May 13, 2003

First memories

image copyright Fred First

I was Abby's age now-- about two years and two months old --when my baby brother came home from the hospital. I held him with close supervision on a pillow in my lap. And that is my first clear memory. How old were you when you had your first 'permanent' memory? Do you think that Abby here will remember her visit to the farm to visit Granny Annie and Grampa Grumpy (translates to Dumpa Dumpy)? Will she remember wading in the cold creek? chasing the big black dog around the yard? or running free in the wide green field? Or will she have a false memory of it because we will tell her the story over and over, and she will see pictures of it, and these will take the place of memory?

Ah. She has just come downstairs and already is pushing her Fisher Price wheelbarrow into my desk chair, severely awake now and ready for another busy day. Abby sleeping is a noun; she has just transformed into a verb. And another day of potential first memories has begun.

Posted by fred1st at May 13, 2003 06:29 AM | TrackBack

Have great day, Fred and Abby!

Posted by: sainteros at May 13, 2003 09:56 AM

Abby is seriously adorable, Grandpa Grumpy.

Her first memory may surprise you. Mine is of lying in my crib watching dust motes in a sunbeam falling through the -- heck, what do you call those things they dangle over kids' cribs? Anyway, mine was birds. I remember them and I remember the sunbeams.

When I described the scene to Mother she said I must have been about a year old because that's when we moved to the house in which she still lives and my crib went under the window in their bedroom.

Posted by: Rana at May 13, 2003 11:42 AM

I now have to resist *always* calling you Grandpa Grumpy.

Abby is adorable, BTW.

Posted by: Cody at May 13, 2003 12:44 PM

Abby may not recall the actual visit and it will become overwritten with retelling and family stories...but the external sensory experiences are permanently burned into her synapse.

The smell of the morning dew on the meadow grass, the taste of clear creek water, the sound of calling birds...the feel and touch of Grampa's big hand keeping her safe as you explore.

I can clearly recall the color of Gran's yellow roses, apricot pie hot from the oven...the summer frog songs in the cooling evening...her smooth skin and the perfume of her Coty face powder.

Gramps whiskers in the morning before he shaved, his plaid flannel shirts and the way he deftly peeled an apple in one long strip...the smell of his big old leather chair.

You will never know how much such visits influence Abby, but they add to her layers of experience in a unique way. When I see a box of Coty face powder in a store, I know exactly how it smells and I smile to myself. I always peel apples in a long strip because it pleases me.

Have fun.

Posted by: feste at May 13, 2003 12:49 PM

One of my earliest memories (I can think of only two before it) is of my mom helping me climb up the front porch to our new house. The steps were not finished, so we had to straddle. I can see my sandals and squatty legs struggling up the stairs. I think many of my early memories may be my imagination, but I know this one is real. I remember the feeling of climbing, although I think my mom basically pulled me up most of the way.

Perhaps I remember it because my family was making a big change by moving. Maybe Abby will remember her visit with you since it is a trip out of the ordinary.

Posted by: Wendy at May 13, 2003 03:29 PM

she's a real sweetie!

i agree with feste - her subconscious will store various sensory impressions that will help shape her experience of reality and her sensibilities as she grows.

Posted by: Gianna at May 13, 2003 10:01 PM

Oh, how I envy those with the conviction of their memories. Although I have some memories of early childhood, so many of them have been proved to be indisputably wrong. I don't trust the remainder. But, feste is right. Whether Abby has specific memories of these times, the experiences will go into her "well being" bank. With enough deposits, she'll be able to draw upon that account for the rest of her life. This I know from experience. I remember my grandmothers (and two great-grandmothers and one great-great grandmother and one grandfather and one great-grandfather), not because we did exciting or great things together; but, because we just were together. One grandmother always had Double Mint gum in her roomy black purse. If all was right with the world, I knew that she would offer me 1/2 of a stick of that wonderful gum. And I was "allowed" to play with the electric fence around the hog pen (perhaps one reason that my memory is no more reliable than it is? Probably not.) The other grandmother read me bible stories and gave me the freedom to spend the whole day roaming in the fields and woods, and around the little cow pond in the next-door forty acres of her old home site (where I caught a white perch in a tin can--the only fish that I've ever caught.) My great-grandparents always bickered ("Fred S., if you don't shut up I'm going to run my fist right up your ...!"); but, their love was apparent to us all. When great-grandpa died, so did great-grandma. She didn't want to go on without him.
Abby will forever remember in her heart, and in every fiber of her being, the love in which she basks, today. That's the important part. Any other memories will be gravy.

Posted by: Cop Car at May 13, 2003 10:05 PM

I'm sorry I missed them. That wee chile is growing up under her uncle's nose, and I would've liked seeing her mamma again too. Next time.
Any rate, see you tomorry, Pop. Send warning to Granny Anny.

Posted by: Nate at May 14, 2003 11:06 PM

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