I may have been 3 or 4 when I start remembering. But my most solid memories start in Quebec City, where we lived while I was 4, 5 and 6 years old. We lived in a very old house on Rue St. Louis that was owned by the DoD and that was the house where Montcalm apparently died. The sun porch on the second floor had a flight of wooden steps down tot the rear courtyard and in the winter, we would take cardboard and slide thumpity-thumpity down those steps once they were covered in snow. At the back of the courtyard, was a fenced in red brick government building that no one seemed to use so it was mysterious. Tantalizingly, on that bit of property there grew lilacs and we kids used to squeeze under the gate or around the end of the fence to go pick the lilacs. I also remember crossing the street once when I had been expressly forbidden to do so, just to prove I could and I knew why I wasn’t supposed to (I could get hit by a car but I made sure there were no cars coming). My sister told on me and I got spanked. There was also a place within child-walking distance from our house that made and sold potato chips in large plastic buckets. We would go there with Dad as a treat and walk home with this enormous bucket of fresh and fragrant potato chips. Boy, I feel like some chips now.

  • I was 18 months old or so. I was in a pram, and I was held up by someone and told to “Say hello to Mrs. Wood.” I told my mother about this years after and she scoffed. “Impossible. Mrs. Wood was your nanny in England. You were less than two years old.” She swore I must have heard the nanny’s mentioned later on.


    Now, when I was three or four, I had a dream. I was sucked into a narrow tunnel, squeezing…squeezing…then light, and two women in white were rushing around.

    Dream of actual birth? Or–just a dream?

  • future landfill

    I remember being Robin Hood in a costume when I was four or so.. Of course we modelled on Richard Green on the showcards in the window of the barber down the street advertising Brylcreem (a little dab’ll do ya).

    Robin Hood, Robin Hood

  • future landfill

    Wot happened?

    I meant to add:

    Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the glen
    Robin Hood, Robin Hood with his band of men
    Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
    Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood.

    And a bit o’ brylcreem of course to get the girls all hands-stroking-through-the-locks…