Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Trio of Earliest Memories - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings regularly hosts Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  This week's assignment, suggested by Janice Sellers, is to answer the following questions.  Thanks for hosting, Randy, and thanks for the idea, Janice.
1) What is your earliest memory?  How old were you, where did you live, who are the characters in your memory?

It's hard to know which of these memories is the earliest but it's possible and likely that I was younger in the first than in the other two accounts.

My mom did not seem a particularly maternal mother.  It was almost as though she had some discomfort touching me.  I remember being little -- maybe two, maybe three years old -- wearing a one-piece footed sleeper, and I'd been crying.  Mom was sitting in a rocking chair, holding me and rocking.  She was wearing cologne (which I might recognize if I smelled it but cannot describe), and was dressed up, maybe ready to go out for the evening.  She was either trying to comfort me or just trying to get me to quit crying.  I had a sense of her unease, almost discomfort.  It's just a wisp of a memory.

I have a vague, nebulous memory of awaking in a crib, climbing over the side, and going downstairs to the living room in our home on Furnace Street in Mineral Ridge.  Surely I was three years old or younger.  It must have been a late afternoon in mid or late fall because I remember that the windows and doors were closed and the house was warm.  I can't remember who was in the living room but I think they were surprised that I'd gotten out of the crib and come down the stairs.  I especially remember the golden glow of the setting autumn sun coming through our living room window. 

Another memory from about the same time is of my mom cleaning the living room.  She had moved the furniture to the center of the room so she could dust the baseboards and clean the floor.  My father was repairing a watch at his roll-top desk in the adjoining room.  I was sitting on the edge of the couch, possibly playing with a doll.  My father came into the room, picked me up, and put me over his knees.  He told me that since it was my third birthday he would spank me three times, which he did.  Then he stood me up and give me a large coin, probably a half dollar or a silver dollar.

I think it's strange and interesting how little strands of events, sometimes the most mundane, common events, stay in our memory, while some of the most important events seem to have been completely erased.  It's also strange how the events before and after the memory don't exist in my mind.

Thanks for the genealogy fun, Randy.


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  1. Those are interesting little bits of memory. I've often pondered on that, too, that we forget important things, but these little bits of nothing stick with us.

    1. I think it's strange which bits stick with us, too. You'd think the details of milestones or major events would not be lost and the small "bits of nothing" would disappear from our memories. It's interesting how the mind and memory work.

  2. I often wonder if my early memories are really MY memories or just pictures I created in my head that fit stories my parents told me.

    1. Perhaps they are pictures created to fit stories, Wendy. (I call these second-hand memories:

      Since my parents were so close-mouthed about nearly every aspect of life before "now," I'm certain these are my own memories. They rarely shared memories.


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