For a variety of reasons, I’ve been talking to friends a lot about what and how much our kids will remember when they grow up. The big events of the day, the things that seem like life or death — will they really stick? Or will they get lost in the busy-ness of kid stuff?
With that in mind, here are some of the early, early things that I remember.
>> Someone took my sister and I to Presbyterian Hospital to wave to my mom from the parking lot. My brother had just been born.
>> I waited for my friends at the very end of our driveway forever and finally finally finally it was time for the party to start.
>> On my third birthday, I asked my mom when I would be four.
>> My family moved around the corner from Robin Road to Montclair Avenue. I remember walking up the street with a lamp and then getting to watch cartoons in the new house.
>> On my first day of kindergarten, a man helped me find Mrs. Goldie’s room after I got off the bus. He showed me a shortcut across some grass to get there. I was very worried about whether I would be allowed to take the shortcut again, or whether I’d have to figure out the regular way by myself the next day.
>> I was in front of the Andersons’ house, two doors down, when I finally figured out how to ride a bike. Someone said, “If you start to fall, just steer in the direction you’re falling,” and that was it. My bike was reddish-pink, with white handlebars.
>> Shortly thereafter, I wiped out at the bottom of the hill. I still have the scar on my elbow.
>> Sometime, I’m not sure how old I was, I got pulled out too far in the ocean and couldn’t get back in. My sister came out after me, and then my dad. I remember it very, very clearly, and it was scary.
>> I was given my best teddy bear for Christmas. He wasn’t wrapped, but I knew he was for me. His name is Pot. I still have him.
>> I spelled “of” as “uv” on a spelling test in first grade. I was so disappointed when I realized I’d been wrong. I knew it was of.
>> I had a nosebleed at school one time. I was wearing yellow overalls. I hoped I would get to go home, but I didn’t.
>> I thought I was exploring the giant woods next to my house. Turns out, that was an empty lot and a half. But it was giant enough.
>> Chickadees were living in our swingset.
>> Star Wars. Drive-in movie. Way way back of the station wagon.
>> I spilled nail polish remover on a table at the Andersons’ house. I kept thinking someone was going to tell me it was no big deal, but that never happened.
>> A little old lady fell on the steps after church at St. Philip’s in Charleston. There was blood, and then we got hustled out of there.
>> In first grade I drew a picture of my dad. It was chosen to go on the bulletin board and I can picture it there like it was yesterday. I took special care with his hair in the picture, which is surprising now, because even then he hardly had any.
>> I went to the wallpaper store to pick out wallpaper for my room. Giant pink gingham flowers. Now I see why I was only allowed to have it on one wall.
I guess what this tells me is that kids remember both the big things and the little things. Not all of them, but more than you might think. Or it might be more fair to say that from a six-year-old’s perspective, all those things are big.