Day 2 – Your earliest memory
This is a very interesting question for me. I have an untrained eidetic memory. Which basically means if someone (I) had figured it out when I was a kid, I could have conditioned and trained myself to remember everything about everything ever. As it is, I remember a lot of things and what I do remember tends to frustrate people trying to argue with me when I repeat, verbatim, a conversation we had months before.
As such, I have a lot of vivid memories from kidhood but the chronology is a little off.
I remember a dream I had. I told someone about said dream, nay, nightmare, and they said it sounded like night terrors rather than a garden variety nightmare.
I take that back. I really don’t remember much of the dream. What I remember clearly is what came next. I must have been dreaming about snakes, a la Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, because when I woke, the floor of my bedroom was writhing with hundreds of snakes. I couldn’t do anything but sit in my bed and scream for my parents.
I mentioned this, not too long ago, to my mother and she doesn’t remember it. I felt like it was a pretty horrifying and substantial event. She clearly did not.
I can’t tell you when it happened or how old I was, just that it happened.
I also remember a time, pretty sure before I had started school, when I was sick but my mom and I had a tradition (or I had a tradition because I was short and short people make up a new tradition in their head every week) wherein I would stand on a dining chair and “help” while she made egg noodles for my favorite meal of chicken and noodles (still one of my favorite things). But on this particular day – because I was sick – I fell asleep on the chair. One minute I was helping make dinner, the next Mom was waking me up to eat dinner.
Growing up, my dad’s brother lived next door to us with his wife and two kids. My cousins, both boys, were older than me and when the younger of the two was old enough, he joined his brother in School. I wanted to go to School. Because the boys got to go and I wanted to do everything they got to do. So the logic within my little 3-year-old brain went something like this: They get to go to School. I don’t. I have to stay at home. I want to go to School. They get to go because they are boys. (Yes, I was a teeny-tiny feminist) What is different that makes a boy a boy? THEIR HAIR! Eureka! (Of course I knew words like eureka at 3; didn’t everyone?)
From there, my tiny, feminist, hungry for education, 3 year old self rummaged and searched until she found her mother’s pinking shears (scissors made for cutting fabric so that the edges don’t fray) and tried to put herself on equal ground with her cousins – who were boys with short hair who got to go to School. Yessir, I was rocking the asymmetrical, shaved on one side haircut long before it was the hit it is today. Forever the trendsetter.
I remember learning to read. I remember reading to my mom from chapter books when I was very small. I remember all of the cats I have had growing up (just not in what order I had them). I remember having pet rabbits and when I got stung by a bee for the very first (and as far as I can remember, only) time. I remember six little Wicked Witches of the West in a kindergarten class of 20, with our green skin and matching nose warts.
I remember “interviewing” with the kindergarten teacher (who wouldn’t be my actual teacher because I didn’t get to go to school that year…either; for the same reason I didn’t get to go before. I was too young, except I didn’t realize the two problems were the same then) who asked me to draw a picture of a man. I (politely, I think) explained that I wasn’t very good at drawing a man, could I please draw a woman. I am pretty sure my parents were shocked and dismayed at my refusal to conform to what was asked of me but I wanted to offer the very best that I could offer and I was, frankly, better at drawing women. I knew my strengths, damnit.
I remember when I was too afraid to pull one of my loose baby teeth so my friend did it for me, at school, also in kindergarten. I remember when my best friend didn’t show up for school one day and I never saw her again because her family moved away and I never got to say good bye. Of course, the memories of things I did in kindergarten clearly came after I cut my hair because I wanted to go to kindergarten, but were they before or after the snakes or the noodles? Did I know how to read when I cut my hair? Which cat(s) did I have at that point?
Like I said, I remember so much, vividly, just have a little trouble putting it in the right order.