Tuesday, June 28, 2005

My First Memory

My first memory is from when I was 9 months old, and I can prove it.

When I was young we traveled a lot (father in academics). I was born in Australia and lived there the first two years of my life. When I was 9 months old we traveled back to the States for a visit. On the way, we stopped in Kenya (academicish-researchish stuff). Later, when I was old enough to speak I told my parents I remembered our visit to Kenya. Understandably, they didn't believe me.

The memory is very simple. I'm in the back seat of a car. We're pulling into a some sort of parking lot or gas station. I'm looking up out of the window, and I see a tower, perhaps a clock tower, superimposed against the sky. That's it. Just the image and a general sense of where we were. When I eventually told this to my parents they naturally assumed I was just constructing the "memory" from things I had heard them say. My vindication came later.

When I was four we moved to Kenya for a year (more academicish-researchish stuff). One day as we were driving through Nairobi I spotted the tower next to the gas station and eagerly declared that was it. Surprised, they confirmed that we had, in fact, been there during our visit almost four years earlier. Case closed.

I suspect memories from infancy are more common than we realize. They're just hard to identify as such unless there happens to be some sort of clear identifier indicating when they happened, as was the case with mine.

What is your first memory?


  1. I remember returning to my preschool class room at age 3 and everyone else was eating chocolate pudding with clear blue plastic spoons. Just that memory of sheer desire is something that's ingrained on my mind.

  2. Anonymous10:06 AM

    my husband remembers the minister touching his head with a rose that had cold water on it when he was baptised before he was a year old. not proveable, but real to him.

  3. Anonymous9:36 PM

    I remember driving the cows to the barn for my father to milk on my fifth birthday and feeling sorry for myself that here it was my birthday and I was having to do the same old thing of driving up the cows!! It is not a terribly early memory but a very vivid one.

  4. Anonymous11:38 AM

    When I was two--my grandparents lived in the big yellow house in El Sobrante and Mr. MacGregor had his place on the hillside beside and below. I fed his ponies oats as someone (Dad?) held me up over the wire fence. It was late summer. Hot. The hills were that golden brown.

  5. I remember being in a catholic church in port huron, michigan. I must have been somewhere between 1 and 2 years old. I remember walking (toddling?) down the aisle, and the tops of the pews seemed far over my head.