Early Memories


Another blogging friend, Zeynep Ankara, told in one of her blogs of a very early childhood experience.  She said of that experience, “I remember that night like today.”  Then later, when she was in college, she told one of her psychology professors the story.  But the professor told Zeynep that she “can’t remember for the first five years.”

            So that got me thinking about my early childhood memories.  Like Zeynep, I can clearly remember many things from my first five years.  Some are good memories and some not so. 

            I love the peace and security I still feel when I remember laying in my crib in the early morning hours.  I heard my father leave the house to go do chores.  And then I stuck my feet through the bars of the crib and played footsie on the wall and listened to the birds begin to chirp as the sun welcomed another day. 

Another happy memory was at the drive-in theater.  Our whole family was in our Rambler station wagon.  I was in the far back where the seat was folded down to make a bed.  The movie playing was “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world.”  I remember listening to my Dad laughing so hard at that movie that it made me laugh, even though I couldn’t figure out what was funny in the movie.

            Compared to what Zeynep wrote of, my bad early memories weren’t really that bad.  I remember things like long boring church meetings, being picked on by bigger kids, and witnessing the cruel treatment of others.  I also have some early memories which give me little reason to wonder why I became such an introvert.

            I know some of my early experiences have made me a better person.  One memory I have was when I was either three or four (depending on which younger sibling was the baby in my story.) 

I walked into Mom’s room to ask her something.  As I started into my question, “Mom, can I…?”  Mom sent me out of her room abruptly, telling me she was trying to get the baby to sleep. 

I felt “put out” by her, so I went into the kitchen where Linda, my two years older sister, was and said, “Mom is a Nincompoop.”  Linda looked at me in shock and said, “I’m telling Mom.”  She quickly ran to tell, and I was immediately struck with fear.  Nincompoop was the meanest, ugliest word in my vocabulary.  I ran upstairs and hid under my older brother’s bed. 

Soon, though it seemed forever, Mom started calling my name from the bottom of the stairs.  At first, I didn’t move.  But as the sternness in Mom’s voice increased, my fear of the repercussions for disobedience exceeded my fear of facing punishment for my verbal disrespect.  And so I was soon timidly standing at the top of the stairs. 

I was compelled to make a confession of what I had said, and then I was taken to the bathroom where my mouth was washed out with soap and water.  Mom then sent me out to help Dad.  I was glad to go.  I think that was what I was trying to ask Mom in the first place.  As I stood out in the snow watching Dad work, I thought, “I’ll never call Mom any names again.” 

To this day, I have always had complete respect and honor for both my mom and my dad.  I’ve seen quite a few people who needed their mom to wash their mouth out with soap.    I feel sorry for them.

            While pondering my early memories, and how I now might be influenced by those memories, I have wondered about my Great grandma, Anna Christina Holm Haroldsen.  She was still a small child when her father died.  The harsh realities of survival in the American West of the 1860’s forced Anna’s mom into a marriage that wasn’t good.  Like most men who lived in that area and era, Andrew Jensen had a nickname which everyone including family used.  Andrew Jensen should have been known as “Wife and Kid Beater” but Brickmaker was the name which stuck. 

            Brickmaker was so brutal, even with his own children, that Anna’s mother sent her children away when they were only ten or eleven years old.  She thought that facing the cruel world alone as youngsters would give them a better chance at survival then staying at home and within the reach of Brickmaker. 

            Anna worked for several other families in the area.  Some treated her well, and others not.  Wherever she stayed, the work hours were long and the pay amounted to little more than room and board.  Later on, in her teen years, she worked for a cooperative dairy, milking, and herding cows in and out of the pasture.    

            Anna’s adult life was more normal as she married, raised a family and even kept her own small dairy herd, so she could make and sell butter to the folks in town. 

            Senility settled in on Anna in her later years.  As time passed, she seemed to revert to her bitter childhood memories.  She would sit in her rocking chair and twitch and flinch while muttering the hated name… Brickmaker…  Brickmaker…  Brickmaker.

            So now I wonder, in my old age, will I become a total hermit, because of my early memories which I consider socially traumatic?  I hope that my happy memories of life on our farm will be on my mind when I’m old and feeble.  Maybe I can lie on my bed in some rest home, and put my feet on the wall through the bars of the guard rail, and watch the sunrise though my window while thinking that I can hear my father get up and quietly go out to do chores.

            What are your earliest childhood memories?


18 thoughts on “Early Memories”

  1. Hi Ron,
    Your drive in theatre story reminded me of the first one I went to when I was young. My mom and siblings went in our station wagon and being short of money we hid the two youngest kids in the back of the station wagon so we wouldn’t have to pay for them. After we got there we found out that they were young enough that the theatre didn’t charge them anyway. We just laughed about that. I still remember parts of the movie that we saw. (but don’t ask me about the one I saw last week cuz I can’t remember that one, hahaha.)

    Hello Ron,
    I could read this post just 5-10 lines… Why you did too little character on this post, I didn’t understand. I am looking at your other post now… it is easy. So, if you do this post like them, I can read. I saw that, you mentioned about my first five years memories… I could read… But I couldn’t read yet your memories. If you do big letter, I can read my buddy. I remember I told that I have some eye trouble.
    Yes, it would be great that if there is a translation program English/Turkish. I can see so many language translator but no Turkish/English. Anyway. My translation working is almost finished. It was a little bit difficult for me. But I know I have to do it.
    I am writing this comment without a dictionary. I hope I have not big language mistakes…
    Have a nice day Ron; to you and to your family,

    Hello again Ron,
    Yes, my professor said that I can’t remember for the first years but she was from Freudian school. I am working eclectic in this area. Besides, I don’t believe Freud so much. It is just interesting for me that a person can remember very earliest memories. It is fantastic. I always wonder about the human’s limits. And always wonder the brain’s mystery.
    I read your earliest memories solicitously. I think your mother was a little bit afraid to grove up her children. When they afraid, they are mauling and besides acting wrong sometimes… I was thought that to wash the mouth with soap belongs to the eastern culture. But I realize that it is acting all over the world. Of course it is too sad.
    Yes buddy, MAD MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD!!!
    See ya,

  4. Just stopping in to say hello, hope all is well with you. I am just now getting around to say hello
    toveryone after the busy weekend and now the next weekend is almost here hehe  i will never get caught up LOL

  5. Storyteller, Good evening. I saw you on Zeynep’s friends list and dropped by. MY earliest memory is of our dog Sport.
    I was 4 yrs. old at the time. We lived in Chester Illinios. We had gone to southern Missouri to visit my granmother for the weekend. When we returned home we could not find Sport anywhere. My mom stood at the backdoor and repeatedly called his name. The next morning I remember vividly, my dad was in the bathroom shaving (I loved to sit an watch him shave.), when there was a knock at the door. It was our milkman; He told my dad that he had hit and killed Sport on Saturday morning while running his route. We all cried, it was heart breaking. So, I think Zeynep’s pysch professor is way off base. I invite you to come visit my space and to join my list of friends. I shall be back to visit.
    Tanri seni korusun, (God bless you in Turkish). ~Marilyn~

  6. Hi Ron,
    I absolutely think you SHOULD have turkey for the Canadian Thanksgiving too! My friend in Winnipeg is married to an American and they are celebrating your thanksgiving too – hey maybe we will too, why not??
    oh, and beautiful family pictures, I can tell you are very proud.

  7. Hi Ron,
    Well you can keep that plan in the back of your mind in case you ever need it, haha. I read Valleries blog though and like me her focus seems to be on feeding people (with good stuff). No, we are never hungry for long here, we’re spoiled, but our bodies are starting to pay the price,lol. I was SOOOO skinny most of my life, but my habits are catching up with me.

  8.  RON,

  9. Hello Ron, Thanks for the reassuring comments. Life can be confusing at times. I so enjoyed this blog. You are lucky to be able to remember that far back. That made it sound like you’re ancient…LOL. I hardly have any memories of my childhood. I’ll have to think a bit on this and this weekend I’ll blog on the subject. I had one blog that I already did called Let’s Play Footsee! It is in my August blogs. Maybe you already read it. Amazing that your actually remember your feet dangling in the bars of your crib. You got my brain cells wiggling in my head..Hee Hee

  10. You have wonderful memories.. and think when your old.. you will once again enjoy the sunlight on your toes..and marvel at this beauty.. you give such softness to memories..
    oh and congrats.. on being featured.. thank  you for your thoughts and prayers.. they are felt..
    soft hugs ~Hope

  11. Ron,
    I found you because you were "featured". I absolutely LOVE your blog! I’m the 2nd of nine children and I had to laugh when you said that your age in a story depended on who the baby was at the time. That’s how my stories usually go too. 🙂 I have many memories of South Dakota and my dad was stationed there from when I was 2 yrs old to when I was 4 (almost 5). Not just one or two memories–MANY many wonderful, ordinary, good and bad memories. Thanks so much for sharing! I can’t wait to tell my 5 sisters and 3 brothers about your blog. That is, if they haven’t seen it already.

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