I used to think that I was the only adult whose first memory ever as a human being girl child was scary as shit. I thought other people had memories of bunnies, ice cream and puppy dogs. I started my survey yesterday when dining with my cousin, Nancy, her husband, Gary, SalGal and The Ancient One. I posed the question, "What was your very first memory?" It's a question that can be 'offputting' (oh, another word I like...offputting...is it really a word?)...so I started telling mine to give them time to think about their own first memories.
I was 3 years old and stuck in a garden by myself in the summer in Santa Fe. At the age of 3, I wasn't as tall as I am now, and the flower garden I was in was filled with Holly Hocks and rose bushes. Holly Hocks can grown to 6 or 7 feet tall. How I wound up in the garden as a defenseless 3-year-old all alone is not actually known. You'd have to ask the Ancient One, and she'll certainly not fault her parenting skills, I can assure you. So, that was really it. I just remember crying and screaming because I thought I was lost forever. Holly Hocks still scare me whenever I see them.
Cousin, Nancy was 4 years old and was playing with a Boxer. He got tired of her harassing him, as dogs' attention spans are stilted at best. She went to kiss him and he tried to bite the mouth off her face! I thought getting lost in a garden was bad. She remembered the blood and going to the hospital for stitches all around her mouth, but her main memory is of coming home from the hospital that evening. Her mouth was practically stitched closed in the shape of a dry kiss and would stay that way for days. Her mother, The Ancient One's sister, had cooked her corn on the cob for dinner. I'm learning so much about the maternal instincts that the women in my family carry, and this one is absolutely priceless.
And, as if that weren't bad enough, it was The Ancient One's turn to play the memory game. Her first memory was of being locked in HER mother's closet (by HER MOTHER). She musta done something wrong, but to be locked in a closet...I'm just saying. Anyway, in order to pay her mother back, The Wee One blew her nose on the hems of her mother's pretty chiffon dresses. Another inlet in the Jackson family waters of the River Dysfunction.
As I've always said, show me a family that isn't dysfunctional, and I'll call you a liar. Nancy's husband, Gary who grew up in Idalou, Texas (I challenge ANYone...even WITH knowledge of the Texas panhandle to be able to spot Idalou on a map). Bless his heart, his first memory was of being in his back yard there in Idalou with his older brother shooting him with a BB gun. It's not exactly like having "The Christmas Story" accident with the BB gun...this boy was hunting his baby brother. Gary remembered BBs in his legs and hiding behind a tree (and there weren't too many trees IN west Texas, so the trunk of this one was probably pencil thin).
SalGal's first memory is sooooooo like her that I don't dare try to speak for her. She can tell you herself.
So, there you have it...let the survey continue, which I KNOW, is causing all of you to immediately look far away as you reach back in the 'way back' to retrieve that first memory of yours. Gawd, I hope it was a happy one, for pity's sake!
Lots of people won't believe me but I swear this is true. My first memory is I'm in my crib and I'm trying to walk but I can't. And I'm thinking to myself that I know I can walk and why is it so hard all of a sudden? I know I can do it. But why can't I do it? My stuffed pink elephant is in the crib with me.
The Ancient One tells everybody that I got up in my crib and walked around when I was 5 months old. My bones were not strong enough to hold my body up so my legs bowed and I ended up in leg braces just like the ones in 'Forest Gump'. In fact I think those were mine they used for props in the movie. By the way, if there are any young mothers out there, skipping the crawling phase is a symptom of dyslexia. It's been a battle all of my life, especially since nobody knew what dyslexia was in the early 1950's. All I can say is that it's really weird to have a one hundred and forty IQ and still have trouble telling my right hand from my left.
Then I remember other things like KK arriving, kittens being born in the bottom of the closet and that the dolls lined up along the wall were creepy. Mother says I enjoyed playing alone and could occupy myself for hours in my room. Once she had her girlfriends over for the regular Wednesday poker game and after about an hour she noticed that there had not been a peep out of me for hours. She went into my room and found that I had taken a dump in my diapers and then discovered how much fun it was to dip my hand in it and throw it against the walls.
I bet I had a blast but that...I don't remember,