I have to write about my earliest memory.
Surprisingly, I can remember quite a bit. It was what I remembered that caused me pause….It’s bittersweet, like many childhoods are. Some of it is a bit tragic in my eyes, and I don’t necessarily want to focus on that. I just want to release the emotional energy around those, forgive and forget. This may be a good exercise for me. Or exorcise, depending on your preference of words. So what should I write about? It says my earliest memory. My earliest memory of what? I suppose this is where I can take a little bit of artistic freedom.
I’ll give you some of my favourite earliest memories. None of the bitter. Only the sweet. They are now, at this point, more like sensations, fleeting sounds, smells and colors.
- The sounds of the sports games emanating from the TV all the time. The sound of whistle as the refs made their calls. The sounds of the crowds cheering. That sound is still a very comforting thing to me when I hear it. My Grandpa Grim loved his sports. Sometimes I would sit with him, when I knew it was almost time for The Lawrence Welk show to come on. Then we’d watch that together and he would tell me stories of all of the classic movie stars and how Bette Davis and Joan Crawford never got along.
- My Grandma Grim always let us watch TV in her room. We watched Singing in the Rain, Brigadoon, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, Gigi, The Last Unicorn….just to name a few. She even bought us little dinner trays so we could eat dinner with her while we watched.
- The sound of the traffic on the nearby busy State Route when we stayed at my Grandma and Grandpa Grim’s. It was just far enough that if I listened to it just right, it sounded like the ocean was going all night long.
- Living in Ashland, Oregon when I was SUPER little. I loved (and still do) going to Lithia Park.
- Walking into the house after school and the smell of sautéed garlic and onions when my step-mom was making dinner. Sometimes it was the smell of a yummy dessert she was making. All the same, it made me feel cozy.
- The sound of my Daddy’s keys in the door when he came home from work. This lasted throughout my teenage years. I would fall asleep on the couch after a very long day of school, horses and work, and he would come home from his swing shift and rouse me to tell me to go to my bed.
- The smell of sawdust and alfalfa. I was an equestrian when I was younger, and these smells are one of the many staples of owning horses.
- Fresh cut grass. Then it would rain for a while. The gloomy cool clouds would stay on even if the rain stopped. As the evening dusk descended, I could always hear the whistle of a train in the distance. It always struck me as a very lonely sound.
- The sound of a good rain pour.
- The smell of hops from a nearby brewery. Yes, the craft beer craze actually originated in Portland and as early as in the 80s. So there.
- The lights of Portland at night as we would drive over the Fremont Bridge. I always thought that city was most beautiful at night.
- Going to visit my Daddy at Cummins NW, where he worked as a diesel mechanic at the time.
- My Grandpa Larson always making his own dried fruit. Then blending it with the taste of the fresh batch of homemade yoghurt my Grandma Larson had just made.
- My Grandma Larson’s owl paintings. I love all the little different shapes and sizes. These were among some of her first art pieces.
- Hearing my Mom’s van coming up the driveway to pick us up for visitations. I was always super excited to see her and go on to our next adventure. Especially when we were going on a road trip somewhere.
- Hotpot parties at Deanna and Eric’s with Mom, Michael and various guests. We’d all eat together, then the kids would wander off to play and the adults would all get shit-faced. We always heard them laugh uproariously, in excited conversations. Then in the wee hours it would get quiet and I would go upstairs to use the bathroom. All the adults would be in various stages of sleep (or close to it) under the table, on a couch, halfway up the stairs. It was hysterical and oddly comforting.
- The sound of someone reading to me. I love being read to. One of the most peaceful things ever.
- The little notes that my sister Kristie would leave me in books and jewelry boxes.
- When she was super little, my other sister Patricia would crawl into bed with me in the wee hours of the pre-dawn. She would sleep with me until she heard our Mom coming and then jump out and go back to her own bed. You see, my parents were trying to break the habit. But I never cared and always let her anyway.
- When my brother, Jeff, and I had to rake leaves in the yard, we would find hysterical ways of letting all of the yard rakes fly out of our hands in random moments whenever the chorus of “Beat It” came on the radio.
- Sleeping bag wars. Us kids would put sleeping bags over our heads and wander around bashing into things whilst trying to catch each other. Probably not the best strategy, but hysterical nonetheless.
- But my favourite earliest memories were three-fold. When I got to meet each one of my siblings for the first time. They were, and still are, among the loves of my life, from the very day I got to breathe them in. I couldn’t wait to hold them and feed them and love on them.
Of course, I’ve made many many more happy memories since my youth. These are just a few of the early ones.
And now I bid you adieu. At least until tomorrow’s writing. 🙂