I started doing my journal jar questions today—FINALLY (it’s a jar of folded-up pieces of paper with questions on them—you draw one and start writing or recording your answer as a way of recording your personal history. Let me know if you’d like the list of questions via email). It’s hard, though because a lot of the questions ask you to describe your childhood house, neighborhood, school, etc…and I had SO MANY! So many schools, siblings, houses, parents...it gets overwhelming and I just stop writing.
BUT! I will talk about my earliest memories and how they relate to where I lived. The place my parents lived when I was born was like a student housing trailer court on Prince Road in Tucson, if I remember correctly. I have no memory of that place or even going back to visit it later. I am sure I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house, though, and they still live in that same house, though it has been through many transformations. I’ll talk about my memories of that house, too, in chronological order.
My earliest independent memories (not induced by photographs) begin when I was about 3 years old and we lived in Pima, AZ. I remember the rough shape of our house—that is was white with brown trim, that there was a living room (sunken?) and a hallway with bedrooms (tiled?) and at the end, a bathroom with blue tile. I remember the blue tile from a memory of racing down the hall to throw up in the toilet because I didn’t want to make a mess and make my mom sad (she was probably pregnant with the twins then). I remember a kitchen/dining area behind the living room, and it had a pocket door. The pull for the door was at my eye level and it had a little round indentation for a finger, which I loved to stick my finger in. I played with the little latch a lot, too. I remember eating tomato soup there. I remember a friend named Cody whose light skin and hair were almost the same color, and a friend named Kendall whose name made me picture a candle in my mind, and a friend named Timothy whose name made me picture a small, square scribble of brown crayon.
I remember in that house, my mom used to rock me to sleep sometimes and I made her sing “The Brady Bunch” theme song and “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang” to get me to sleep (I also had the delusion that I WAS the girl on Chitty-Chitty-Bang- Bang--I was always trying to remember back to when I lived there and did all that stuff). We lived there when the twins were born and my dad moved to Idaho to work and find us a house. It was while we were living there that I began to feel an unexplained anxiety about not having my dad around, a foreshadowing of the divorce that would come two years later and turn me into the nervous wreck we all know and love today.
I remember the twins coming home to Grandma’s on Christmas Eve (Willy and I went to stay with Grandma when the twins were born, although I don’t remember that at all). Santa came and brought me The Sunshine Family dolls—an all-time favorite toy, for sure—but nothing could beat Willy and me each getting our own baby sister for Christmas. I can remember my mom’s face as she opened the door, carrying a baby, wearing a brown coat (I think). I remember I devised my own way to tell the little newborns apart—Lisa had a small round head and Laura had a square head. Funny thing is, my girls have the same heads! Addie’s was square and Heidi’s was round!
More memories to come...