Memory is perhaps the most fleeting phenomenon there is. I’ve lived for 20 years but if all my memories were played one after another how long would they last? Seven years? Five?Whole days and years that I existed and did things but have no recollection of and never will. And I have a good memory.
I don’t know how old I was, but I feel like I was in elementary school. It was a dinner with family friends and the subject had turned to children. It often did, my parents have their Phds in child psychology and all their friends had children many years after my sister and I were bor, making my parents the go-to resource for any questions related to children. However we got to the subject, I don’t remember, my Mama said that most people don’t remember anything from before arounmd the age of five. I butted in at this point, children weren’t exiled from adult conversations in our family, to mention that my first memory was from when I was two. My parents were surprised, I guess I hadn’t told them this before, and wanted to know what this memory was.
My first memory is two-fold, I don’t know if it really happened this way, I probably combined two things that happened fairly close together. Anyway, the memory starts with me running back and forth in the playroom pushing a little block cart. It’s the kind of toy made for toddlers just learning how to walk; we kept it for years but I know this is a very early memory for two reasons. First in the memory I’m reaching slightly up to hold the handle, and I know that the handle was only about a foot off the ground. Second, this handle eventually broke off, and the bottom half of the cart just turned into a rolling platform, but my sister learned to walk with it too, so it had to be from when I was very young.
This is where the second half of my memory comes in. My parents are sitting and lounging on the floor respectively, close to the windows. I run over and basically throw myself in front of them. They say that they have important news to tell me, that I’m going to be a big sister. That’s where the memory ends, I couldn’t have been more than two years and three months old.
From here the memories fracture. I remember being in the hospital when my sister was born. I remember seeing our family friend Carlos in a window, he was there to drive me and my mother home, I don’t remember seeing my sister in the hospital. Though maybe that’s because these memories are from the time when I was in the hospital for croop, I clearly remember that ride in the ambulance.
I have memories of playing in the playroom, and going to preschool. A friend named Hailey who didn’t like me all that much, and being scolded by the cook for not liking chicken noodle soup. They had to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. These memories don’t quite form a stream though, continuity doesn’t come until elementary school, where I also have some memories that I find quite, peculiar.
In my front yard there is a Japanese Maple tree. My grandparents planted it in the 70s. I walked to elementary school since it was right behind my house and I can remember running home as fast as I could (having given my Mom my backpack to carry) and jumping as high as I could to hit my head on this one particular branch. I remeber feeling incredibly triumphant the first time my head scraped against it. Nowadays that branch is only chest high, whenever I look at it I struggle to imagine being so short that I had to jump to hit it. It’s my most physically striking memory, proof that time has passed and that I have grown up. But the memory that strikes me the most is more psychic.
I was walking to class in the morning. It was Mrs. Appicella’s third grade class. I was looking at the boys walking in front of me and I thought, I need to pay attention to this moment, because soon it will only be the past and a memory. I can experience this moment now but I won’t be able to after this moment. Pretty heavy for an eight year old. Now anyways, I realize I won’t even have all of my memories, so I try to pay attention like I did when I was 8, and I try to make the moments I’m paying attention to worth remembering.
I wrote this during class on Monday, but have only just now gotten around to typing it up. Memory is so weird, it makes me glad to have a blog, an external hard drive for my brain. See you tomorrow for my week in review!