This is not the greatest photo, it’s a current shot from Google Street View, but the first thing I can clearly recall from my ridiculous life happened in that yard. During the summer of 1964 my parents, who were roughly 22 years old at the time, rented the upstairs apartment behind the green house there. I was less than 2 years old, and my mother was pregnant with my brother Tim. This is on 15th Street in Dunbar, and it was a lot less dumpy and demoralizing back then.
In any case, I can remember being on the sidewalk that runs beside the house, with an unknown girl who was wearing a dress. We had plastic cups filled with Kool-Aid (I’m almost certain it was grape), and we were pouring it on the concrete, making designs. And a woman — not my mother — yelled for us to stop. “You’ll draw ants!” she screamed, in a decidedly unfriendly tone. And that’s pretty much the entire memory. Nothing too traumatic, or anything. Wonder why it’s stuck with me for so long? I was about one and a half years old when it happened.
I asked my mother about it today, and she said the people who lived in the green house had a little girl who was slightly older than me. Also, my mother had a friend with a daughter who was born on the same day as me, who was at the apartment a lot. It could’ve been either of them.
And… the woman who lived in the ground floor apartment, underneath us, was always bitching and moaning about something. She was the type to holler at a couple of toddlers in the yard, I’m told. “So, it certainly could’ve happened,” my mother said. Which kinda irritated me… “Oh, it happened,” I assured her. If I were to make up a story, it would be a lot better than that one, I can assure you.
I also remember moving into our new house on 21st Street, in 1965. I recall my parents painting all of the interior walls, and the smell of the project. And there was a woman wearing cat-eye glasses, and a big sun hat going from room to room, ooing and awwing at the transformation. My mother has no idea who that woman could’ve been. But there was such a woman. I know it, for a fact. Some of my memories are hazy, but the two I mention here are not.
What was your earliest memory? How old were you? Was it something inconsequential like mine, or a big deal of some sort? Please use the comments to tell us about it.
And this is a quickie, but I’ll be back soon, my friends.
Have yourselves a great day!
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Joe T. says
I remember watching Batman on ABC in the mid 60’s while riding my hobbie horse. I was the coolest kid on the block (take THAT The Qweezy Mark.) After Batman it was the Green Hornet.
“you’ll draw ants”
What a hoot. I’m going to try and work that into a song. I’ll share if it is worthy. You’ll draw ants…heh.
I was about 4, we had just moved to Arkansas. Summer 1980. We had a huge thunderstorm that flooded our street. I remember standing in the middle of the street with the water up to my ankles. Thankfully the curbs where high enough to keep.the water from going into the houses.
“…but we’re trying to draw ants, lady. That one’s a bee, those are worms, these are ants”
Jerry in WV says
1965. I was two years old and my father and I had a serious car accident. Thankfully, we both lived. Of course, the car we had back then had no seat belts and I was standing beside him on the bench seat. He passed out while driving, from a minor stroke, and drove off an embankment and the car fell about 15 feet, to a street below. I was ejected from the car, through the windshield and landed on the street. This was only about two blocks from my home and my mother heard the accident. She said they all thought I was dead. My dad was beginning to wake up when the neighbors arrived to help. She said I was covered in blood and people were just standing there looking and not helping me. Here is my memory…. I vividly recall an old black man picking me up and laying me on his back seat. I looked directly into his face. I also have a memory of being in the hospital and looking through the bars of the crib. I was in the hospital for about two weeks. Over 300 stitches in my face and head. My mother said they never knew who the man was. He just walked through the crowd and picked me up. When she got to the hospital, she said the nurse told her that the man walked in with me, handed me to her and walked back out the door. I guess he didn’t want to answer any questions about why a black man had a severely injured white boy. 1965 wasn’t the best of times in Beckley, WV.
Prime example of what people refer to as the good old days, ain’t always that good, or necessarily that different, becuase if anything, today at least, there would be more than one lone man, regardless of color, who would at least attempt to see if everybody is alive and lend a hand rather than stand around agog with their thumbs up their asses staring at the spectacle infront of them.
Thats a lot of stitches. Bear any (physical) scars still?
Jerry in WV says
Yes, but the worst ones are covered by hair. The ones on my face are pretty much faded.
I think I was about three. I was in my parents’ bedroom and spotted a delicious red Smartie. I can remember being very excited at my good fortune, and I quickly popped it in my mouth and started chewing. It was a ladybug. How I could get a Smartie and a ladybug mixed up, even at three, is beyond me. I guess I was a dullard child.
The Qweezy Mark says
When I was a baby my family had a parakeet that was in one of those old timey bird cages that was up high on a stand, like a floor lamp. I just have a fleeting memory of crawling through the kitchen and looking way up high and trying to see the bird. The whole memory is just like a frozen instant in time, just staring up at the bottom of the cage.
The Qweezy Mark says
Oh, and Joe T., your hobby horse was stoopid.
Joe T. says
So was your fucking precious parakeet.
I don’t know how old I was, but I was put to bed in just a diaper. I would grip the crib bars with my toes and haul myself up to hang over the side so I could look out the bedroom door to the kitchen, where my parents were playing cards with another couple. I would just hang there and watch until my dad would see me and he’d snap his fingers and point at me and I would throw myself back onto the mattress and laugh. I did it over and over. I had to be less than 2 because I remember the dog walking around in the kitchen and my mom said she had to give him away when we moved from Oklahoma to Kansas right before I turned 2.
I have a memory from when I was 2 at the next place we lived. I have no idea how I got there, but my mom said she found me on the kitchen counter making toast in the middle of the night. I remember grape jelly was involved and I remember lots of toast crumbs.
I remember my mother setting us all before the TV and instructing us all to be quiet and watch. I didn’t understand what was going on but all the adults were crying and I watched what I thought was a parade. Later I realized it was JFK’s funeral. I see it now on you tube and it brings me right back there to Oregon, Ohio.
I clearly remember the rudderless horse with the backwards boot in the stirrup. Everyone thought I was making it up but I distinctly Prendergast. Ok maybe it was rfk but I remember that image
Rider less. Jesus
That was the third tablet Moses kept quiet about.
I have two vivid (sort of) early memories and they both involve trauma. One is pulling my mother’s ironing board over and getting a nasty burn from the iron in use at the time. My mother’s first aid was to apply a freshly cut potato to the burn. Still have a scare.
The other involves when I was just beginning to be able to run. My parents were furniture shopping on Charleston’s West Side. I was running down the furniture aisle and I can remember my dad yelling at me to quit running…too late, I tripped and split my forehead open on a coffee table. Luckily the old Staats Hospital was just a couple doors down and I got my first of many stiches.
I remember my parents dragging us along to look at the house they were buying. The owners took outrage chandelier in the dining room and left cables in the ceilt. It looked like a monkey clinging to the wall. Scared the shit out of me and my sister. To this day I hate monkeys
I was 4 years old and I remember sitting in a bathtub (no water) playing with my cast iron mechanical clown and dog bank (dog jumps through hoop to put coin in barrel). I’m pretty sure I remember it because I was at a hotel with my mom and her “friend”. Ahhh – traumatic memories last the longest. Did I mention I was raised by my dad? 🙂 You ask.
Franky T says
I must have been around 4 years old and some kids were playing with smoke bombs. They lit them and threw them, picked them up and threw again. The idiot I was, I picked it up and had put my thumb over the blow-hole. Hot damn, it hurt like a muthafocker.