Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday Scribblings

Sunday Scribblings

# 3

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.


GreenishLady said...

Yes. I believe you held the memory. I had a "memory" for years of waving at his car as he passed through Limerick on his visit to Ireland. Only very recently did I discover he didn't take the route I thought. Now I don't know WHO was in the cavalcade I waved at, but it wasn't JFK.

Marilyn said...

I've known people who can remember quite vividly things that happened well before they were three or so, so I believe you when you say you recall this.

paris parfait said...

Nice account of a poignant memory! I, too remember his death and how different people reacted around me. Lovely post.

Kim G. said...

Thanks for sharing the memory!

Kara said...

thanks Lisa - I mentioned your post to my husband and because of that I learned about his first memory - I believe you about your memory. My first memories are a jumble and it's hard to know what is actually the first one - but you got me really thinking about it.

Brad said...

My mind just did a flashback to the death of MLK and my mom crying over the ironing board.

Thanks for the neuro-interaction!

Its always a pleasure to reconnect with my own thoughts. Like an old friend.

eliza said...

my sister tells me that one of her first memories is of looking up at the light from the bottom of a pool and yours truly reaching down to pull her up. i vaguely remember the day, but i don't remember doing it!

that is so cool, that you have a vivid memory that old.