What Is Your Earliest Memory?

Except for very few exceptional folks like my pal Oweniwe, we don’t bring memories from our past lives into the present one (although they sometimes surface from time to time. That partly explains ‘deja vú‘)

Babies also don’t retain memories, and research has indicated that most people’s earliest memories only go back to about age 3-1/2. Sigmund Freud coined the term “childhood amnesia” to describe this loss of memory from the infant years. (I borrowed this from Google grin

). We have a few rare exceptions like I mentioned earlier. These rare few remember back to the very first moment they opened their eyes after being expelled from the comforting warmth of their mother’s womb.

I agree with the aforementioned research submission on the beginning of most people’s memories because mine goes thus-

I am sitting down, holding my older sister’s hand. I am wearing a white sleeveless blouse and an itty bitty, slightly faded flower blue skirt(in retrospect it must have belonged to my older sister and that explains why the colour was fading).The skirt is really short and I have to sit down with my legs tightly closed (thank God pedophilia wasn’t as rampant as it is now).

I and my sister are sitting down on a low bench, in a courtyard facing a brown painted bungalow with a verandah. Flowerless green plants are in front of the bungalow. There is an old man wearing a white, knee length babariga and white trousers sitting in the verandah. Before him is a bowl of eba and ogbono soup which he is eating with such relish. I stare, fascinated at the man’s Adam apple as it bobs up each time a ball of eba goes down.

My sister leans over and whispers in my ear “Ishi, don’t look at him o. There is ant in his soup. He is eating eba, ant and soup.”

I am horrified. I gasp in disgust and avert my eyes.

Decades later, my sister has no memory of this event but after I described the house and the courtyard to my mum, she recognised it as the very first house we lived in when we first moved to Lagos (I was 8 months old at the time). She remembered the old man. He was our neighbour. She also recalled threatening to beat the bejesus out of my sister if she ever let me out of her sight, which is why big sis was my shadow. It also explains why she was holding my hand tightly in that memory of long ago when I was 2 and a half years old, watching my neighbor swallow huge balls of eba and supposedly ant tainted ogbono soup.

And THIS, folks, is my earliest memory! cheesy Everything that happened to me prior to this is a total blank.

What’s yours?