Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The First Thing I Remember

I'm taking this break from... well, everything else to jot down a recollection here or there.

The earliest memory I have is from quite early. My brother is exactly two years and three days younger than me, and he wasn't born yet. I know, because I remember his coming, and at this time I was still in the crib I would have to vacate prior to his arrival. I don't think my mother was very far along in her pregnancy, either; so I must have been about a year and a half old at the very oldest.

The crib (which was in my parent's bedroom) was wooden and painted white, with solid head and foot boards. On the headboard was a pastel applique of teddy bears.The vertical bars on the sides of the crib were flat and quite plain. They were slats, really. I would post a picture of a crib like it for you, but I can't find any that are close enough. I'm pretty sure that this sort of design has long been out of use. I have no doubt as to why. Over the crib there was a wind up musical mobile of plastic birds with transparent, painted wings. I would post a picture of this as well, if it hadn't been replaced in all modern designs by things that are vastly more safe and vastly less interesting.


It was the crib's slats that intrigued me. It seemed to me that I should be able to squeeze through and see what was going on outside the door. So I tried. I put my head against a gap and pushed. Sure enough, my head went through... barely.

That was when I discovered that I couldn't fit the rest of my body through the gap, so I gave up and tried to pull my head back. At that point, I made a second discovery.

I had ears.

I sort of knew I had ears anyway. They were the things that got scraped up as I was pushing my head through in the first place, and they were the things that my mother always cleaned behind. But having ears and being aware of them are two different things.

The problem was, my ears folded backwards, and like the barbs on a fishing hook or arrow, they prevented me from pulling my head back through the bars. I remember trying several different ways, and then coming to the conclusion that this was going to be difficult.


I don't know how long I stayed like that. I didn't cry or call for help. Even then it would have been embarrassing; and anyway, I hadn't quite given up. I was just trying to figure it out. I had gotten in there; surely I could get out again. However long it was, that's how my mother found me... head sticking through the bars like a cow in a livestock crush.

She walked into the room and quietly walked up to the crib. She didn't laugh. She didn't shout. She didn't get upset or even look surprised. She just stood there looking at me. After a moment she spoke to me.  She didn't bend down to talk to me; rather she stayed in a position of superiority. She simply said, "Do you need some help?"  I indicated I did. She then asked, "If I help you now, will you try that again?" I indicated that I would not. And then she helped me maneuver my head higher up the bars, where they were more flexible, and separated them enough that I could pull my head back through. Then she took me out of the crib and I got to see what was going on outside the door.

And that's the first thing I remember.

Postscript: For what it's worth, the second thing I remember has to do with my Uncle Vic. We had either just met or it was the first time that I was old enough to talk with him. He said something; I said something, then he turned to my mother and said, "He's one of us." It puzzled me at the time.


No comments:

Post a Comment