Sometimes I wonder if my first memory is an actual memory or an implanted memory from a photo or story told by a family member. I have specific memories of the first home I remember living in and I know I lived in this home from the time I was two until just before my sixth birthday.
As the oldest of three children, my brother is 18 months younger than me and my baby sister was 18 months younger than my brother. We were stair steps, or so everyone said, although I’ve seen the early pictures for myself and mom seemed to always line us up like steps.
I think I can remember my brother as a baby, lying beside him on my parent’s double bed. But is really a memory, or just the picture I have hanging in my hallway, the one of us laying on the bed. Granny said I was like a little mother hen, but I think this is her memory, not mine. I do have a vivid memory of pushing Brent in a toy car in the backyard and try as I might, I can’t find a picture like this, so I feel this is a true memory.
I have another vivid memory of my brother, and he was walking, so I must have been at least three, if not a little older. We were playing in the backyard with our See ‘n Say – I was trying to teach him the sounds of all the animals – when a thunderstorm blew up. Mom rushed us inside before it started raining, but in our hurry to get inside, we left the See ‘n Say in the yard. Mom tried her best to get me to run across the yard to get the toy before the rain ruined it, but I was too afraid of the rain. She ended up racing into the yard while my brother and I both cried at the back door. I don’t remember anything else about the See ‘n Say, but this is one toy I bought when I had children of my own.
I also have a memory of swinging on our swing set and singing at the top of my lungs for my next door neighbor to come out and play with me. Diane was probably five or six years older than me, but I loved to follow her around. I would get on the see saw glider and sing; “Diane, Diane, come out and play with me.” My mother likes to tell this story, and a few years ago I met Diane again for the first time in probably 35 years, and she remembered me singing for her to come out and play. I know this is not an implanted memory, because I can actually remember the tune I used to sing to.
One other memory is of a baby chicken my brother and I owned. I’m not sure if it was an Easter present or not, but I think it must have been. The chicken eventually got too big to keep in the house, and we were going to have to take it to Granny and Granddaddy’s farm in Bohon. I cried so hard because I didn’t want the chick to leave. On the day we were to take the chick to the farm, I was in charge of carrying the chicken which we had placed in a closed box. On the way to the car, my parents were too busy talking, so I lagged behind so I could hide the chicken.
Passing by the tobacco barn to get to the car, I opened one of the vents on the side of the barn and threw my chicken in, closing the vent as quickly as I could. Unfortunately for me, we only got a few miles out of town before Mom and Dad missed the chicken and I was forced to tell them what I did. I’m sure I probably got into trouble, but I don’t remember that.
Real or implanted, pictorial or video, I have many memories of my childhood, but try as I might, I’m really not sure what my very first memory is. All I know for sure is that I love to share my memories with my children, and I love to listen to the memories they remember from their lives.