Oct 14, 2010

I have no memory of this...

I was thinking I might post a little survey.

I have been thinking a lot about memory and asking friends and family about their first or earliest memories and about how old they thought they were.

This came about while I was looking at the above photo of me at a zoo, and how some photos create a memory that we may not actually remember, but know second hand because of the photo.
Similarly- stories about us that we incorporate into our memories in the first person even though it is someone else's recollection.

So here is my earliest memory;

I must have been 3 or 4 I was in the kitchen of the first house we lived in, the sun was coming in through the window and I remember the brick pattern linoleum floor, we had a cat that was about to have kittens and my Dad was putting together a metal ride on fire truck that a grandparent gave my brother and I. He was having a hard time doing it and was really frustrated- that made me nervous.

Anyway if you care to I would love to hear some of your first memories and about how old you might have been...:)
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barbara said...

mh, that's a tough question, because for me it's very hard to tell, what is a real memory and what I know from stories my parents told me/what I saw on photos.

I think one of my first real memories is from when I was around 3. I remember my first kindergarten, they had a box with m&ms and every kid was allowed to take one before going home.
I guess "food" has always been important to me... ;)

Kristen Donegan said...

It's hard isn't it. I think especially because when your young you feel emotionally what is going on around you even if you don't understand what is happening.
So it seems from most of the people I've asked they remember something sensory, or highly emotional.

Susan said...

You are right that it's a sensory memory, though the part I remember precedes the sensation! I was 2 and at my uncle's house and wandering around while my parent's and uncle were in the kitchen talking. I ended up in the bathroom and saw a razor on the edge of the tub. What they call a "safety razor"...those heavy metal ones like my dad had...these are days before the plastic ones! Anyway, I distinctly remember thinking, "they wouldn't leave it there if it had a razor in it" (of course, my uncle didn't have kids so didn't think that way) so I picked it up and dragged it across my face. That's all I remember - the rest is just from my mom telling me (the blood, the hospital, the stitches and the resulting scar on my face!) I think people must think you can't think that way at 2, but I can clearly see that razor on the edge of the tub, and how it was right at my height and pausing to think if I was doing something wrong or not and reaching for it.

Luise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luise said...

Wow, Susan. Your story is pretty scary. But on the other hand, you're so right about how we think as two year olds. We have clear thoughts, only we don't have the experience older people have. Little kids have an own sense of logic..
My oldest memory I think is also from when I was two. It was noon, I was supposed to nap (which I never did).So I lay in my bedroom starring at the ceiling and at the wallpaper, which was pretty boring. And all of a sudden I could sense that something changed somehow. I looked at the window, and outside on the window sill there was a pigeon. It was just sitting there, looking at me, well you know, the way pigeons look. Anyway. I looked at the pigeon and I was thinking really hard what I should do about it. I mean I was really small, so the pigeon felt quite big. I wasn't scared or anything, I was just wondering: "what does one do about a pigeon on a window sill?"

Kristen Donegan said...

Wow- those are all so interesting- Susan OUCH! no wonder it stands out...I've noticed in general that the boys I've asked remember at earlier ages- like 2 or so, and I cant for the life of me think that far back.
I love the pigeon image and being trapped in a crib even more so!

Janien /leuke post said...

Hello dear ladies, I follow the conversation with pleasure and the last few days I was thinking and trying to get hold of my first memories. And I can't go back that far either.
Maybe a memory get's even stronger when it's told and told like a story in the family, like Susan's?
My first very clear and strong memories are from school (the first one when you are 4). My teacher had a flute with blue velvet in the box. I remember the exitement when she opend the box and put the parts of the flute together. And there are a lot more of those memories. Everything is their sound,colour, image, emotions, words but mayby that's because I was already somewhat older.
I read a book this summer (in Sweden)'Perlmans sweigen' from Pascal Mercier(I read it in dutch I don't kwow if it is translated in english). It's about a linguist professor, the first storyline is about his failing believe in scinece and lies he is creating to cover that up. But the second storyline is about the relationship between creating a memory again through language.

barbara said...

wow, what a story, susan!