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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Earliest Memories

What is your earliest childhood memory?

Most people don't have set memories before age seven. The memories predating the age of logic are usually a patchwork of memory, heresy, and imagination. Very few people can describe their first day of school.

They may recall impressions or colors or sounds, but not a list of classmates, what supplies they had, and who their teacher was.

Reading various books and blogs meant for all ages of readers it's obvious not everyone remembers how to think like a child, or even how personal history is remembered.

Humans love patterns. We love patterns in our writing (think poetry). We love patterns in our music. We love patterns in the things around us.

And there are patterns to our memories.

Wednesday Workout: Find the Pattern
List the first five random memories you can recall from early childhood.

--> Don't try to force the memories, you don't want to recall Great-Auntie Dee's 27th wedding that you've seen pictures of and heard talked about since you were old enough to hear the story about the stripper in the wedding cake (don't laugh!), you want to pull up memories that are authentic and unsullied by retelling.

--> Don't try to find consecutive memories. What stands out to you probably won't be sequential so don't try to go there unless it's natural.

--> Once you have the memories listed elaborate on them. Add details that you remember. Stop when you start using your imagination.

--> Look for a pattern. Is there a connection between these things? People? Places? Objects? Emotions? What do the memories have in common?


  1. The sense of smell is a strong one for me. Music too. there like bookmarks in my life.

  2. Skipping the homework for this week :)

    However, we've worked out my earliest memory is when I was three. I remember being at the reception of my aunt's wedding, in a restaurant which was quite narrow. I remember going there, and I remember finding my parents. I told my aunt this, and she said that was when I was 3 and was surprised how far back I remembered it.

  3. I agree with T.Anne, music is tied to so many of my memories. Certain songs always evoke certain "scenes" in my life.

  4. For me it's food.

    I remember eating a chocolate ice cream cone as I walked form Sea World back to the car (a weekly occurrence when we lived in San Diego until I was 4). I remember a sushi chef who made me origami birds. And the first time someone offered me macaroni and cheese.

    I remember the second time I had macaroni and cheese (several years later at a day care). And the first time I tasted ranch dressing.

    I'm still a very food oriented person. I cook to relax. I like cooking much more than I like eating. And I love feeding people! My friends come over just to be fed sometimes. They know that if they drop in I'll be forced to make cookies or something.

    Since two people brought up music I'm trying to recall, but I don't think music imprinted on my brain. I know my mother tried to teach me piano from an early age and that she played music all the time. But all I can recall is watching her teach flute lessons while I sat on a couch in the foyer eating a snack.

    Food again. :o)