Friday, September 23, 2011

My earliest memories

The earliest memory I can date is my second birthday - I still have the images in my head of the small table with my presents on it and my cake along with the little chewed up rubber VW pickup toy I owned and wanted to have on the table for the picture my mother was taking. 

I have various memories that are from around the same time, but because I had no names for days, months or years I can not be certain when they happened.  I can only tell by the place, the event or the weather.

I think my memory goes back so far because it is a very visual memory.  I see the scene from when I was two in the same clarity as how I seen the people I was having beer with a few hours ago.  I see these clear pictures in my head and they do not seem to fade over time.

Ask me to remember a conversation, that is much, much harder. 

I know my second birthday is not my earliest memory, I know this because I can remember that at my 2nd birthday I had memories from before.  Memories of previous days but I can not connect images with when they happened.

What I do not remember is my first birthday or many images from the first trip my Tante Sabine made to Canada in 1967.   I have a memory of what has to be on the Hope Princeton Highway, somewhere near one of the Day Creeks.   I see my sister bent over outside of the car and I assume throwing up.

From the summer of 1968 to today I have a more or less unbroken memory, basically from when I was 2 years and 10 months old.

People say "All you are remembering is from old pictures you have seen".   That is not the case.  In my memories I am never in them, they are all from my view point.  

As an example, in the summer of 1968 I stayed with the Hahns and my Tante Nata came to visit with her newly born son Andreas.   There is a picture in a photo album of me seeing him for the first time, but the picture is black and white and taken with a flash.  My memory is of the room being in colour but dark because the curtains are closed.   The picture would give the observer no clues which room in the house it was, but I know it was the living room and that Tante Nata was sitting in a chair with her back to the window that faced out towards Number 5 road.  I highlight this one incident because my memory and the picture are so different.   I also can remember coming into the house from the backyard because Tante Dagmar called us all in to see the baby.

The earliest memory I seem to have is from late April 1966 in Penticton.   I am watching my mother washing dishes in a sink with a small black and white TV next to her with a hockey game on.   It is sunny outside and after dinner time based on where the sun is in the sky.  I can see my mother was wearing a light top though not white but her legs are not in my image.  I can tell she is not wearing a dress.

This would have been when I was about seven and half months old.

So how do I know when it was?  Because I told my mother about the scene when I was about eight years old.   My mother said there is no way I could know this because it was in late April early'/May of 1966 in Penticton at the Schellings Motel.   I told her about this scene when we were in Penticton in 1973 because I remembered the motel from the outside.

The image is skewed and this is because my head is not upright.   I have to have been in a baby seat of some sort.  Based on my height, I think the seat must have been on the kitchen table.

How would I know it was hockey at that age?  I did not, but when I was older I could recognize what was on the small screen.   I can even tell the hockey players had no helmets.  I can see the white coloured TV had an aerial.  I can see that the TV was to the right of mother and on an angle.   

Why do I remember this scene?   Why am I able to place this scene?  I am not sure.  What I am more sure of is that when I was younger there were connected sequences to this.   Memories of arriving, of going to see people and other such stuff.   I can no longer be certain what images in my head are from when at such a young age.   I also can be certain for the image in my head that I had memories from before that day.   I had memories of my mother that existed before that moment.   

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