Have you ever felt jealous of someone regaling you and others with fond memories of their childhood? If so, you are probably not alone. Memories can be slippery little beasts. If they are not reinforced over time, they can slip away.
I do not feel jealous when someone starts reminiscing about their childhood. I do, at times, feel envious. I have very few early childhood memories, and the ones I have are suspect. Take the earliest incident I can recall.
I was running barefoot through a field and stepped on a Bumble Bee. I was about four and ran back to my mother, crying my eyes out. No, I was not crying because the bee stung me. I was devastated because I killed it. At least, that is the story I heard so many times I lost count as I grew up.
I have other early memories that seem linked to the stories about them, not my memory of them. Still, others are linked to photographs of the experience, more than my recollection of the incident.
The oldest memory I can recall that is not linked to photographs, my mom trying to embarrass me, or my dad telling some tall tale to prove what a great hunter and marksman he was, came out of my second-grade school year.
Santa brought me some real “paratrooper” boots. I was so proud of them; I wore them every day. One day at recess, one of the teachers commented on my new boots. I started jumping up and down, telling her how they helped protect my ankles when I jumped, just like a paratrooper.
In the process, I stirred up a lot of dust, dirtying her shoes. You might say I had my first embarrassing encounter with an older woman at seven on a playground, which I never forgot.
I have written about the mportance of childhood memories, good and bad. I don’t think we tell them to ourselves often enough. My daughters say that I tell them too often.