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.