Let’s Play A Game

It is fascinating how children remember and why some things are remembered and not others. Some of us have very early memories while others seem to have been school age before they retained much of anything. Upon seeing an article that asked a number of people what their earliest memory was I thought it might be an interesting thing to do here. So, feel free to relate your earliest childhood memory and how old you were when it happened in the comments thread.
     Posted By: patty - Fri Apr 13, 2012

I'll go first. I have a vague memory of climbing out of my crib and walking out into the living room. This would have had to be before the age of 2. I also have a very vivid memory from when I was 4. Daddy had a spell with his heart and collapsed while I was home alone with him. I clearly remember trying to roll him over to get to the pills in the pocket he was laying on because I knew I needed to put one in his mouth (nitroglycerin). Being unsuccessful in that I covered him with his coat (wintertime), then I got on the CB radio we had and called for help. There were CBs in the cars so mom heard me and drove like a maniac to get home. Dad was ok that time, he had 4 more years with us after that. But then we usually remember traumas I guess.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 04/14/12 at 12:07 AM
My earliest memory is of being locked in the cellar at the babysitter's house. We would be in there from the time my mother left until a few minutes before she was due to pick us up. This ended abruptly the day my mom showed up early from work. I was 2 at the time, and I have not been able to go into a cellar in the 50 years since.
Posted by Donna on 04/14/12 at 12:29 AM
My earliest memory is when I was six and was walking to school - I was in first grade, and the school was three blocks away. It was raining, and when I got to school, my teacher poked fun of me because my galoshes were switched around on the wrong feet, and when I pulled them off, my shoes came off with them. She said she should tell my mother to draw an "L" and "R" on my galoshes so I'd know which one went on which foot.
Posted by Robert on 04/14/12 at 12:34 AM
We lived on the corner, and at the very corner was a Silver Maple, a big tree, and it had a large hollowed-out place in the lower part of the trunk. The hollow was big enough for me to get inside, up to my early teens. Well, this happened when I was around three. One evening as it was getting dark, I walked over by the hollow of that tree, and inside I saw an owl, what now I know to have been a young one. I got my dad, and when he picked it up, it bit him. What happened after that I don't remember, but I'm guessing that poor owl met its fate. That's the earliest thing in my memory.
Posted by Drew on 04/14/12 at 01:08 AM
My earliest memory is of my Dad coming home from Vietnam. I remember him walking in to the living room in his uniform and I was standing by the dark green couch. He'd been away at war and I think I wondered who this person was and why everyone was so excited to see him. I believe I was 2 at the time.
Posted by Marianne on 04/14/12 at 07:29 AM
Wow, some great stories guys! I knew this thread would become interesting. Anybody else?
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 04/14/12 at 08:00 AM
I remember waking from a nap (pre-school) and seeing a "ghost" in the doorway to my bedroom. Sunlight was shining through so who knows what speared it.

I remember being on my grandmother's lap counting out the $1 bills into stacks of 10. Then 10 stacks made 100. This was pre-school because by the time I got to kindergarten (age 4) I already count into the thousands. My Great-grandpa taught me black-jack about this same time.

I also remember (kindergarten) my teacher slowing wiggling here fingers at me (like she was going to tickle me) and me screaming while backing away into the cloakroom. 1951? She was BEAUTIFUL!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 04/14/12 at 09:50 AM
My absolute first memory is of playing with a black and white cat - I was told a few years ago that it had belonged to my sister, and I was about 2 and a half years old when the cat died, so I was about 2 and a half.

My next memory is the summer I spent with my Grandparents in the US when I was 3 - my Dad was in Vietnam and my mother was spending time in another city because my sister was in hospital with leukemia and being treated.
Posted by Aruvqan on 04/14/12 at 10:05 AM
I remember the old green Dodge, Mama throwing a big white duck/goose into a swamp, it was rolling down the hill. I embarassed her years later when this was recollected. A farmer had given it to us, she didn't know how to cook a duck, being from chicken and pork poor farmer stock, so she chucked it. I was younger than 2 or around that!
Posted by jim dukes on 04/14/12 at 10:12 AM
I can remember being fascinated by some models of knights on horseback which belonged to the son of the woman who lived on the floor below us.... I was about 3 then. That would have been 1952 so I guess they were probably cast metal figures.
Posted by steve on 04/14/12 at 10:27 AM
I remember having Chicken pox when I was 2 and a half. I remember sitting on the living room floor scratching when the paperboy came to the door. I know this is a true memory because I have the chicken pox scars where I scratched. I am sure about the age because it was before my younger brother was born and the weather was warm.
Posted by Judy on 04/14/12 at 11:00 AM
For a long time the earliest thing I could remember was from just before I turned two. I had been warned not to climb on top of the bathroom sink (it wasn't supported, just bolted to the wall) to look in the mirror, but I kept doing it until one day the sink just snapped off the wall. I came crashing down and jets of water were spraying in my face. I was terrified.

However, I now have an earlier memory that was jogged by returning to the farmhouse I was born in. I saw that we had transparent sticker in the window with a picture of a fireman and a message that in case of fire there was a baby in the room with the sticker. I immediately remembered looking up from my crib and watching how the sunlight made the sticker glow. Apparently I hated the crib (made out of on old wine cask and still smelled of wine according to my mother) and so they moved my to a bed in another room when I was about one.
Posted by Miles on 04/14/12 at 11:25 AM
When I was around 2, I recognized the logo for a local department store a newspaper ad. I find't quite "read" it as much as "recognize" it. I jumped up and down, repeating the store name and pointing at the ad. It was so cool to me that the big sign outside the store was reproduced, smaller, on the paper in our house.

My mom had taught 2nd grade before I was born. She realized I was ready to learn how to read and taught me the letters and sounds. At two and a half, I could read 36 words.
Posted by girlgeniusNYC on 04/14/12 at 12:17 PM
I was still crawling, 4-5 mos. old? on the floor of my grandfather's house. my uncle placed on the floor in front of me a little toy model T car. it was magic, cause it would go without batteries. Even at that age, i knew the batteries wore out in 1 day, and my folks would never buy new batteries for toys. It was magic 'cause there was a little lever on the right side of the car. you push it down, and the car rolls away! It rolled away from me, i crawled after it. it disappeared. (MY uncle had picked it up; obviously it wasnt for me.) For all my life i wasn't sure if it really happened. Many years later i saw a photo of me chasing after that little car. Iknow i wasn't even a toddler; i couldnt have been more than 6 mos old.
Posted by harry ashburn on 04/14/12 at 12:53 PM
Heck of a story, Patty. Wow.

Most people I know say they have a hard time remembering much before they were four, but for some reason, I recall quite a lot (just don't ask me to remember anything useful like what I ate for breakfast today). People can probably remember a lot more early events than the realize, but can't get the chronology right (thinking the recalled memories come from an older age).

For example, I vividly remember assembling all my toys on the couch for my grandfather (one of the last times I saw him), recalling I was three or four; when I found the dated photos of the event, I realized I was 18 months old.

I remember much earlier events with fleeting but spooky clarity (even before age 1). Usually, memories are associated with unusual events, like visits from infrequent visitors or to unusual places like cottages.

Makes you realize that kids can be shaped by very early interactions, and they will retain those interactions better than than we chronologically endowed folk will retain recent interactions.
Posted by Harvey on 04/14/12 at 02:01 PM
WARNING. Little pitchers have big ears.
Posted by BMN on 04/14/12 at 04:00 PM
Some remarkable stories, folks. Whew!

Yeah, Harvey, seems t'me, kids not only can be shaped by very early interactions, but are, by practically all early experiences, because everything's new and impressed upon the blank slate; earlier memories loom larger in the homunculus of memory.

I have some -- too few -- very-early memories in muddled chronology. This one I think of as the earliest: standing in the driveway of the house where I spent my childhood, looking up at our house. Probably a toddler, that's how it feels in memory. I had not so much of a thought as a feeling, a deep impression, that "this is my home." Not just the house, but the whole relationship of place and family. Sad to relate, I lost that life at 13; divorce, broken family, change of town.

It's still a nice house.
Posted by A Mindful Webwobbler on 04/14/12 at 04:13 PM
miles is that you, sMiles? harry
Posted by harry ashburn on 04/14/12 at 04:14 PM
I remember sitting on my potty chair, eating graham crackers while waiting for my Mom on the big toilet to finish, so I must have been in high school, I mean under 2 years old. Also I used to think that I had an imaginary friend named Stevie, but when I mentioned him to my older sister, I found out that my Mom used to babysit a little boy named Stevie for about 6 months when I was about 3.
Posted by gamerjohn on 04/14/12 at 07:38 PM
Expat, I bet you were an adorable little boy! Thanks Harvey, I treasure it because it was the one time I was able to take care of daddy rather than him caring for me. Sorry about your misfortune with your family Mindful. I am so enjoying the memories everyone, thank you so much for sharing. I hope people keep adding to the thread.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 04/14/12 at 07:41 PM
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