This morning as I snuggled with my two year old grand daughter I got to thinking about the past two years and all the time and energy that has been put into raising her- the unfaltering care and attention of three sets of grandparents, her parents and sitter. She has been surrounded by books , music, toys, paints, crayons and every imaginable activity that can be conjured up and afforded by her family. Her social development is fostered by a large family network and activities with children her own age at daycare, birthday parties and playground visits. I wondered how her upbringing compares with my own preschool years. I have so few memories that far back.
As I flip through the mental pages and find the genesis of my memory the earliest I could recall occurred at about two years of age. My memory is as follows.
I am in a toddler’s wooden sleigh. It has a semicircular wooden frame at the back that supports a pillow which I am leaning back against. There are blankets wrapped around me which hardly seem necessary seeing that I am clothed in a snowsuit, cap. mittens and boots. The sleigh is being pulled up the street which runs perpendicular to the one my home is on. I can see my house as we labour up the hill. I believe one of my younger aunts is pulling the long wooden handle and the runners are slipping through the snow on the side of the street. It is a bright sunny day but everything is covered in white drifts. As the cars go by I hear the rattle of chains that keep the tires from slipping and sliding under icy conditions. I don’t remember the last time I heard chained tires. I feel the frost in the air and smell the winter freshness. And I am warm and snug in the blankets that are wrapped around me . The only cold is what I feel on my cheeks which are no doubt red as two apples. I have always had apple red cheeks in cold weather.
I can picture the exact spot where this memory takes place. It is about half way up the hill and alongside Cashin’s property.
I wonder just why that particular day, that particular spot and that particular sound had such an effect 0n me that sixty years later I can relive it just by closing my eyes and allowing the details to appear.
Do you have a memory of an event that early in your childhood? Can you smell it, feel it, picture it? Why do you suppose that memory stands out?
Which activity of the many hundreds will stand out in my grand-daughter’s mind, I wonder. Will there be one that will pop up spontaneously without the props of photographs or videos? I hope I will be around long enough to find out.