Friday, November 23, 2007

Earliest memory meme

Via Eleanor Bloom

I’m pretty sure this is my first memory. It doesn’t add up to much, but here it is.

I have a memory of holding out this stapled book I had made and showing it to my mother. It had two stories in it.

The first one was called ‘Joanne Peg’. It went: ‘Joanne Peg found a worm in the dirt.’ That was the whole story.

The second one was ‘Me and My Friend’. It was a little bit longer. My best friend’s parents had died, so she was coming to live with us forever. ‘Wheee!’ There is a picture of two stick figure little girls joyfully bounding on twin beds, because they are so very happy.

I remember this second story with a kind of retrospective horror that it obviously did not occur to my childhood self that my friend would be devastated rather than pleased if her parents died. That her response would not, in fact, be: ‘Wheeee!’

I was four years old. I was very proud of my book. I can remember the bright texta colour drawings and that I was standing in our cement courtyard in the backyard when I gave it to my mother. It was hot.

I don’t remember my mother’s response. She probably just said it was lovely, I guess. As you do.


The meme doesn’t ask for a second or third memory, but I’ve dredged them up anyway, so ...

I remember being at school, in Prep. I remember that I had very long, very straight hair that hung past my bottom. It took a long time for my mother to brush it for me. I usually wore it in two long plaits, tied with ribbons to match my clothes.

My mother says I came home from my first day of school quite annoyed. My parents are teachers, and I had thought that I was going to teach the other kids. I was shocked, apparently, to discover that I was expected to be one of the taught. I adapted quickly though.

I was very small and very quiet. I had a best friend who lived around the corner from us. We shared the same name. She was tall and, while by no means fat or even chubby, she was a solid girl. They called us Big A and Small A. She was about six months older than me, and it was her job to walk me to and from school. One day she forgot and I waited in the school office for a very long time until my mother came to find me an hour or so later. Big A was in a lot of trouble.

In the playground, I sometimes played Star Wars with the boys. There was only one part for a girl, so I was the only girl allowed to play. It probably helped that I wore my hair in braids, making me a perfect Leia. The raised wooden fort in the playground was our Starship Enterprise. There was only the one Star Wars movie back in those days, so no one knew that Darth Vader was Luke’s father or that Luke was Leia’s sister. At some point in the game, ‘Luke Skywalker’ would kiss me.

There was a girl in my class named B. She had very short, cropped hair and she lived with her grandmother. She was always in trouble and her grandmother was always being called up to the school. One day, sitting next to me in class, she pulled out her scissors and chopped off one of my plaits. I cried and cried.

Another day, B inexplicably went missing. They searched the whole school for her. They rang her grandmother to see if she’d walked home. She hadn’t. The police were called to comb the neighbourhood. My teacher was frantic. After this had been going on for a while, to everyone’s shock, B crawled out from under a desk in the corner of the room, where she had been hiding all that time.

F loves to hear these two stories, and asks for them so often that I have invented a raft of other ‘B’ stories over the years.

I remember sitting in a circle on the carpet one day, the teacher asking us in turn what we wanted to be when we grew up. There were the usual firemen, teachers, nurses, football players and doctors. When it came to me, I quite innocently said that I wanted to be a mother. Everyone laughed. I hadn’t realised that would be funny, and that I was supposed to come up with a ‘real’ job.

F loves that story, too. He said to me one day, quite out the blue, that of course I was a good parent, because I’d always wanted to be a mother, ever since I was a little girl.


I'm supposed to tag at least five people, but I'm going to do the cop-out option instead: if you like the idea of this meme, please do it, and please let me know if you have so I can pop over and read it!

So, the rules are:

1. Describe your earliest memory where the memory is clear, and where "clear" means you can depict at least three details;
2. Give an estimate of your age at the time;
3. Tag five other bloggers with this meme. (Or, do as I did and just extend an open invitation)


meli said...

What wonderful stories! I do like this meme, yes - i'll try to do it in the next day or two...

robi-d said...

I agree! Fantastic stories, and isn't it wonderful how these stories grow into the fabric of our children's lives and imaginations, as well as no doubt our own, in the telling of them?

eleanor bloom said...

Wow. Your mum must have been horrified at your hair being cut - or half of it at least.

I used to write stories when I was a kid too. And before I could write I would scribble fake cursive onto several sheets of a pad. Sometimes I would then crunch up the pages and smooth them out so they were like crinkly old papers and made a cool noise.

Am looking forward to your series of children's books on B. I'm guessing they will be similar to Ramona the Pest...?
Do you know whatever happened to B?

Ariel said...

Thanks for the meme, Eleanor! (And liked your go at it too, Meli, as I think I said on your site.)

Yeah, Mum was pissed off. (I'm sure.) What attnetion to detail in those crinkly pad papers ...

I think my series on B would be too naughty to write! One of them involved her sawing a cat in half, I'm afraid. I don't remember many of the others I've made up over the years.

No idea what happened to B. I do wonder, though.