Saturday, 28 August 2010

What's your earliest memory?

So, it's a Bank Holiday weekend, the last big holiday of the year before Christmas. My children are away on holiday with their grandparents. (Well, actually, as I type this, they've not yet left but chances are, they will have gone by the time you get to read this!)

The children have been excited for weeks about it and no doubt, will come home with some lovely memories of a fun time with Granny and Granddad - more memories in the making possibly. It made me think about early memories of your life. I heard something on the radio a couple of weeks back that many people's early memories are false because it is impossible they would remember such things. Such "memories" develop from their parents and other family members retelling a story to them and the child developing the memory from their imagination, something that is particularly vivid.

I have two memories of early childhood. One of them has to be false. The other, I am fairly sure is real because it is something so insignificant, my parents would not have thought to tell me about it.

As a child, I had migraines. I remember these clearly because I suffered with them regularly into my teens, and then thankfully grew out of them. However, I have grown up to "remember" banging my head on a fence at a very young age (2 perhaps) because my head was hurting so much and I couldn't express the pain I was feeling clearly to my parents. As an adult, I realised I can't have remembered this and it must be because my parents told me that story many times. All I can think now is how worried they must have been.

My real early memory concerns the playgroup I attended. It was held in the church next door to the infant school I was due to attend. My one clear memory of it was playing outside there and looking through the fence at the children playing in the school playground. I remember wishing it was me as I was desperate to go to school and also thinking how grown up the school children were. On reflection as an adult, the oldest children would have been 7 so no age at all, but to me as a 3- or 4-year old, they were very grown up and I wanted to be them.

Of course, my time came soon enough. As I blogged earlier this week, I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved school from the moment I walked in the door. But that memory - of longing to be a child in that playground - has stayed with me throughout my life.

Now, I am going to throw it over to you. Tell me your earliest memory, whatever it might be. If you want, you can blog about it and link back to your post in the comments below. Or, just leave a comment. I'm doing this partly because I'm nosey but also because I'm fascinated by this subject, in the variety of memories and situations that are hopefully going to crop up.

Over to you....

32 comments:

  1. I remember sitting with my Aunt on the floor in the kitchen making drinks with my new mixer, we made kiora and condensed milk drinks. I got the mixer for my 3rd birthday. My mum doesnt remember this and my aunt is now dead, so this must be a real one

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  2. My earliest memory is hearing people over the fence in the house next door, while I was in the carport with Dad. I know I was less than 3, because my mother told me I was a precocious child and replied "2 and three quarters" then they asked me how old I was.

    I don't remember the visual details as well as the sound, and the sense of surprise that there were people there.

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  3. My earliest memory is of being scared of the record Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I have no idea why it scared me so much, I love it now I think it may have been cos its got such a heavy bassline to it! Or I recall sitting with a really old Sony Walkman with orange head phones, singing along to Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury, apparently I used to try and sing the foreign bits and get them all wrong, which my Dad found hilarious.

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  4. I remember biting an extension cord when it was plugged in! I still have burn scars on my lips, and my Mom used to obsess over them, and spent most of my teenager-hood badgering me to try to get me to consider plastic surgery. I remember the weird blotchy green/yellow/brown/white early 70s carpet, being very sore, and someone saying 'Oh! Curly!' and that's it.

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  5. My first real memory was being in bed one night and constantly moving the satiny edge of my cellular blanket up and down between my hands so that I always felt a cold part of it. I also remember a thunderstorm one night and mum bringing my younger sister in to sit in my room as she was afraid, but I wasn't. And a last one of sitting at the kitchen table and only being allowed to play with one toy while mum washed up. We moved from that house when I was 3 and 10 months.

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  6. I remember eating peanuts and raisins for snack at preschool and making them into a sandwich.

    I love to recall childhood memories. I actually have a blog dedicated to it:0 There's a lot of history, healing, and legacy involved in the process.

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  7. My earliest memory was when I was 3 or younger and I was sat on the grassed area under the block of flats that we lived in until I was 3. One of the women from the flats used to throw ice pops to the kids who wer playing on the grass below. I know I wouldn't ley my 6 and 4 year old do that now on their own never mind a 3 year old. How times have changed.

    The memory I'm not sure if it's mine or my dads version of things translating into a memory is the day my brother was born and I went to work with my dad. I do have visual recollections of the day but I'm not sure if I've created them from what my dad has told me. The ice pop memories definitely predates this one though.

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  8. I remember climbing out of my cot. I distinctly remember the sensation of falling to the ground once I was over the top. I have always strongly stood by the fact that this is my very own memory but a psychologist friend of mine told me the theory that you were talking about and it is in fact a created memory.
    Still, I'm not letting anyone take it away from me!

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  9. I have a rubbish memory. And only know I have memories <5yrs as we moved to the UK then. So memories are pre and post move! Pre move:

    1) chucking stuff out of the window at the girls downstairs with my brothers
    2) rescuing a manky cat in park & bringing it home & having to take it back
    3) stealing (ahem) picnic food from people in park with , hiding it in a bush & a couple of days later seeing a homeless person eating it

    4) the excitement of christmas & arguing whether Christkind (baby jesus is the key protagonist in an Austrian Christmas) exists (of course he does)
    5) falling asleep lots at kindergarten & waking up with everyone staring at me

    That is about it memories wise for my time in Spain.

    Maggy

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  10. My earliest memory takes me back to the late seventies, before things like health and safety mattered - mum used to take me and my sister up to Luton airport to watch all the planes go by, land and take off. There was a little cafe right next to the runway - yes, right next to the runway, separated from certain death only by a wire fence. This particular day was hot and sunny, and I remember Daydream Believer by the Monkees playing on the cafe radio (also my earliest memory of music and a specific song). I remember mum holding me up in her arms so I could be closer to the planes. Loud wasn't the word - deafening was more apt. I would have been about 3 and a half, my sister about 2. Happy days.

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  11. I have very few early memories... My earliest defnite "real" memory is going back to school one afternoon after having my preschool jabs and my friends being told to be nice to me as I might be feeling poorly and getting to be "the baby" in the home corner - I can picture me sat in the little cot in there...

    I have some memories a few months early of us moving house but how much of that is real or created I don't know. My dad once told me there is a theory that early memories are often created by things that you haven't "resolved" or don't really understand. So either I am fairly balanced or I have had so much trauma I have blanked it out! I think with digital photography we probably take a lot more "incidental" photos these days which will help create memories for our children.

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  12. My earliest memory is walking through really really long grass. Having to move it away with my hands it was so long. I'm not sure really where I was, but my mum says when I was about 18-24 months we used to go walking in a field behind our old house which had ultra long grass.

    I don't remember the house or the area, we left just as I was two but I do remember walking through the grass. Not in any much detail, just enough to remember I did it. I think I was with my Mum and our dog, Oscar.

    I must have been having a nice time ;) x

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  13. My earliest memory is my Dad walking me to playgroup one day when I was 3 or 4. I remember there being snow on the ground (at the time I thought it was really deep but looking back it must have only been an inch!) and I was wearing a green snow-suit and my brand new, shiny red wellies!

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  14. Like all of us, I have things I think I remember but can't decide whether it's because I've been told, or because it's a genuine memory. Also, like you, ny earliest memory must be real because I don't think it would be significant enough for anyone else to bother about.

    I must have only been 3, my sister, who is 2 years younger than me was in her highchair having tea. I don't know what the meal was, but I can remember the peas - my mum was mashing hers down for her with a fork. I wanted to do the same with mine, but I was told that I was a 'big girl' now and didn't need mine squashing down. I was SO cross ( I think I must have resented my younger sister, becuase obviously up until she was born, I had all the attention - I was the first child, first granchild, first niece), I just thought how nice it would be to have mashed peas too! To this day, I do like a pea puree!!

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  15. My earliest memory is the smell of the gravy at nursery & the size of the bath they put you in!!

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  16. Aw, lovely memory. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Thanks for sharing that, Kirsty. It's funny what we do remember, isn't it? I can remember really minor details sometimes and my mind seems to skip the major ones. ;)

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  18. LOL, lovely auditory memories. Thanks for sharing them. Both music related.

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  19. Thanks for the comment, Mary. That sounds quite a scary occurrence so no wonder your remember it!

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  20. hi Soph, thanks for commenting. One thing I'm noticing about all these memories is that they are often really tiny moments in a child's life but they stick for some reason. I'd love to understand it better and perhaps work out why that is.

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  21. Hi Janna, thanks for commenting. Wow, peanuts at preschool - you'd never find that in a preschool these days!! And LOL at making them into a sandwich. My children are sandwich obsessed too!

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  22. Hi, thanks for the comment. I know what you mean about what we did as kids that we wouldn't do now. Mine do play out but only where I can see them and I get very very cross if they exceed the limits I set with them.

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  23. hi there, thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. It's really hard to separate reality from fantasy, isn't it? I am sure even as an adult I imagine things that become memories in my head. Still, as you say, it's your memory. You keep it!

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  24. Wow, Maggy, thanks for this. Lots of memories. Do you know which one came first?

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  25. Wow, Tabby, what a memory! thanks for sharing it.

    My mum and dad had a friend who was a fireman at Heathrow. He took us on a tour when I was about 6, part of which included dashing us up the runway as a plane took off over us. There is NO WAY they'd be allowed to do that now. They also allowed us on a plane and I distinctly remember taking a menu away with me. Think it was a Pan Am jumbo. Equally, they'd not be allowed to do that now - a far more innocent age.

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  26. Hi Elaine, thanks for commenting. That's interesting about the theory of early memories.

    I have a similar memory to you from early school - obviously later than the one in my post as I was in reception class by then. I had my appendix out in my first term at school and was in hospital for nearly a week. When I went back to school, I remember my teacher (who was called Mrs Kendall) telling everyone that they had to be careful of my tummy.

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  27. Hi Becca, thanks for the comment. That's really interesting as a memory and again, it's all about the detail rather than the situation.

    Great one to share, and very very early too.

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  28. Hi, thanks for the comment and thanks for sharing! That's a lovely memory and so colourful too!

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  29. LOL, Sharon. Sibling rivalry distilled into an early memory. Brilliant!! I am sure my two will eventually remember sometihng that involves something one of them doesn't have as they are terrible copy cats.

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  30. LOL, Julia, how evocative!!

    Thanks for sharing.

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  31. Hi... my earliest memory is being in my cot, so I was about 2 years old. I had been sick everywhere and someone came to visit and was brought into see me!! That's it!

    I have another very early memory (cue music from the Twilight Zone!) of walking to my bedroom, standing there quietly in the dark then floating to the ceiling and down again..and walking out of the room saying nothing to no-one. It was too weird to repeat! It is a memory and not a dream!

    xx Jazzy

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  32. Whoops. I apparently tried to help my Dad when he was peeling wallpaper in my bedroom. Next morning, with new wallpaper applied, they found me in my cot peeling the new wallpaper off the wall. I was not popular apparently. ;)

    Your floaty memory is odd tho. I read about out of body experiences once and they sounded totally weird.

    Thanks for commenting!

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