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Early memories?

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It occurs to me that some of my friends' kids are older than I was in my earliest memories, which means when they're grown up, they may still remember some of the interactions they're having now.

Which roundaboutly leads me to ask:

What's your earliest memory? Or one of them? And how old were you when it happened? And how clearly do you remember it?

3 Comments

My earliest clear memory is from when my brother was born; I have a memory of sitting in a booth with my grandmother waiting while my mom was in labor. I would have been two and a half years old. The problem with such memories is that I remember remembering it, if that makes sense, better than I actually remember it; I no longer trust that what I'm remembering is what actually happened.

The set of memories that are sufficiently linked together in a narrative that I feel like I remember "being me" doesn't really begin until third grade, when I was seven. My daughter is now eight, so presumably we're now on record, as it were.


Yup, I am with Jacob on this--I have some vague impressions/memories from 2-3 years old (I remember losing one of my front teeth, for sure, which happened before I was 3 when I knocked it out in an accident; I remember my mother watching some of the Watergate hearings when I was 5-ish, because I could NOT figure out what was so fascinating about what looked to me like a bunch of chairs on the TV). But 3rd grade is where it really came together, so 7-8 years old.


My earliest memory is when we lived in married students housing near UC Berkeley and a cat got stuck in a tree and the firefighters came to retrieve the cat. I remember the red truck and the stuck kitty and I think I remember you being very interested in the firefighters and pointing out the kitty in the tree to passers-by. I think I was about four or so.

And tangentially, Palo Alto, 1979 or 1980: Walking with our father on East Meadow in front of Mitchell Park. Conversation with him about how memory works and what your brain decides is unimportant and discards, vs files for future use. A lost kitty sign in the gutter. I point to it and say, "like that kitty sign," my brain will decide that's not important and it will be gone from my mind forever shortly? "Maybe," said Peter, "or maybe since you just brought it up in this context, you will remember it forever." (Of course not verbatim quotes, my memory is not THAT good.) Sure enough, it was the latter...and I think about that kitty poster and what Peter said almost every time I think about memory.


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