I am two years old in my oldest memory. My mother doubted I could remember back that far, but then I describe the house we lived in then, down to the floor plan, and she is amazed.
It plays like a silent home movie. I am alone in the “front yard” – a grassless patch of dirt and rocks. A square piece of cloth, the size of a man’s handkerchief, lies on the ground, and a table is set with mismatched, plastic dishes. A neat serving of green weeds sit next to mounds of black mesquite seeds on each of the four, toy plates. I scramble to take my place and adjust my sundress over my lap, trying to sit like a lady. I am wearing clunky summer sandals, the kind with the two large straps, one over my ankle, the other covering my toes. I reach for a chubby, metal teapot and serve my guests teacupfuls of water.
I chat happily to my pretend family when my grandmother comes to check on me, and we talk as my memory fades to black.
I have no idea why my brain chose this memory to keep over all the rest. Like those random photos one finds stored in an old shoe box, it has no more meaning than it captures a slice of time.
I find myself relishing my memories, repeating them adnauseam to anyone who will listen, not because they are golden tidbits of information, but because they are me and I don’t want to forget who I am as I grow older. Maybe if I repeat them often enough, they will stay to visit longer and not go away, never to return again.