Ponderings: What is your earliest memory?

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This week's pondering question is what it your earliest memory and how old were you?

I started thinking about it because I had a flashback of  a very early memory this week. I was standing at the door and watching my older sister go to kindergarten. I remember watching her walk down the driveway and staying at the door for a long time. And waiting for her to come home. She was not quite five because she is a November birthday and I was two and a half. I remember asking my mother what Janet did all day at kindergarten and my mom told me she learned her ABC's. Then I wouldn't let my mother teach me the alphabet because I wanted to learn in kindergarten like my sister. Independent early on you might say.

From the cited below New York Times article: “The pioneers of psychoanalysis attached much significance to early memories. One early analyst, Alfred Adler, raised these recollections to a place of prime importance in understanding human nature.” “The first memory,” Adler wrote, ”will show the individual's fundamental view of life, his first satisfactory crystallization of his attitude.” He continued, ”I would never investigate a personality without asking for the first memory.”

According to a study by John Kihlstrom, a psychology, “he found that the earliest memories were typically of something that occurred between the third and fourth birthdays, that the overwhelming majority of memories involved visual imagery and that most of this visual imagery was in color.”

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I think my earliest memory is of an unpleasant encounter with the ocean, which must have happened when I was about 3. My family was vacationing at Virginia Beach and I was walking along when a wave knocked me down. I was, of course, rescued immediately, but the swiftly passing sense that I was drowning stayed with me for a very long time.

I was greatly afraid of water for most of my childhood as a result!

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I remember Kindergarten, so I was about 5 years old, sitting in the circle, while my teacher read us a story. Of course I was wearing a dress and I was a bit shy. Somethings never change (love wearing dresses).

What is your earliest memory and how old were you?

Photo Credit my awesome Grandfather. This is my sister Janet, the gypsy and I was Spot the Dog. Trick or treat.

Why are Earliest Memories so Fragmentary and Elusive? 

Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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  1. I was 2 years old.  I was sitting between my grandparents in their Lincoln Continental, driving to their house.  My brother was born that night.

  2. Marc,
    I think that a lot of childhood memories are collected and retold stories that become part of the family tales.

    Thanks for sharing your story about kindergarten.


  3. Sadly, my earliest memory was standing in my grandfathers BIG chair, the one he sat in  when watching “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke.” Lots of adults were murmuring but ignoring this 5-year-old. The chair seemed so big. I didn’t know what was going on. I was scared. Sadly, it turns out my beloved BIG 16-year-old brother had been in an accident and was in the hospital. He died several days later. I lost all memories of my happy life before that day.

    Now, rather than leave you crying, I will say that I was blessed to eventually find great happiness and joy in my life but that was a trauma that did majorly affect my early years!

    1. I thought about people having sad memories for their first memory, I am so sorry that I brought that up. But sometimes a memory brings the person that we lost back into the picture. Maybe happy photos exist of you and your brother?

      Sorry for your loss Bruce, I am sure that losing a older brother did change things considerably in your young life.
      Sending a hug….

  4. I guess my first memory was when Twin & I went over to our neighbors so they could babysit us while our parents went to work. I remember looking at their fridge, seeing hundreds of magnets, and then looking over to Twin and saying “What’s with all the magnets? There isn’t even paper on it!”. We were only 2 or 3. LOL

  5. Great question.  I am amazed how many times my Mother doesn’t remember all the childhood memories I do.  Many of my first memories center back on my Grandparents house we lived in when I was 2 as my parents moved back to Texas from my Father being in the Air Force.

    There was a magnificent oak tree that was a beauty I had a swing in and would swing and sing Beatles songs as my Mother watched me from the kitchen window.  My favorite song then was “She love me ya ya ya”.  Next time ask me about the three prong hook on the pier chuckle.

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