I've realized that I don't reflect a lot these days, and I think that's contributing to my memory issues. I never sit down and think about everything I'd like to remember from the day/week, and I'm going to start doing that. I'm always seeking input, input, input to keep from being bored. I'm online or I'm reading a book or doing chores or brainstorming my next story. Always doing something or finding something to fill my head with instead of reflecting on what's done. That's going to change.
My earliest memory literally is from infancy. I think we may have even been in Iowa, where I was born, though we didn't stay there very long before heading back to Illinois, where our family's from. Maybe it was IL. Anyway, I remember being in an infant seat, in the middle of a truck, with a friend and my mom. He took her to a grocery store, and she ran in and left me in the car for a few minutes. I'm pretty certain I cried, and I remember him (I think maybe it was our friend John B?) telling me, “It's okay. She'll be right back, I promise.” It may have been the first time she actually separated from me, to be honest. I heard I was a clingy baby.
I recall mom saying that we didn't have stuff like kid seats when we were younger, so I thought maybe it was a false memory. But I looked it up and saw a seat just like I remembered, so I think I must have had an infant seat but sat on my own once I was big enough to. I've always remembered that day clearly, sitting in a truck in the parking lot of some grocery store.
My next memory is from when I was two. Mom was pregnant with my sister, and I put my head to her tummy and tried to hear the heartbeat. I thought I did, and then I also thought I felt a heartbeat in my own stomach. Mom said it was my own, but I knew my heart wasn't in my tummy, so I became convinced that I was pregnant too and she just didn't believe I could feel it there too. She got pretty mad at me, actually, which is why I remember. Eventually I realized she was right.
And, of course, there was that time I rode my tricycle backwards on the porch and broke my elbow. Mom was seven or eight months pregnant, and she picked me up and ran up the hill (maybe two?) to the hospital not too far from our house. They kept her longer than they kept me.
I remember moving to Arizona, and on the way to the new house, we stopped at a drive through. I think it was BK, but it might have been McD's. We went 'home' and had a picnic on the floor of an empty house. I remember my mom was my teacher at Merry Moppet's Preschool, and they tricked me into moving to Ms. April's room when I turned four. They said I could move back to mom's class if I didn't like it, and I didn't like it, but they wouldn't let me move back. Mom tried to rally me by pointing out that I was still with the first boy I was “in love” with: BJ. Or maybe it was CJ. That part I can't remember. But I remember that his sister taught me how to swing, and she was the only one who could after everyone trying for the longest time. She did the 'spider' thing with me sitting backwards across her lap, and I finally got it.
I also remember walking home from Merry Moppet's with mom one day and seeing a giant rat in overalls looming above the red Arizona mountains (maybe they were just rocks and I was small). Mom couldn't see it, and I was terrified. I'm still not sure where that came from, but I remember it clearly. I also later, in IL again, saw a giant bunny in overalls on Easter. I thought maybe my uncle dressed up, but I was clearly followed by giant, overall-wearing rodents throughout my childhood.
I remember the trailer park we lived in in South Carolina, where I first started school, and the neighbors up the road who used to always take me & my sis to Jim Bakker's amusement park. Our trailer park had a pool, and my sister Tina almost drowned in it one day. I remember Mom pulling her limp body from the water. She'd been right there on the steps, and we were all around her, and nobody knew how she'd gone under or for how long she'd been there. But Mom pounded her back, maybe even puffed a few CPR breaths into her, and she spit up a bunch of water, and everything was fine. Tina also almost drowned at a river one time, actually maybe twice, and Mom became convinced that she was going to lose Tina (a pisces, actually) by drowning. It does make me nervous sometimes now that she lives at the beach. I get scared every time there's a hurricane.
I remember when Mom and Dad broke up, and we drove back to Illinois with all of our dishes wrapped in towels below my feet. I cried as we pulled away, half for fear and missing Dad, and half because we couldn't find my Rainbow Blankie and glow worm. Luckily, each was found. I still missed Dad.