What's your earliest memory?

When I was a little boy (around 2 years-old) my family lived in San Antonio and we took a day trip across the border to a Mexican town, around Laredo I think. I have a few memories of walking through the town, going into a store and my mother looking over cheap plastic rings.

In another store, we looked at paintings. We bought a couple and I still have the matadors on velvet. It’s hanging on my living room wall. I remember walking into another store with my sister but don’t remember anything once we went inside. I think it was a toy store but I’m not sure.

The most distinct memory I have is getting on this tiny merry-go-round with 4, maybe 5 little cars. I remember that each time I went around, I’d wave at my parents and sister. I clearly remember thinking to myself that I was tired of waving every time I circled so I stopped waving by the fifth or sixth time around. And I remember feeling guilty not waving at them. I’m surprised that I can recall such vivid thoughts. I don’t think I was at the talking stage yet but I remember thinking this to myself.

I don’t have any other memories as old as these and this was well over 30 years ago now.

Last time this topic came up, a certain poster decided he knew my own memories better than I do and refused ro believe I could have any memories under age five.

Nevertheless, I can remember being laid on the sofa and the sofa material prickling my back. My mother told me decades later that she’d lay me on the sofa to change me as a baby, and she usually would put nappies (diapers) down as a blanket, but sometimes she was in a rush and didn’t. That’s what I recall. I was < 2.

My earliest memories are of Toronto, from when I was almost two.

The first one is of being extremely frustrated trying to get a Slinky[sup]®[/sup] to “walk” down stairs. They were the stairs that led down to a brown-tiled foyer, and I couldn’t make it work for two reasons: 1) The stairs were carpeted with a thick green shag, and 2) I wasn’t quite two years old, and it was hard.

The second memory is of my father making a “skating rink” in the yard for my older siblings – and I was confused about this memory for many years, because I “remembered” that it was so cold that, when the tap was turned on, the water from the garden hose froze instantly as it hit the uninhabitably-cold Toronto air. (Later, I was able to work out that there was just a column of ice in the hose that was forced out by the flow of water.) :slight_smile:

I’m not sure which one was earlier.

I have a very distinct memory of the first house in rural B.C. that I lived in. I was watching cartoons (later identified as Fun-O-Rama, by the kite-and-tail drawing that they showed at commercial breaks,) and my dad came in and gave me a new toy: A Fisher Price cow pull-toy, with a bright yellow squeeze-bell.. That was the day before my third birthday.

I also clearly remember riding my toy tractor to the edge of our property (which ended in a steep drop-off of about a foot, for some reason,) and noticing for the first time that there were other houses visible off in the distance. It was quite a revelation. I thought all the other people were too far away to contemplate, until then. I was three-and-a-half.

Another 2 year old checking in.

My parentrs had just boughrt a new house, I was in my mother’s lap in the car driving to that house (no seatbelts in those days) and she said, “that is our new house!” and I vividly recall the car turning the corner and seeing the house for the first time. Not that I could talk or understand the spoken word, but I do remember understanding the concept it was where I was going to eat, sleep and poop from now on.

They moved in on my second brithday.

I can remember when I was 3 the house we lived in, the neighbor kid I played with. I also remember a few anecdotal things like talking to my mom in the kitchen, and running out of the house in the rain and my dad chasing after me.

I lived at a tuberculosis sanatorium for 3 or 4 years when I was a wee lad (my dad was a Dr. there). It was a self-contained community on top of a little mountain in Arkansas.

I remember my 4th birthday vividly. I can’t say for sure if my earlier “memories” only exist because they’re tied to photographs in Mom’s album. I can say for sure I do not recall holding my brother who was born when I was 2, although there’s a picture of me doing it.

These days, I’m lucky to remember what I was doing 10 minutes ago!

We lived in Salinas, California until I was 6.
We lived in a house high on a hill, our nearest neighbor was a quarter mile away.
This was in the late 1950’s.
My earliest memory is playing in the woods out back among these really tall ferns.
I made a nest of ferns for my little brother and he fell asleep in them. He looked so cute, like a little wood sprite.
I was either 3 or 4–probably 4, because my mom did let us run wild but I don’t think she’d let me go off alone with a one year old.
To this day I love ferns, all kinds of ferns: frothy maidenhairs, majestic tree ferns, the curly, unfolding fronds, the damp scent, the lushness.
Don’t know if I was born with a fondness for ferns and discovered it then, or merely have a nostalgia for that memory.

I vividly remember my mom carrying me and falling down the basement stairs. Then sitting on the cold concrete looking at her lying bent over the red metal, Coca-Cola ice chest. And Mom telling me to stop crying and go get my sister to phone Dad. I was 2 and Mom had broken her back. I also remember the backbrace that she had to wear for the next year and how horrible it smelled.

Not sure how old I was, probably ~2, maybe a bit younger.

What I remember: I was standing in the living room, holding a pair of scissors. I had just come out of the kitchen. And I was wondering what the meaning of life is

It’s a weird memory. It felt like something just clicked right then and I attained sentience or something.

Eating pancakes and taking a nap with my Granddaddy in his recliner. I was around 2; he died when I was 2 and a half. I don’t remember him dying but my mother tells me that at the time I was aware of it.

We lived on the second story of our home in Brooklyn, and the nurse who stayed with us for a few days after my mother gave birth to my brother was leaving us–as she was halfway down the stairs, I stuck my head between the slats and told her “You forgot your baby!!”

I’m a little more than two years older than my brother.

The funny thing is that while it’s a little implausible that I was speaking whole sentences at that age, the story was a much-corroberated family legend. The other odd part is that the story is so often re-told, I’m no longer certain that I acutally remember IT as much as I remember being told about IT over and over, and I don’t know if I can trust my own memory --my tiny head fitting between the slats of the railing, the exact step that the nurse stopped to hear me on–to be accurate.

I was born in 1958, and we lived in a barn that had been reconverted into a duplex apartment until 1960. I can remember the layout of the downstairs, that the kitchen had yellow upper walls and ceiling with black and white tiles on the lower wall. I remember the table and chairs. I remember the bathroom and the 1940s washing machine my mom kept in there. I remember sitting in the high chair. I remember the living room, where the furniture was, what it looked like, the record player and the TV. I can picture the stairs, and I have really vague memories of being in my crib. And I remember that in the living room was a door to the next apartment, and I have memories of being in there. The neighbors had a kid that I played with.

So those are some pretty vivid early memories. I can say that they haven’t been reconstructed from photos of that time, because there are none.

I was three or so (Guess I’m slow for this group) and I distinctly remember riding somewhere with mom in the car. (Lush green, kinda drizzly) and I said “Hi Mommy”.

I assume she said hi back.

What’s wierd or unusual though, was the thought that I’d * remember* this moment from then on.

I have a few memories earlier than that, but they’re not near as vivid.

Racing my Big Wheel tricycle with the neighbor boy on the sidewalk in front of my house, looking down and watching the wheel crushing and grinding up all the seeds on the ground.

I must have been very young, because the neighbor boy moved away and the neighbor girl (who lived there until I moved away manyyears later) moved in when I was four or five.

I wonder whether it’s something that only happens in Brooklyn, but I did the exact same thing with my brother!

I’m a little over 3 years older than he, and while I don’t remember doing this in the least, I’ve heard this story so many times from my parents I’m pretty sure they’re not making it up. At the ripe old age of 3, the fact that we’re Caucasian and the nurse wasn’t was completely lost on me. There’s the trouble with people – they grow up :stuck_out_tongue:

Unfortunately, I don’t really remember how old I was when I remembered the first thing I remembered, but I was young, my parents were asleep, and I was raiding the kitchen cabinet that was full of crackers, candy and cookies. They were not amused. I seem to recall I was though :wink:

:rolleyes: I know the kind. A cow-orker brought up the topic a while back and opined that because he couldn’t remember anything before the age of 5 or 6, nobody else could, either.

I distinctly remember being in a walker, on the lawn, pissed off 'cause I couldn’t get the thing to move. I remember lying in a bed (or possibly a crib) looking up at a mobile. I certainly remember my friend Danny, who my mother used to sit and whose family moved away when I was three. I remember the twins Amber and Andrea and their older brother Zane quite clearly even though we moved away when I was four. I remember going to swimming lessons at the YWCA; I couldn’t have been more than three, because when I was four I was in daycare and recall throwing a tantrum because on one pool day they wouldn’t let us into the real pool.

I suspect that people remember a lot more than they think they do, only the memories get jumbled with time. OTOH, remembering things that never happened, or happened much differently, based upon an independent description of the event, is a common phenomenon.


Must have been a year or so before I started kindergarten–that would make me, what, four? Walking down the driveway with my mother, to see my older sister off on the schoolbus in the morning. I was terrified of that bus: I must’ve had some premonition of what school had in store for me . . .

The same thing happened to me and I also find it strange. It’s like, when I was very little, I though “I wonder if I will remember this moment later on when I’m a grown up” and it got stuck in my mind. These are absolutely trivial events that tend to come and go in my memory and I can never place my age.

I remember this one bedroom well enough that I sketched the floor plan, and my mother told me that it was a place we stayed in right after I was born. I could not possibly have been more than a couple of weeks old while staying there.

I also have an image in my mind of when I was a baby seeing my father looking down and smiling that smile a brand new parent gets, and a memory of being in a sterile white fluorescent-lit place where a song was playing that I now know was on the charts the day I was born.

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.