Thursday, July 5, 2007

Early Memories

In his blog today, Mick LaSalle tells us what his first sustained memory is. I've started thinking about this and it's hard... To think back to early-early, and to get to a memory with a narrative instead of a flash. So far I've thought of some flashes, and I know a sustained memory is coming up soon.

No and I have talked about the tricks of memory which cause you to remember things that you might actually remember versus things you think you remember because you've heard the story so many times and at such a young age that you have a visual picture, not just the narrative.

Here are some early memory flashes, with editorial comments to round them out.

I remember my father's legs in blue pajamas, from the knees down, and the bottom of the Christmas tree in the big room downstairs. Some years ago I checked this out with Mom and she said that was my first Christmas, when I was three and three months. There had been some ambivalence about Christmas between my parents; my father was a secular Jew, after all. She knows it was the first one because that was the only year they had the tree in the basement instead of the living room.

I remember standing at the classroom door of my kindergarten class with Mom, in a brown suit, behind me. She and my teacher were talking over my head, though it must be said that I had a very small teacher for kindergarten and first grade - I think most of us came almost to her shoulder. The classroom was yellow and had a round nook in the back, with cubbies in the front. I know it was kindergarten because we were in a different building (let alone room) for my first grade year and Mom tells me it was the first day of school. I was days away from being five.

At some point in first grade I was at the nursery school my brother and a neighborhood girl, DeeKay, attended. I read a book to the class (it was probably the start of my self-importance, if not my desire to teach). I don't remember the name of the book but it was about a girl who let all kinds of creatures out of their cages, two of which were a snail and a turtle. If you know, I'd be much obliged if you would tell me the title.

I think that was the first occasion upon which Shmeen and I met, as she was in that class too.

No comments: