For a long time as an adult, I could say that I remembered everything from my childhood.
What I meant by that was from about the age of one-and-a-half to two years of age forward, I can remember quite abit of detail. Ironically, this also makes it hard to describe.
I remember time spent in cribs: being laid in cribs, and being brought out. I remember the crib in the new wing of my Uncle Bob’s home. I also remember the crib at the Stevenson’s, in the trailer park at 45th and South Topeka. I remember the crib in my room at 2040. I remember I wasn’t in it very long, at least in terms of memory. Argumentatively, I remember other cribs in other places, but lacked the real-world processing as an infant to be able to say, “oh, that was in this place, at that time” later on. I remained firm in the assertion that I have faint, fragmented memories of my time in Scott City, but I am alone in my resolve.
I remember going places as an infant, mostly with my folks, and at that mostly with Mom. I don’t remember much of the transits, except I was usually in some kind of carrier in the front seat… or just lying on the front seat, or the floor, in a blanket of some kind. But I remember the being picked up and moved from place to place, when the world would whirl around me as I was swung onto a chest, and I beheld a departure angle of almost everything. I would only come to confirm where I was during the hand-off, which again gave me a whirling glimpse of the world – sometimes even without seeing who received me.
Even so, I was excellent at location-al memory. I usually knew where I was from the departure view. Soon, I grew to know where we were stopping based on my view out the windows (from laying in the seat or carrier), the stops and starts, and the time of the trip.
I remember sitting in high-chairs: the chrome and glittered-vinyl covered hard seat high chairs of yesteryear still in service at classic Denny’s and the like. I remember being spoon-fed a variety of colored pastes. I remember scattering cereal, spilling drinks, and gently ejecting unpalatable goo in an easily cleanable and satisfying ribbon down my chin. I remember this happening in a variety of kitchen’s and dining rooms, and a few restaurants which are nothing like today’s neighborhood grills.
I remember diaper changes.
Christmases, Easters, birthdays, summer and fall outings, though especially now in my fifties it is difficult to remember which memories were the first memories because I had no concept of the orderly passage of time for awhile. And I share that now to make an important point about sharing reveries from my early life: I can no longer give an orderly progression of my days from my earliest memory forward, if I ever could. What I can and will do is share memories of an earlier time in the world and the earliest times of my life and call them that.
I do remember the struggle to learn to walk, but I can’t say I remember the first time I walked because as an infant, or suddenly toddler, my perspective of the world only changed by about six inches or so, and my life was always viewed from my head regardless of its distance from the ground. Also, even after walking, I still spent a lot of time crawling, rolling, and lying down, so again even if I can say “I remember this from the floor” and “I remember that from standing” I cannot say clearly that “this is my first memory of standing”. It was, after all, about the struggle, and the success.
If I’d known I’d be writing memoirs, I’d have taken better notes.
I remember the cold on my face in the dark, during pensive transfers between car and building during the winter. I also remember shaded transfers during the summer, but air-conditioning was still a new thing so I was often already quite warm, but I remember the cooling shade provided my eyes, my face.
Oh, and I remember this: I have always had a meta-perspective, a third-party analysis of life even before I had vocabulary. I remember the mobiles that would be hanging over my crib and wonder, “Why do they look pretty when I’m being held, but from down here they look like boring pieces of flat plastic” or whatever. “That’s …that isn’t right. It should be different.” And I analyzed everthing, that meta-voice always working then as now.
“This train that I’m playing with, there’s no way, even if it was functional, that it could ever pull a useful load even at scale. And look at this, the bottom is just smooth nothing; where’s the detailed undercarriage? I’ve seen a real steam engine, I know there’s got to be more. But I guess I’ll continue to play with this primitive toy. It rolls nicely under my weight. Oh look, here comes the dog!”
The words were not there. But the cognition was. The analysis was. The critique was.
My world of wonder as an infant was often one of, “I wonder why its like this?!”
Do you have a system to check the test data, so to speak? Like I was poking around in my memories before I realized the power of poking and self-programming and some other stuff that is a poor master but a great servant. Were you writing it all down from the start? This would be such a great archive, I would gladly envy you because I have acted to do the same now, thus envy used well prompts us to improve, we think.
In the world I would write, children would be treated like Noobs, and would be protected from the Griefers. This sounds dystopian to some, but I see what parents do to children. Easier to do right the first time, problem is writing a loose enough morality system based on discernment rather than hard and fast dogma. Who has time for that now days?
@sisyphus Kinda. My dad in particular would play the “do you remember what you did yesterday?” game, which helped to develop the sense of meta. So, while I don’t have a independent data (like a journal, for those early years) I do have memories or playing the memory game and recalling the data of the previous day.
Stated another way, I have multiple redundant recollections of the same memories. I remember remembering the memory.
There was a time in my 8-10 years range where I realized I was playing the memory game (with myself) less, because I was actively engaging life more. Then I grew a few years, and RAM and framerates also expanded, so I resumed it, but in a more meta fashion (as you described storing the meme and not the text unless the text compresses smaller).
Since that time I’ve gone in and out of more and less reflective phases. I’m at a place right now where I am almost always on, and my reflective process is almost exclusively diagnostic. And it sucks, but I choose to be here. Until I change.