Waking up before my grandma early in the morning downstairs with my sister we pushed the footstool from the living room all the way to the front door. Wedged against the door my sister stand on it and helps me up to reach the top latch of the tall front door. We managed to open the front door and left the house, off down the street.
My first ever memory is from 1982 when I was one year old and me and my big sister, there’s only 362 days between us, so she was also very young, probably about 2. It was a very sunny day and I remember because we were both wearing shorts, those kind of flanellette shorts that were fashionable in the 80’s and on the door step of the front door there was this concrete step, which I am sure wasn’t very big but felt very big at the time, and we both sat there with scrambled eggs on toasts. I had a light brown plate and my sister Laurie she had a pink plate, we both had scrambled eggs on toast on that, I have no idea what happened if anything happened for me to remember it so clearly but I remember the taste of the scrambled eggs the heat of the sun, the coldness of the concrete step, just sitting there and having dinner, maybe it was special because it was just her and me as well and not my parents.
I think my first memory is from the beach and I don’t know if it’s because I am looking at the beach footage but I think it is on the beach and I remember sweating a lot, we weren’t in the water, we had a little bucket on the sand, not in the sea… bucket on the sand…and I was sitting in the bucket and I was with a lot of people I remember like a lot of I guess family and lot of family friends and I was there with my sister and I think we kept going back to the water because it was really, really hot so we were always sweating a lot and I remember that we were sitting in the bucket and having a barbecue. I was with my mum and my dad, my dad’s friends, Claudine, Alfredo, Jackie, Fernando…en la playa, I think that’s it, it must have been like 19?
I am sitting on a stainless steel high chair with a red top, I am in the eating room of our house, I think I am about 2, 2 and a half years old so it’s about 1958 and it’s hot because it’s summer in Australia and my father is beneath me and you know what, I’ve just realised, its not hot, its hot because the heating is on inside because its cold outside, and I know its cold outside because there is a wood burning stove on the right hand side and its during the day so it only burns at night and during the day my father cleans it out so he takes out the tray at the bottom that’s got all the ashes from the wood and he reaches up and puts it on the table top of my high chair and I remember he goes back down to the wood burner and my sister, who’s maybe a year old, crawls pass my high chair and I can remember very clearly, that as she is just beneath me I push the tray which has got all the ash so it falls down and spills onto her back and her face and her hands and that’s when the memory stops really. I should imagine there was some sort of chaos after that but I think I’ve blocked that bit off.
My earliest memory is being in a quarry near my parents’ house, I was about 5 at the time, they were draining the quarry to build a road through it and there was an enormous amount of fish being drawn out there, I‘ve got a terrible fear of fish. It ‘s a phobia so absolutely irrational. It ‘s a place we used to play all the time so it is like a beach, it has a lot of rocks but it’s silent water, but there ‘s all sorts of carnage going on as they try to fish out all these fish, tench mania, they supposedly got 45 thousand tench, in the meantime they also pulled out congreels, bloody great eels, I remember a man in high waist waders hoisting a bloody great eel out of a big net, the eel, biting him, flying out of his hand, flying through the air and hitting me on the head and it landed at my feet. The eel was absolutely berserk and my visual memory is this horrifying animal, sorry fish, raving around my feet. And it is still quite a profound moment for me now.
My earliest memory is of a family holiday in Cornwall when I was perhaps only 4 or 5. I had made friend with a girl with the most enormous inflatable ring in the sea and she had let me borrow it. I allowed myself to float in the ring for perhaps 5 minutes, enjoying the adventure of where I could go. Suddenly, I heard a scream and looked over to the beach and saw my mother screaming at me with fear. I didn’t understand why she was afraid when I was floating. My father and brother quickly came in a canoe to save me and I remember them letting me play with seaweeds afterwards. I didn’t understand though why I was in trouble and why my mother was angry at me. I didn’t understand for a long time that I was in deep water and I could not swim.
I am in a pushchair with a rain cover over it, we are in the front yard of my grandparents old house where my dad and his brothers grew up. The patio is grey, the gate is bright green and the bricks of the wall are red. I have an ice cream, I don’t know why if it is raining or about to rain but it is a strawberry ice cream, not posh stuff though so it ‘s very pink. This ice cream is too big for my tiny hands so it’s toppled away from my grasp and splatted into the rain cover of the buggie and everyone find this hilarious. They are laughing. I can see a group of laughing grown ups definitely including my mum and my grand dad but I am humiliated and I cry. I cry really hard.
My first memory is quite vivid and it’s of me and my dad, and we were at a swimming pool, and my dad was teaching me how to swim and I can’t remember exactly how old I was but probably 4 or 5. My dad was trying to hold me above the water so that he would show me then how to go in, how to swim but I was really, really scared and didn’t want to go in the water so he was holding me above it with his two hands, and I was really, really scared so I was just shouting: “Put me down! Put me down! Put me down!“ and he got really crossed because I wouldn’t be quiet so he just said “Ok” and he opened his hands and I dropped into the water, and I have a very vivid memory of just plunging into the water and all the chlorine and the water going straight up my nose and getting that stinging feeling at the top of your nose and in your eyes, and I remember looking up and seeing all the bubbles shooting pass me and the light rippling at the top and just being terrified and panicking and flapping my hands. I don’t really remember coming out or what happened afterwards I just remember that instant of being in the pool, submerged and feeling that I was going to drown an d I’ve always found it very difficult to swim with my head under the water since then. It is not a very happy memory but it is a striking one and it is always the one that comes up to my mind when I think back.
I think my earliest memory was when we were in Chicago when I was five, we’d been on a long day out in the city to visit the John Hancock Center which is the tallest building in Chicago, we got home and we were recording a message to my grand mother on a tape so that she could hear all about our exploits and we were trying to explain to her that we’d been to see this tall building and my sister who was three, was also trying to be on the tape but because she was three she didn’t have a clear idea of what it was she’d seen but she knew she wanted to talk. So we are making the tape and my mother would be asking us what we’d seen and we would start to tell her and my sister would perk out with: “I wanna talk it! I wanna talk it!” And my mother would say something along the line of:“Well you can talk then tell us what you’ve seen” and my sister said “an elephant, I saw an elephant.” She hadn’t seen an elephant so my mother said: “You didn’t see an elephant did you? What did you see?” and she said “An elephant” so my mother tried and prompt her by saying: “You saw the John …” “An elephant!” And eventually after several attempts my mother had to say on her behalf that she ‘d seen the John Hancock Center. My sister still insists to this day she saw an elephant, it’s just simply not true.
My brother who wasnt even a year younger inside my cot, crying next to me,
im looking at the window a seagull comes close swooping past I can see the
sea beyond. My mother enters gives me a toothbrush. At night I look at the
pretty seaside lights swaying in the wind. From the bathroom window I see
plenty of lights that illuminate rooms sometimes I see people in their
houses moving arround climing stairs brushing there teeth like I must. Are
they like me I wonder.