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.
I follow the route of a familiar day-time walk, a muddy, flint-studded path that leads away from the house into a wood. I follow it through the well thinned hazels and out onto the edge of the farmland beyond. I am alone. Arriving at the fringes of more established woodland, thick with young saplings between vast, smooth-trucked beeches, the path takes me along a rough strip of grass between the wood and a large, L-shaped field. In the distance there is an orphanage where, on daytime walks, I sometimes hear children laughing and playing together. In the dream there is only silence. Where the path turns a corner towards the lane I pass an old wooden shed, that is gradually falling back into nettles and briars. When I reach the point where the path crosses a narrow back road, I am suddenly confronted by a vast black wolf, standing at least as tall as myself. It always appears as if out of the air, materializing at the edge of the shadows just where the road runs in under overhanging trees. I know instantly that my only hope is to lie down on the road with my eyes closed, hold my breath, keep absolutely still. I must play dead, as I have done hundreds of times before. On each occasion I wait to see what will happen next. Usually, after what seems like an eternity, as the wolf sniffs around me, I wake in absolute terror just as it starts to eat me alive.
One of my earliest memories is of my mother awakening us in the middle of the night, with her finger pressed to her lips in a shushing motion. “Let’s play a game of hide and seek.” , she began. Her hair was long and dark, her blue eyes penetrating mine. “But we must not make a sound.” I saw suitcases in the corner, and our clothes were put on in a hurry. Silent dressing of three children, as I was the oldest…I looked at my younger sister and put my finger to my lips as my mother had done to me. My baby brother with his sparse blonde hair peeking through the the crib rails.
“Shhhhhh…we are going to hide, and now don’t make a sound.” The quiet whispers as we went down the stairs…with my little sister in tow. A low rumbling sound of an awaiting cab as we made it out the door, In the dead of night, with amber street lights…swishing by. Feeling the rocking motion of wanting to sleep, during this game of hide and seek, leading us to a bus terminal the crowds not so thick, and tired blinking eyes of flourescent blindness. Climbing the steps with toddler legs to feel the stiffness of false comfort of a seat…as I looked out the window to see the flashing of the streetlights as we drove out of Chicago that hyponitized me into a deep sleep.
That was the night my mother left my father when I was barely four years old.
Okay, a long time coming…but I have been up to my neck. Just back from Norway and waiting to see the footage come back from the lab.
So some memories. Tell me if you need more detail.
Cold, cold prairie winter day. The sky is a perfect blue, the sun is so bright you need to protect your eyes. It bounces off the snow. In front of our familly bungalow, the walkway to the front door has been cleared with precision. On the side the snow of the path the snow in perfectly-formed, round stacks. Like sugar.
Lo primero que recuerdo es una imagen mia con mi abuelo , sentado en mi cama y leyendome un cuento antes de acostarme, a partir de ahi, casi casi puedo recordar cada periodo de mi vida. Mas o menos unos cuatro o cinco años.
Era una habitacion empapelada con ese tipo de papel que se llevaba antes , en colores amarillentos y dibujos geometricos. Una habitacion con una ventana que daba a un patio interior y dos camas. La mia estaba pegada a una pared y mi abuelo estaba sentado en mi cama contandome un cuento por la noche antes de irme a dormir.