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Thursday, June 3, 2010

that's pretty good for a first memory, right? 18 months?

I recently broke my own record for earliest memory. For the longest time, my earliest memory was of sitting on my new white steel-framed bed, watching my mother stencil paint a scene from Little Bo Peep, including her un-lost sheep. I was two years old at the time and had just graduated from the crib. I slept in that white steel framed bed until I was 11.

My record-breaking memory came back to me a few weeks ago when my mom and I were visiting Children's Mercy Hospital. If you ever think it will be a small thing to visit a pediatric hospital like I did--be forewarned. It takes guts to sit your grown up able-bodied self on a bench in the lobby of such a place and watch suffering children come and go with smiles on their faces and laughs in their bellies. I needed to get my bearings for about 3o minutes before I could keep going on the tour of the facility.
Suddenly I remembered being strapped to a bed in hysterics with orange walls all around me and big big people leaning over me. I turned to my mom and asked what that was all about. She looked at my incredulously and recounted that when I was 18 months old, I had a terrible ear infection that spiked a dangerously high fever. My grad school dad and typist mother took me to the hospital where the mean doctors put an IV first in my hand and then, after I pulled that one out, in my head. I was so terrified and agitated that they had to tie down my arms and legs to the crib for the second IV attempt and Mom couldn't handle watching the awful scene so she stepped out in the hall and cried until it was over.
It was somehow easier to stand back up and walk through that place after realizing that I'd a similar experience to some of those kids, but then lived for 21 years without remembering the incident.


  1. Good blog but not such a good memory! That was probably as traumatic for me as it was for you. I felt totally helpless.

  2. bizarre!
    my first memory is eating oreo's on the kitchen floor in the old house with my brother.
    & for some reason my memory is sepia-toned.
    yep, chocolate.
    yep, sepia tone.

    that's it.

  3. jeff: interesting! maybe my memory is sepia too...what hospital has orange walls? i think you just read my mind again, you freak.