The earliest memory I can think of right now happened at some point probably when I was two, living in Ohio, and it’s a two-parter. I guess we lived in some old apartment at the time, and I have this foggy idea of a drunk Santa Claus walking down from the upstairs, making a lot of racket and scaring the crap out of me. Part two of the memory (same apartment, same relative time period, different day) is much more vivid. I was playing in my room (or at least a room where my toys were kept) with Bert and Ernie dolls. My mom was doing laundry and I really needed my Superman shirt washed because it was really important that I wear it. While I was waiting for the shirt to be washed, I guess I had shut and locked myself in my room. While I was playing with Ernie, something stupid happened. Stuffed dolls have little looped tags sewn into the side. I had put my finger in the looped tag, and began twisting it around for some reason. All was fine and swell until I’d twisted it so tight that my finger turned deep blue. And I had twisted it so tight, I couldn’t figure out how to untwist it. So what does any decent two-year old boy do? I think I started screaming like a little girl. With the door locked. I’m sure that freaked my parents out, and I remember my dad picking the lock with a coat hanger to get inside and rescue me from Ernie.
I think that’s pretty much all I remember before our hippie nomad days when we went down to Florida. I’ll tell stories about that later.
My brother Clayton is 6 years younger than I am. I remember sometime after he was born (obviously at some point when he was talking) my mom tried to ask him if he had any memory of being in the womb. He didn’t, of course, but I was fascinated at the time that my mom would even ask that. Just think if we really could remember what it was like in the womb. It’s like in The Abyss when Ed Harris had to force himself to breath liquid, and the scraggly guy told him that he breathed liquid for the first 9 months of his life, his body would remember. Memory is such a fascinating topic for me. Just think that right now, my little lemon-sized baby has actual, real brain waves firing, and a real brain, and that memories of the experience right now in the womb are forming. Maybe we all do have memories of what it’s like to live like that, we just haven’t ever accessed it yet.