What is the earliest memory you have?

Throughout the month of January, WordPress is sending participating bloggers a writing prompt each day. It’s a way to find some creative inspiration and perhaps make connections with other bloggers. My entries in this blogging challenge will appear here under the tag #bloganuary.

I was born in the WAC hospital at Fort McClellan, in Aniston, Alabama in July 1954. My dad was stationed there, as a corporal in the Army Corps of Engineers, but my parents lived in Hunstville, near the Redstone Arsenal, where my father worked. In a recent conversation with my father, I learned that he was discharged in February 1955, and we moved from Alabama to Wichita, Kansas, where he took a job as a draftsman for Cessna, the aircraft manufacturer. This move brought our family closer to my parents’ hometown of Winfield, Kansas, but we only lived there for about two years, at which time my father took a job in the Cincinnati area, working for General Electric. My earliest memory comes from sometime during that period between my birth in Alabama and our move from Kansas to Ohio.

I remember lying in my crib–I distinctly remember the wooden bars of the sides of the baby bed. I was lying on my back, and I don’t believe that I was able to roll over yet. My memory is that I was wiggling a lot, moving my arms and legs, but basically staying in one place. The room was somewhat dark, but it must have been a mid-day nap time, because while the lights were off, the room was bright enough that I could see objects clearly. There may have been a mobile of some sort hanging above me, but directly above my crib I could see a round vent of some sort in the ceiling, probably the cover over a heating or ventilation duct, and I could hear people talking. I recognized my parents’ voices, but there were other voices I didn’t recognize. In any case, to me, it seemed that the voices were coming out of the vent, and that fascinated me, and may have actually scared me just a little.

My best guess is that this happened not long before we left Alabama. The fact that I wasn’t rolling over suggests that I was probably less than six months old. By the time we moved to Ohio I was about two and a half.

It’s so odd to me that I can remember something that happened when I was too young to do more than wiggle, and yet today I often can’t recall why I have walked into a room in my home.

UPDATE: I happened to be at my dad’s home this morning and I told him about this memory. He confirmed that the setting I was describing sounded very much like the tiny apartment we lived in in Huntsville. It was an odd little three-room apartment at the back of a small grocery store, and there was a door that opened from the kitchen right into the store. That was also the room where my crib was located. Up two steps from that little kitchen was my parents’ bedroom, and up two more steps from there was a small room they called their living room. We moved out of that apartment and into a rental house for a short time before we left Huntsville following my dad’s discharge from the Army, so my guess is that I was around four or five months old when this memory was formed.


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