Saturday, 8 April 2017

Your first memories


Our anual battle with clothes moths has just begun, and I have bought 20 strips of pheremone male-killer from eBay. I think that the little bastards are arriving earlier each year. I remember them only beginning to become a threat in late Summer/Autumn.

Leaning out of the window yesterday, I was caught out by the transitional change in weather marking the beginning of Spring proper, and for a moment I imagined the pale warmth and rising street-scents to be the other side of the year when I start to look forward to hunts for mushrooms in the woods. I have the whole Summer to look forward to first.

Sometimes I sit on the sofa here and allow myself to drift in and out of sleep for a few minutes, listening to the sounds of the street outside and allowing them to transport me to other times, other places and other seasons. I love it when that happens and it is strange how living so much in the moment can take you out of your surroundings so completely. I find myself missing things which I have never experienced or wanting to experience things which I will never know again.

I only have to look at a bed of crocii (crocusses?) to be taken back to early childhood birthdays, when I had so many more to look forward to. This works every time for me.

Then from the crocii I go first to the smell of the 'Davy Crockett' rubber powder horn I was given as a 5th, 6th or 7th birthday present, then to the actual thing itself - complete with a squeaker in the narrow end... a strange thing to give to a child.

The remembrance of the black, cord binding on the handle of a cricket bat - clogged with tiny amounts of dried sweat and skin - produces a scent in my imagination which (as far as I know) has never been smelled by anyone else in the world and never will be. Impossible to describe for the above reasons.

My earliest memory is of lying on my back in a large, old-fashioned pram, staring up at a string of plastic rattle toys on the meridian of my vision. Many years later as an adult, I checked with my mother that my pram did indeed have these rattles on elastic string, and she confirmed that it did.

Ok. Here we go. What was your first memory? (You can see where I am going with this, eh?)

36 comments:

  1. You've hit on something there that I have often debated with myself on sleepless nights and have never answered. There are several memories that could be the first but I've never been able to put one in front of the others.

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    1. Well I guess the earliest one concerned what was the Light Railway that once ran across the Island where I live on the North Kent coast. It closed in 1950 and I recall standing by the crossing gates waiting for it to cross the road, holding my father's hand, I was only three then and possibly seeing one of it's last journeys.

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    2. Ah - I have steam memories as well.

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  2. Right, well, first of all the bloody clothes moths !!!! We have had them for the last five years but we don't get many because all of our floors are floorboards, we have solid and plantation shutters and not many pure wool clothes. I fumigated everywhere a couple of weeks ago. What do you buy to keep them at bay Tom ?
    As for earliest memory, I think it was when I was two and I sat in a clump of stinging nettles without any knickers on !!!!!! Well, you would remember that wouldn't you !!!! XXXX

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    1. The pheremone traps only attract the males, but they keep the numbers down a bit. The clothes moths do not seem to go for clean cloths. If your dry-clean stuff and put it away, they don't seem to touch it. We don't have carpets either, but we do have a lot of clothes which they find tasty (the grubs find them tasty). We put as many things in zip-up bags as possible - suits etc. The moths get worse, year by year. I am thinking of keeping a house-bat.

      Trust you not to be wearing knickers...

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    2. I was only two at the time ...... I tend to wear knickers a bit more nowadays !!!!!!
      Thanks for the moth info. XXXX

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  3. Auntie Betty's breasts!

    Go figure

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    1. Got any black and white photos?

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    2. Would that be two of a pair or four pictures?

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  4. Earliest memory: the noise of propeller driven aircraft flying low overhead and thump, crump of bombs. Next memory was of seeing a large bag of apples at foot of stairs and a tin helmet hanging from its strap on the newall post with my fathers rifle leaning against. Much later the street party at the end of the war.

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    1. That was what my husband swears he remembers a dog fight in the sky above Kent as seen from his pram.

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    2. I was spared ww2 memories. I wasn't even aware of the rationing.

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    3. Gosh, Heron must be old.

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  5. The 'meridian of my vision' is very poetic. My earliest memory is of iodine being painted on my legs and screaming. I was young.

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    1. That is astronomer-speak. The passage of planets etc. passes through a fixed window called the meridian. If your pram is parked South of the Equator, you can see the Southern Cross.

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    2. Dracula is impervious to idodine, which probably explains why you are like you are.

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    3. You suggesting something about me?

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    4. Not really. I was thinking about daylight.

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  6. I have three early memories, and I have always wondered if they are the ones that I kept because there was a strong feeling connected with each one.

    1. I was in a pram outside a store where my mother was going to buy baby food. She was talking to a relative, which took a while and I remember feeling the strong, warm sun shining on me. It felt wonderful.

    2. I remember looking at my crib in my parent's bedroom and feeling sad that I was not allowed to sleep in it any more. I was a 'big girl' now and must have just gotten a real bed.

    3. At an age when I was just able to walk, I was in front of our house wearing knit cream pants and a knit red cardigan with silver buttons. So cute looking, really. I think that I still have a picture of it somewhere. But an older girl from down the street was there and she made fun of my pants for being 'fuddy-duddy'. Although I was so very young, I felt ashamed.

    My husband has a ton of early childhood memories, and they are all about playing with his twin brother, having fun and having God knows what smeared all across his face.

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  7. Hello Tom: What a great post!
    My earliest memory was of the crib I was in - the painting on the headboard, and the nightlight on the wall. I think I was three. I often crawled out of that crib. Can't box me in!!

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    1. Scary!
      Also had a memory about that same time of seeing my mom rocking me on the front porch at night, with the moon out(as if I was watching the scene) I had to ask her, too (like you did) if I was making it up or if it was a weird memory. She remembered the incident precisely (I wasn't feeling well and it was a warm summer evening)

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  8. This was for certain an interesting topic, Tom! I do say, however ,that sometimes the memories are only half because they are built upon stories and photos. My first memories are all related to smell and so my first is being perhaps three. I visited my aunt on their farm and the black current was ripe and grew all along the driveway. That smell and the sun that day......

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    1. Memories of smells are particularly intense if short-lived. My mother always used Mitsouko.

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    2. So did my Mum. I have some perfume-unopenned- and some EdT spray that I am sill 'using up' after nearly 14 years.

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    3. Hm, in our house it was the hot spanish EdT called Maja. On the other hand, she kept smoking the worst possible cigarilles, ugh!

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  9. I found a Robin's nest in the pocket of an old overcoat that hung in a garden outbuilding. I remember being fascinated. I was probably under 3 years old.

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  10. I have a memory from when I was 3. Santa Claus 🎅🏻 came in through our front door and shouted ho ho ho and I ran and hid underneath the kitchen table. I remember angel hair on the Christmas 🌲. Mamma and Daddy having an argument in the snow ❄️ outside in the dark. All very strange.

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    1. I never saw mother kissing Santa Claus...

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  11. I remember being stuck impossibly high up in the outdoor timber racks of my father's joinery factory - probably the equivalent of one storey up - how I got there I don't recall but I do recall the intense panic and bellowing fit to bust until I was retrieved. I would have been 2. I loved to climb up things, combined with a lurid fear of heights. Made for an interesting childhood!

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