Wednesday, December 12, 2007

earliest memory

It's surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time - Barbara Kingsolver

Do you know what your earliest memory is?

I think I figured out what mine is today, and I don't know if it's good or not!

We were talking about chickens at lunch and I was recounting a story about when I was a child and my parents had chickens. When I was just a tot they decided that they were going to (with a bunch of their friends) kill and butcher the chickens themselves. There is a photograph of me at about 2 or 3 kneeling on a table in my navy jumper and tights and cute little blue cardigan sweater looking at a half butchered chicken. I don't remember that part very well.

Today when I was telling that story, though, I had a vivid memory of our friend Lawrence showing me an egg that was still inside one of the chickens when he was cutting it up. I remember that it looked just like an egg but that the shell was still soft and squishable. I can see it as clearly as if it was yesterday. I have a few other memories, but it's getting so that I don't know if the memory is actually mine or if I have seen a photograph of it and it has turned into a memory. So I think that this is my first honest to goodness memory.

A dead chicken and a squishy egg. What does that say about me?

What is your earliest memory?


Sarah said...

My earliest memory is of lying in my crib (which was a red toybox that my dad had made and hung from the ceiling). I remember just lying there, looking up and being fascinated by the patterns of the paint on the ceiling, and listening to the voices of my parents somewhere beneath me.


Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

My earliest memory is a sad one: of the night my grandfather died. I wrote about it here:

I know what you mean about not always knowing which are real memories and which are fabricated from photos and stories. An odd thing, this memory business.

Annie said...

Hi Megg. I love first memory stories. Yours is terrific. My earliest memory is of being in the backseat of a huge Nash sedan. I was 2-3 years old. I lay on the backseat looking out at the desert night sky staring up at the stars. The stars were so bright all those years ago, it could have almost been bright enough to read by. Merry Christmas Megg, Annie

pERiWinKle said...

I'll have to let you know...have to think if it was a memory or just a photo?! Love your story...can just imagine...can you remember what you were feeling or thinking when seeing all that?

ceanandjen said...

I would have to say that my earliest memory is either playing outside in my little pool during the summer or watching "Mutual of Omeha" with my least those are the snapsnots in my head, so I will go with them.

I have to say that this image of the chicken that you have in your head is a bit distressing. :-( Somehow I just know that you have other very happy memories that walk right along side that one.


Maddie said...

My first memory is a bright
red Christmas ball on a tree ~
I was trying to reach it and
my Mom wouldn't let me touch it ~
so one day I snuck it off the tree
by shaking the tree and hiding it
under my bed:)

Chloe said...

I can certainly see why that memory stuck with you! My earliest memories are of playing outside with a friend on the sidewalk in front of my house. But I was only about 3 or 4…would my mother really have let me run the streets at that age? I’ll have to check with her about that one!