Central Snark

First memories… by Snuppy
Tuesday, 3 October 2006, 6:49am
Filed under: ponderings, Teh Penguin

Of late I have been spending lots of time with my family, especially grandpa and grandma. They are hitting 90 soon and if I don´t ask my questions now, I might never have another chance to be nosey again.

So we talked and talked and I had no idea what they lived through. Grandma at one point turned to me and asked “Monika, what is your first memory you can remember?”

Pyschologists or psychiatrists (potato potata!) have decided that the first memories you can have go back to the age of 3, not before that. I studied psycholgy for two years, there is a reason I stopped!

Mine was at the age of two and soemthing and it looked through my eyes like this:

“I was in a tiny bed and there were many tiny beds to my left and right. All the same size, same bed linen…there was a huge light in the center of the room and big closets lined up on one wall. Suddenly I hear a sound and I turn my head to the diretcion it is coming from. Through the little glass window in the door to my room, I can see a woman pressing an orange against the glass. She is smiling and waving at me. I don´t recognize her really until I notice her sparkling brown eyes and a sense of recognition dawned. I have looked into those eyes before. She comes rushing into the room, kneels down beside my bed and hands me the orange proudly. Then she stretches out her arms and I jump into them.”

That image comes from 1979 when my Mom came and picked me up from the orphanage. And although I was just going to spend 12 years with her, the smell of oranges still makes me happy!
Now you guys: Off you go and tell us about the first thing you can remember. A smell, a touch…a sound, something visual???

There must be something!

~teh Penguin~


32 Comments so far
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That’s a really nice story to share. I remember looking out a window in our apartment and wondering what that bright disk in the sky was. I had just finished my first Illinois winter and my second on Earth and I didn’t remember the sun.

Comment by Walela

Hi Penguin,

That memory of yours brings tears to my eyes. I ((((love)))) you. I don’t trust any of my early memories, but I do remember picking up my younger sister from the hospital after she was born. She was in a basket wrapped in a green blanket. I was 3 1/2 years old.

Comment by Gone to the Dogs ate my Bunny

Penguin: i lovelovelove this reflective mode you’ve been in over the past few days. and i adore your story.

one of my earliest memories occured when i was around 3… my father, who had a passion for the great outdoors, had taken us all (my mom & the 3 of us girls) up to an area in the Sequoia National Park known as Mineral King (you can see a bit of it HERE for a weekend get-away. at night, my younger sister (who was almost 2) and i were tucked inside a warm sleeping bag on a little cot near the fireplace in the tiny cabin we stayed in.

i can remember waking up in the middle of our 1st night there, cuddling with her and smelling the pine and roasting wood, and suddenly feeling very safe as i looked around the cabin, which was lit by a warm glow from the dying embers in the fireplace. i don’t know why this is such a vivid memory, guess it was just really warm and cozy, and represented a happy time for my family. it was also the start of my love affair with the mountains.

thanks for asking, sweet girl… oh, and, by the way, you *do* know some of the best oranges in the WORLD are grown in central & southern California, don’t you? (Florida grows great juicing oranges, but California’s are the ones you love to bite into!) xox

Comment by snuppy

Walela, phylosophical at an early age 🙂 When did you move on to orbits and eclpises? 4th?

brian, that is a lovey memory to. The colour, you new sister…it must have been a big day for you!

snuppy, you made it sound all warm and suggly and cozy…I am so happy for you to have had that memory and that feeling 🙂
I did not know that about California and its oranges…there is a lot of fruitiness going on there though 🙂

Comment by Penguin

I remember kindergarten. Must’ve been 6 – nothing before that. I remember the room, chalkboard, the sandbox, the kitchen set, big wooden blocks, trucks, round tables about knee height and orange plastic chairs. I remember Mrs Rutstein and Mrs, C – couldn’t say her last name. We each had a cubby hole to put our giant crayons and red eraserless pencils in and out coats. I remember seeing boys for the first time, didn’t know they existed until then. But I liked them, for some odd reason. Hmmmmm. I remember coloring and trying to make friends. It was hard for me. We lived in a solitary area – no other kids. This was my first experience at socialization and I wasn’t good at it.

I also remember that after school I would walk (?? by myself??) to the corner of Main Street and take a left. My Mom worked part time in the neighborhood donut shop. I thought she was pretty in her uniform. I always went in and sat at the far end of the counter on a high spinning stool. I got a chocolate milk and a donut, everyday. I remember talking to the guys who wisited the shop. I knew them all by name. It is a very happy memory. D :}

Comment by FelineFrisky

Penguin, I hate to confess this but I took Astronomy classes at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago starting at 6. You gave me too much credit. I still remember the ice cream sandwiches in the vending machine. Oh, and something about orbits or eclipses or something.

Comment by Walela

Hi FF,

My love, that is a wonderful memory that I have never heard from you before. Your mom was a beautiful and loving woman and we miss her so much. (((hugs)))


Comment by Gone to the Dogs ate my Bunny

FF, those are lovely memories.
Thsi one reminded me of one I had in kindergaten as well:
We were playing a game called “Magic”! Then the kindergarten teacher would put it in her hands, close her palms and say now go look for it and see where you find it. One of teh kids always found one and we looked in fascination and she did it again and again. After 6 or so rounds I figured out the trick, but I didnæt sya anything…´cause the other kids had so much fun playign the game.

Walela, there was a vending machine in my highschool. very fond memories of it! Section three in teh upper row was always empty, cleaned by myself 🙂

Bunny, a woman has to have her secrets 🙂

Comment by Penguin

At three, I remember when I was in Spain in someone’s backyard and my mom giving my brother and I an orange to eat. (Oranges must be good for the memory) Also, I remember waiting at a Catholic school cafeteria (again in Spain) where the nun/teachers were really mean and kept hitting me with a ruler. I guess I was rotten back then or something. (smile)

Comment by Pavel

I dont know how old i was when i had my first memmory but i rememmber crawling around on the flore and the bookcase with glass and the stars hanging over my bed. i cut my foot once at the playground and my mother caried me all the way home. i told her i rememmberd it and she was surprized and said i was three years old.

Comment by indeterminacy11

Pavel, Spain ey? And ornages are just that good! 🙂

indy, nice seeing you around here 🙂

Comment by penguin

my first television memory is Kennedy’s funeral.
I have memories from waaaay, way back, of wearing diapers and not being able to talk and crawling and putting things in my mouth. I think the first memory, though, is lying on a blanket in the back yard under an apple tree full of green apples, being inspected very closely by a robin!

Comment by FirstNations

pengie, this is a ROCKIN topic, btw. well done!

Comment by FirstNations

When I was a little girl my mom got very sick. (Which is strange because I got sick when I had a little girl and we were about the same age. odd eh?) I remember going to live with my bestemore and papa because my dad (he farms) couldn’t handle my sister and I. While that time period probbably was very tramatic for me, it also holds some of the most precious memories I have. I remember seeing my mom in the hospital and her not knowing she had children – I remember walking down the halls that were painted yellow and holding my dad’s hands. I remember thinking that they were the hugest hands I’ve ever seen. After that I remember watching Seasme Street with my Papa Alvin every day after he got home from work and how he smelled of old spice ….. I remember being rocked in my bestemore’s green rocking chair and her singing to me. I actually have the chair in my nursey and it is the chair I rock my children with. So Seasame Street, rocking chairs, and old spice….. mmmm

Comment by cj

FN, thank you and lying on a blanket underneath an apple tree sounds like a lovely first memory!
Well done!

Cj, it just goes to show that Whenever ther eis tragedy in life, there must be goodness too 🙂 Those were some lovely and saddening images. Thank you for sharing!

Comment by Penguin

Firstly Penguin – this is really a great post! So simple yet so deep in what it invokes. I left a comment earlier and it went who knows where as I had some battle with my Interent access earlier.

Having said that I don’t think I’ll look at an orange the same way again.

My earliest memory is of me in my first home known to me – we moved from there when I was 3 years old. I was in a crib and had either just woken from a nap or perhaps refused to go in for one – don’t remember that much. But in it, I am standing in the crib and the room is empty and I’m waiting for someone to pick me up. But I can also recall that there is sun streaming in the window.

As you know, I come from a large family so cribs weren’t used frivolously because another occupant might just be waiting. I imagine I couldn’t have been more than two.

I really enjoyed reading everybody’s memories today. Here’s to making more good ones.

Comment by When I was a little bulb...

By the way, I was going to point out that your first memory is from 1979 and that was my last one 🙂

Comment by When I was a little bulb...

G, that’s the funniest line ever.

Comment by Walela

My earliest memory is of crossing the alps against Rome.

Comment by Walela

Lampy, here is to many more new good memories 🙂 Thank you so much for putting yours up as well!

Walela, reincarnated dog? Interesting. Hey, I am not here to judge!

Comment by Penguin

Your first memory is a lovely one! Mine not so interesting, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of my earliest ones…

I just turned 3 and my mom was pregnant with squaresis #3 and her friend asked me what I wanted and I said “a girl, so it wouldn’t feel left out”. I always wondered if I really said this, but a couple years ago my mom’s friend asked me if I rmember telling her that, thus confirming that it really did happen.

I don’t remember this, but I was picked up by a police car and once peeled all the wallpaper of one of the nursery school walls, before the age of three…my old preschool teacher loves to remind me though.

Comment by Square-ish Girl

Square, nice seeign you here again 🙂 I remember my borther at teh age of 3 ripping wallpaper of grandma´s wall and blaming me for it. Such a little devil 🙂 Do you think it is a 3 yera of age kinda phenomenon?

Comment by Penguin


Comment by Lampshade Lady

i think he’s right, LL, i’m still laughing! (by the way, it’s pretty darn awesome to see you back in the blogosphere, NBFF!) xox

this was a truly inspired post today, lovely Penguin… i loved reading about everyone’s favorite childhood memories. it was really special. thank you for conjuring up such a terrific topic! you did good. xox

Comment by snuppy

What a beautiful and reflective post this is indeed my sweet Minka! As a mother I want to just swoop that baby you up from that orphanage and take you home with me!

I tend to be made fun of because of all the early memories I do have… I don’t know the age of them all nor which one is my earliest…

I remember falling into my grandparent’s pool, having forgotten to wear my rubber dinghy, and walked on the floor of the pool, towards the stairs and climbed out only to tell them off for not watching me better… no one believed that happened but I still remember how everything looked under water and how I seemed to have no trouble with the breath… eery…

I remember my brother being wild and always having long nails and so my back was always full of scratch marks from him…

I remember being a very insecure child who would cry anytime my mom was gone… not a good sign as it happened when I was much older too…

I remember our Danish summer house and my grandfather and the way things looked and smelled and how safe and secure I felt there when so teeny in that organized and pretty world…

I remember hating milk since I was very teeny… to this day I will not touch a glass of milk and don’t even try to get that junk close to my face or I will get nauseous!

I did have a very strong connection to animals since I was teeny, being able to speak to them in a way…

I don’t know, I am rambling but hey, my way of saying hola! Loved this post Monika! Fabulous just as you! That’s FO SHO!

Comment by Catty Yummy Mummy

Lampy, what?

snuppy, thank you. You know that your words soemtimes are as comforting as a warm blanket close to a fireplace?

CYM, every person is different and with that comes special features. You have them, in abundnace and I mean that in such a loving way. I hated milk and sauce and everythign as a small one as well…still do. ic anæt drink warm milk…I only have it in my coffee or jugurt form 🙂

Thank you everybody for dishing this nicely.
And I already feel I know you even a bit more:) You are an awesome comment section, the lot of you!

Comment by Penguin

CYM: i lovelovelove your memories… and may i say, they’re so YOU! (and i mean that in the most loving and admiring way possible) hope all the moving and insanity is going well (i owe you an email, and, with luck, i’ll be sending one later today!!) much love to you, beautiful BoheMian! xox

Penguin: thank you for those kind words… you have a way of warming my heart in exactly the same fashion, dear friend. i really did (and do) think this post was inspired, and i’m so glad you put it up yesterday. xox

ACTUALLY, unless WordPress starts cooperating soon, this may wind up being today’s post, as well. not that that’s a bad thing, mind you, but we DO have a “guest” poster… who was gracious enough to provide us with some enlightening/entertaining Coffee Tawk, only i can’t seem to get into the dashboard in order to put it up. AIEEEEEE! stay tuned…. hopefully i’ll have it posted before noon! xoxoxo

Comment by snuppy

That’s a touching memory.

When I was about 7 I was looking at photographs from when I was about one and a half and my parents and I went to Europe on a freighter. That night I dreamed I was a baby eating chocolate cake in a green dining room with my father, who told me Mommy was taking a nap. Although that scene had not been photographed, my parents told me it did happen, and the dining room on the freighter was green.

Comment by weirsdo

Snuppy, I really do loveslovesloves you 🙂

Weirsdo, 1 and a half? That is early! But I totally believe that from the dya we are born memories impact us and although they are hard to rediscover later, soemtimes one or another crops up.
Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Penguin

Yes, definitely an inspired topic. And what an incredible memory, Penguin! Wow. My first memory is actually the opposite. I had to have been 2 1/2 because my brother wasn’t yet born. My parents were napping and I wanted candy . . . so, being the independent spirit that I am, I took off down through the redwoods behind our house and went to the candy store. My strongest memory of that day was seeing several teenagers sitting on the monkey bars at the playground between my house and the candy store. They were smoking and asked me questions, though I don’t remember what. My mother had been frantically looking for me, even checking the mailbox, of all places. My father found me at Goble’s, and I hid under the glovebox on the way home, knowing I was in trouble. It was the first of my many escapes! 😉 Thank God I grew up in a small town!

Comment by Angela

Angela! i missed your comments before… and i’m soooo sorry! what a great memory, and thank goodness you DID live in a small town (i grew up in one, too). i can just picture you huding under the glove box (images of Randy in the movie A Christmas Story come to mind, as he hid under the sink!) thank you for sharing… AND for snarking with us! xox

Comment by One Hot Puppy

You don’t know me, but I am working on a project for school about First Memories. I found this in a google search. I also believe first memories have a lot of meaning and am interested in how they play out in/reflect later life. Any way you could respond by email and we can “talk” about this? Sounds like you and your friends are terrific people!

Comment by Carol Tannenhauser

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