The Sunday columnist at my newspaper wrote about earliest memories this week. She asked people she cared about what event or moment most stands out from their childhood.
Not surprisingly -- well, to me, anyway -- many of them were negative. I mean, it's easy to remember traumatic events that shake you to your core, regardless of age. Others were very positive, just a cozy memory of family and home.
It got me thinking about my earliest memory, and I have so many that I can't specifically pinpoint one. For me, the few years that I can remember my parents being married and living in the house they built together is as far back as it goes for me. And maybe its because I'm very nostalgic by nature, but I've held onto all of those memories with all of my might.
There's the time I refused to eat scallops at the dinner table, because, well, they looked and tasted like nasty gross brains, and my mom yelled at me and told me to go to my room.
Then there's the time my brother left his dump truck Matchbox car on the stairs and I stepped on its sharp teeth the next morning and thought I was going to die.
I remember laying on my stomach in the sunshine on the blue carpet in the family room under the bay window and looking at my dad's Pink Floyd record covers.
I remember standing in the kitchen with my dad late at night and watching a mommy possum with her babies on our back deck.
I can still picture all of the deer that would eat the apples in our back yard and I imagined that I lived in Barbie's castle.
I remember playing "bank" with my brother through the slots in between the steps because it was the '70s and the staircase didn't have a back -- that would've been conformative, man.
I remember my dad giving my brother and me a bath after dinner while he drank a beer. And he'd always give me a sip when I asked for one.
I remember when my parents put an addition on the back of our house and they allowed us to draw on the wood subfloor before the carpet went down.
When the hot tub went in, I thought we were the richest people alive. On Saturday mornings, my brother and I would watch "PeeWee's Playhouse" from the hot tub and drink orange juice out of plastic champagne cups.
I remember playing "Grease" on the rusted cars in one of our overgrown gardens. I would stand on top of the cars and point my finger and shake my hips like the high school guys in my mom's play did during the rehearsals I got to watch.
There were so many memories that I had a hard time expressing everything to Jerry last night as we were laying in the dark, trying to fall asleep.
I had asked his earliest memory, but he needed a minute to think about it. In the meantime, I rattled off all of mine.
"Okay, I got it," he said.
"Let's hear it."
"I don't remember what I was doing or why I was there, but I remember standing in the back yard. I was wearing gay little white short shorts and a blue muscle shirt with white stripes. I was on the grass next to the walkway, kind of near where the turtle sandbox is now. I think I was 4."
"Annnnd ... ?"
"And that's it."
I started laughing so hard that I could barely breathe. The fact that Jerry's memory has no emotion or event attached to it is just so ... so Jerry.
"So you basically remember an outfit."
"And that it was summer."
What's your earliest memory?