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Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Childhood Memories

My First Birthday
How well do you remember your childhood?  I remember quite a bit about mine.  It helps that I lived in 16 different houses in 18 years (17 if you count the two weeks in an apartment after the fire) because my memories are attached to a particular house which then tells me what year it was and makes recall easier.  It also helps that my Dad made home movies starting when I was not yet two, and in later years I kept a diary and photo album of my own.  

For the past month I've been working on a memoir about my childhood.  I really don't like that word much--memoir.  It's sounds rather pretentious for someone like me who is not famous, but it's the only word I could find in the dictionary that fit.  I brought down my boxes of memorabilia from the attic and have been going through all the notebooks, bits of paper, ticket stubs, photos, yearbooks, etc.  The Internet has allowed me to find street views of where I used to live and former friends on Facebook.  I've been corresponding on Facebook with the first guy I had a crush on when I was 15.... 
Clark is at the top
....and all of a sudden I'm 15 again as we correspond about those times.   

I met my husband-to-be later that year and have every thought and feeling recorded of falling in love with him....
All of this has actually unsettled me.  Going back to my earliest memories starting when I was three--almost 60 years ago--and then reliving the years in the detailed diaries I kept not only brings up long-forgotten feelings, it makes you realize just how fast time does fly.  One moment I'm absorbed in my memories of being three....
Me and my friend, Lillian
and the next I qualify for social security!  

As I uncover one memory several more come flooding in and then I wish I'd done this project in my 20's when I still had both my parents to ask all the questions that are forming in my heart.  Things I didn't know I wanted or needed to know about their lives....
My parents
....things about myself I'm sure I no longer remember--of who I was....then.

They say your personality is formed in your first three years....and then things happen to you that change who you really are.  For me, the moves did a great deal in allowing me to continue to be shy and unsure of myself.  And seeing my grandfather....
Me and Papaw his casket when I was 10 made me afraid of dead people and the fire when I was 11 made me care more about my belongings than was good.  And my perfectionism started when....well, all that's in my story.  Thankfully, I have overcome most of those shortcomings over the years.  But what else might there be I haven't seen yet that I've always considered "just me" and therefore blithely accepted?  Or what talent has been covered up and lain dormant?

Looking back has made me care for that little girl....
Age 2
....the one who was shy but yet could look the camera in the eye.  As I gather all my research materials and sit down to write my memoir, for that is what it is (memoir: an autobiography or a written account of one's memory of certain events or people), I'm listening closely to what that little girl wants to tell me about who she really is so that together we can become who she was meant to be--finally.


  1. What a gift to have all those photos and journals! I know so many mixed emotions would be brought up for me the same way that's going on for you. It truly is a gift to yourself that you are doing this esp. for that little girl who lived through so much. Good for you! :)

  2. Thank you, Wendy, for your encouraging words.....I feel I will need many more to see this project to the end.


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