sigh There are things I remember but few people believe me. Except my mother, who is able to confirm things I am certain I remember:
I can describe accurately the first apartment we lived in, shortly before my parents moved us all into a rented home. We moved out of there when I was 8 months old. I remember the wallpaper in the kitchen quite distinctly, because my mother would put my highchair near the wall and I would stare at the design. The design was these hideously ugly clocks. I used to think (?) if I looked hard enough at them, in the middle, I could see a chicken. My mother tells me there was a chicken design “hidden” within the clocks.
I remember being in my crib, and wanting someone to come play with me. I didn’t understand why I had to be in this bed, and told to sleep. I remember standing up and crying my heart out, and nobody coming. I remember slowly working my favourite blanket through the bars until it was on the floor. I remember having to pull myself up, using the bars, and with some effort, and wailing some more. Big deal, right? The next thing I remember, and I’d always found it strange, was that I would stick my fingers into my throat, and make myself vomit. I remember seeing my father’s legs, and his underwear, because that’s all I could see of him. He seemed upset, and a little panicked. In my memory I don’t remember colour, even though it tries to draw it in for me, logically. Dad always wore those blue underpants with the white trim to bed.
Anyway, my mother told me in recent years that when I was a baby, I used to stick my fingers down my throat to get attention. If no one came when I cried, I would make myself sick. My mother finally asked a pediatrician what to do, and they told her that next time I did it, to just ignore me, don’t come running, and I would stop. She did (though she says even today, just thinking about it kills her), and sure enough, I never did it again.
Those are the only two I can think of as being the earliest. From the time we moved out of that apartment and onward, most memories are quite clear. One more: my father is deeply ashamed that he wears dentures - you see, he’s had dentures since he was 19, because he took crummy care of his teeth. He does everything in his power to hide this, and over the years, there has been no trace whatsoever of his dentures or denture products of any kind. Nothing. I have no clue where he keeps the stuff for it, and I was a snoopy little rat as a kid. Never found a single thing that would hint at it or point to it. When my father smiles, his teeth do not show - not as if he doesn’t have any, you know that he does, but they are not prominent in any way. Today, I couldn’t describe his teeth to you. Never seen them. (makes him sound like a man who doesn’t smile, on the contrary… he does often… and they’re in there, there’s no doubt…) So one day, when I was about 14, after a trip to the dentist and a third filling for me, my mother was stressing the importance of dental hygiene to me and says “Now, don’t you ever tell your father that I told you this, because it is his deepest, most well kept secret, that only he and I and his old dentist knows - your father wears dentures.” My response was automatic and unthinking, “Yeah, I think I knew that. It would explain why he took his teeth out when I was a baby to make me laugh.” My mother, instantly angry, “You couldn’t possibly know that! He only did it once, when you were in your jolly jumper, to make you laugh, and you were much to young to remember that!” Really? Neat. So where did I get that memory if I’m not supposed to have it, mother?
I don’t know how I remember them, or even why, but there they are.