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maryann johanson, not crying

what is your earliest memory?


A headline this week on io9 gripped me:

Why our memories don’t begin until we’re three years old

Unfortunately, the piece — nor the one it’s linking to at Nautilus entitled “The Pasta Theory of Memory & Your Personal Beginning of Time” — doesn’t really answer the question beyond some very vague, metaphoric theories. But it inspires this weekend’s Question:

What is your earliest memory?

My earliest memories that I’m fairly sure have not been contaminated by family stories — ie, I really remember these events, not just being told about them later — don’t come until I went to school. I started kindergarten in September 1974, a few weeks after I turned five, and I went to the same school for three years, so some of these memories could be from when I was six or seven, even. I have very vivid memories of the school building, of the mystery meat in the cafeteria, and of one particular day when I tripped on the sidewalk while a neighbor mom was walking her daughter and me to school, and the mom painted my scraped-up knees (I was wearing a dress) with iodine, which inspired awe among the other kids at school all day.

I don’t know why I don’t remember earlier stuff. I don’t recall ever being an only child, though my next youngest brother was born before I turned two, so that’s not unusual. But my second youngest brother was born just before I turned four, and I have no memory of him arriving and whatever upheaval in the house that must have caused.


(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)


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