The earliest memories

When was your earliest memory?

I sometimes discuss this topic with various people I know and, on average, people's earliest memories seem to be from when they were 4 or 5 years old.

Mine is from when I was about, I think, 2.

I was sitting in a little blue stroller and somebody was pushing it along. We were rounding a corner by the red brick 9-storey dorm building, and there was a little "putka" (it's Estonian for a little market stall-like structure) on my left. An old lady passed us in the opposite direction.

It is probably the earliest memory I have - going by the size of the stroller I cannot imagine me being more than 2 at the time - and why I would remember such a non-event to begin with, I don't know. It was an entirely trivial piece of everyday life: a walk back from the shop, probably, and apart from that stroller, that little section of the road and the way the stroller was rattling on the pavement there is very little else I remember.

But for some reason, I remember.

***

Another memory - and this one is way cooler =D! - is from when I was about 3 or 4 years old and my parents bought me a fur coat.

Oh. My. Jesus. F*ckin'. Christ. Just thinking back on it now makes me giggle!

It was dead of the winter in Estonia and the ground was covered in snow. I was sitting on a sledge and someone (again, I don't remember who, but I guess my mother again?) was pulling it along on our way home from the kindergarten.

But we had a, khm!, little problem: the fur coat was thick, and very-very heavy, and probably very warm, too, but... I couldn't bend in it. The coat was rigid, and as I was attempting to sit upright in the sledge it kept "pulling" me back into a laying-down position and...

Well, somewhere in the world there probably exist a writer who can put what happened next into words that convey the horror of it better than I can, but: I was hollering. It was a full on, scream-and-cry sort of hollering - the sort that parents of "willful" toddlers ;) can probably recognise - and I was teeming with the injustice of it.

I actually remember screaming at a point where it was hurting the back of my throat. Whoever was pulling the sledge had to navigate a lip on the road from a parking lot onto a walkway and the motion made me fall backwards - again - at which point I broke down into some proper toddler fury.

I don't want to wear this coat!, I remember thinking.
But you can't take it off now, it's cold, we have to get home first, they said.

I don't want to sit on this sledge like that!, I remember thinking.
Well, walk then, they said.

But I don't want to walk! I want to sit on the sledge! But this coat doesn't let me sit! It makes me lay down and I don't want to lay down! I don't want to wear this coat!

And so I have this memory of standing next to the sledge, screaming and crying, whilst whatever adult I had next to me was trying to cajole me into either walking home or laying on the sledge - neither of which I was wanting to be doing - and how we got home in the end I don't remember, but I'm fairly certain they never made me wear that coat again.

Which reminds me: I should actually ask my mother about that coat. Being the end of a communist era it could not have been cheap nor easy for my parents to source a fur coat, and what it must've felt like to argue like that with a toddler, in the dark of a winter evening... Yeah.

I haven't got pictures of me being a toddler - here with me, I mean - but at three months old this is how I looked like: (with my grandparents)


Looking pretty... placid, don't you think? ;)

2 comments:

  1. That's hilarious about your fur coat! I had one like that too but I was older and was supposed to wear it to school - it was a very good coat, warm and thick and everything it was supposed to be... but it weighed a ton and a half. I think my parents still have it )).

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  2. I agree with Anna, hilarious! I was 2 when I had an operation, I remember being wheeled into surgery, I remember them putting a needle in my hand, I remember the hospital room and the grannies who knitted me a toy. I remember it well.

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