Can you summon what you believe to be your earliest memory? Why do you think you remembered these things?
I remember ….
- Receiving a Zak and Wheesie Dragon Tales stuffed dragon from an aunt when my youngest brother was born
- Setting plates at the dinner table, and making space in my bed, for my imaginary friends
- The way my childhood room looked before my younger brother shared it with me [(before my family moved when I was almost 5) , with soft purple, pink, and blue star lights strung over my bookcase and window, with dark hardwood floors]
- Memories from preschool
- being dressed as a [ridiculous] scarecrow [for a fall/ harvest party]
- playing with my cousin on the playground during outside playtime
- a play date with a friend after preschool
- a rope swing my dad had put up in the basement for my brothers and I, [and how the waxy black rope felt and scratched my hands each time I climbed on it]
- playing on my dad’s computer, in his office, which was down in the basement as well [Dora the Explorer and Oswald games especially]
- burning myself with my mom’s iron [which i still vaguely have a scar of to this day]
- playing with an older neighbor girl [especially one evening when I went to ask her to play, her parents let me in the house, and she told me she didn’t want to play]
(5/13/17 and 11/16/17)
- going to “the babysitter’s” house while my parents worked and the smell of the old farm equipment in the barn on her property
- one time in particular when me, my brother, a few other kids, and the babysitter’s son where in the back room of her house, jumping around, and a porcelain item was broken by the son, my brother was blamed for it, and as the son didn’t admit it was him, my brother was sent crying to time out.
- one of my cousins’ basement, with a full room devoted simply to dress up clothes (actually, that house was kind of magical for me, and I believe I lost one of my teeth there, and from there, went out to dinner with my family where I ordered mashed potatoes because of the new hole in my mouth where the tooth had been … don’t ask me how I remember that)
- introducing my grandfathers at a birthday party (yes, they had met before, but I didn’t know how to understand that)
- reenacting the Christmas story each year around Christmas time with my brother and my dad (my youngest brother was barely born at this point), using baby dolls I had
- exploring the house my parents were building, that would then go on to be the house I would live in for 17 years before moving out after I got married
Writing these out, I found the list became more about what childhood memories could I remember instead of simply focusing on my earliest. I can tell you, as far as I can date, receiving the Dragon Tales stuffy is my earliest, supported memory; I was roughly 4 and a half at this time. However, sitting here writing these out, I vaguely remember sitting in the hospital bed with my mom right after I became a big sister, and I remember a pack of crayons she had given me as a gift. This memory is a lot whispier than the other one, given I would have been just over two years old when my younger brother was born. And neurologically speaking, the stuffed dragon memory is more likely my oldest “legit” memory.
As someone with a psychology degree, I understand how unreliable memory is, and how easily invalid information can be placed into memories. But, I did have the stuffed dragon for a number of years, and so, to a degree, I believe that helped me to solidify that memory as my oldest one.
What do you guys think? What are some of your oldest memories? Would you turn one of your memories into a story line, and if so, how? Why do you think exploring oneself is helpful to writing?
Ciao for now,