[I’ve been thinking lately about memory and what it tells us about who we were and are. There may be more of this, perhaps much more, in the coming year’s posts. In the meanwhile, here’s a short and easy one. Maybe it will get you thinking, too….]
My very earliest memory — without help from fading photographs or anything my parents told me — goes back to the summer I was two. I was playing with a large ball in a sunny room that was empty. We were away from home, probably at some resort in the Catskills. [My mother is not in the memory; she must have been somewhere behind me, talking to other women. The room may have been a sunroom of some kind, or perhaps left empty for dancing in the evening.] The ball got away from me and rolled into a corner of the room diagonally opposite. I watched it roll away without going after it. It didn’t even occur to me I should do that. Instead, I stood my ground and called out to the ball: “Ball, come here!” The women with my mother may have laughed gently when they heard this. But I don’t remember that. Only that the ball didn’t come.
Perhaps I remember this large ball defying me so long ago because it was my first experience of the world not complying with my wishes.
But what the memory tells me now is that in certain essential ways I haven’t changed in the many years since then:
- I am lazy.
- I am controlling. (Not always successfully.)
- I believe in the power of words.
What’s your earliest memory? And what do you make of it now that you are wise?