Sunday, April 16, 2006
Prompt: When We Were Wee....
My First Memory
Often I have wondered how does memory work? Not from a scientific perspective but from an emotional one. What our minds chose to remember or forget is within our control. But how far back can we remember? Certainly not our birth. Our first memories are typically BIG moments like a near drowning when our dad races to the bottom of the pool and scoops us out or when we first learn to ride a bike. These moments define us, scare us, or delight us and most definitely shape us.
My first memory is being told to hush. This was an usual moment for me. I was always such a joyful child and my mother and grandmother were always happy to have me in tow. Being told to hush was a big deal. I didn't understand why, but I was being told to be quiet.
What I remember is that the T.V. was in our breakfast room. That was not the normal everyday thing in our household. We had one T.V. in those days and it resided in my grandmother's room. My mother and grandmother had tissues in their hands. They were crying. I must have been talking as they were watching television. I didn't really understand but I knew it had to be something really important. So I sat quietly on the breakfast room floor and watched my mother and grandmother cry. That is all I remember.
What amazes me and others about this memory is that I was only 16 months old. But in my mind I can see that little snapshot of them crying as clear as day. Many people I have told this story to say there is no way I could remember, but I do! And the reason is simple. It was November, 1963 and my mother and grandmother were watching the funeral of John F. Kennedy on T.V. Maybe because his murder so defined that time. Maybe because his murder and funeral were the catalyst for how Americans now experience the news. I'm not really sure.
As I grew older I somehow held onto that recollection. I can't recall J.F.K.'s murder or funeral, although I have seen them countless times on T.V. since. What I do remember was being told to hush by the two woman I loved most and for me that has forever been embossed in my memory bank.
Posted by Otter at 9:53 PM