Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sister in the Making

Kanani the Easy-Writer has tagged me for a meme which strikes me as a good way to avoid cleaning the house for a little longer, it would be rude not to accept and get to it staight away. This meme is to write about my earliest memory.

I was three, we were staying with my maternal grandparents because my mother had left my father again: she was such a drama queen! There would be raised voices and then my mother would say 'that's it' and suddenly we wouldn't be at home any more. So my brother, who was two, and me were a little disturbed, confused, uncomfortable but also a little excited because we loved our grandparents and their big comfy house. But I don't really remember much about that, just a general mixture of feeling, what I do remember is a sudden burst of frantic activity one day and my brother and me being consigned to the front sitting room and being told to keep out of the way: more discomfort of feeling, no one explained anything, we were simply put in the room. Then my father's voice...

Of course, wanted to rush out and see him but the door had been locked from the outside: we were trapped. So we waited for him to come in and see us, but he didn't. Then there was an ambulance, lights and sirens going, the room turning blue then white then blue again. And my grandparents and father were out on the front steps, my mother was being helped into the ambulance by a strange man wearing uniform, my father looked worried. I pressed my nose to the window. My brother was frantic, he tugged at the door handle and wailed.

Now, the window I was pressing my face to was the huge sash type characteristic of Victorian town houses like this and as I needed to make my self heard I used all my strength to open it. Success! I stuck my head out and called to my mother but she didn't seem to hear me. Grandpa, Grandma and Dad were now surrounding her in that fidgety way adults do sometimes and no one paid any attention to me. My brother was still frantically trying the door when the window came crashing down on my neck, locking me in position. Now my brother was at my side, desperately pawing at the window, tears streaming down his face as I screamed and shouted and still no one paid me any attention. The ambulance drove away with our mother inside...

The remaining adults turned towards the house, my brother still pawing at the window, desperately trying to lift it and free me, me still screaming for mum, for dad, for my poor, troubled brother. Finally they noticed, my head trapped outside of the window, my little three year old body inside. Alarmed faces, the key turned in the lock and at last I was freed. My brother and me rushed at dad.

Things quietened down, we stayed at our grandparents, dad went home. The next thing I remember is dad coming back and taking us away. Then we were standing in a dingy, green tinged lobby, silent and cold, holding his hand...

Out of nowhere mum appeared apparently holding a bundle of white fancy knit, and dad was rushing up to them, and we followed him, and then we were home.

Now I am supposed to tag five others to write their earliest memories but in the interests of egalitarianism I am simply going to invite whoever has such a memory to share to write it up on their site if they so wish.


Dr Maroon said...

Jesus! What's your second memory?

I remember standing in a cot stripping down an onion with my hands. ( a jealous sibling must have given it to me) True.

Eryl Shields said...

Crikey, Doc, I think that is my second! I think I've just remembered my first and it was moving into our house. It was freezing and I remember sitting on a box in the kitchen with adults coming and going and my dad saying to me it will be alright tomorrow. And the wallpaper in the kitchen had tomatoes all over it and I got confused between the words tomorrow and tomato and couldn't understand what my dad was telling me 'it will be all right tomato?!'

In truth it's difficult to know how much I actually remember experiencing and how much I really remember because of the family mythology: hearing these stories over and over again until they feel like real memories.

It sounds like your first memory is from a younger age than mine in any case.

Kanani said...

Wow! What a memory! Seems to be bits and pieces coming in and out. Sounds scary.

PI said...

I hope it really did turn out happily. Those damned sash windows; I knew what would happen.
Nice of you to leave people to do or not to do:)

Mary Witzl said...

What an incredible memory, Eryl, but at the end I was dying to know if your mother had a boy or a girl -- or was it a baby she had after all? And were you okay, or did you have any scars on your back? This same thing happened to my husband once, when he was reglazing our windows. But one of those windows could really hurt a small child, and how lucky that they finally freed you!

Mary Witzl said...

And now I've just read the title of your post, and the answer to my first question has been answered.


Eryl Shields said...

Kanani ~ Yes you are right it's a sort of pulsating visual memory with some sound, kind of like a slide show.

Pat ~ It did turn out happily, I don't remember any physical pain just a kind of nagging worry until my sister was born and we all went home. She is lovely by the way quite unlike me: hard headed and practical but very kind.

Yes, I thought I'd leave the invitation open as I know that some people have an agenda for their posts and find memes a bit of an irritant.

Mary ~ I really don't know how I wasn't hurt; maybe I was and I don't remember. No scars now though.

My sash windows are a complete pain, I have to keep them open with old hardback books or rocks from the beach. I'd love casement windows some day.

Kim Ayres said...

It's true - early memories are much more memories of memories - not recalled directly so much as I remember recalling them before. As such they feel more like someone else's.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Wow! I hope things settled down after that. The tomato bit's dead cute.

My earliest memory is really dull. it's got no narrative whatsoever. I'm in a pram with a purple coverlet and my older cousin is pushing me up and down outside our house.

Eryl Shields said...

Kim ~ Yeah, they're a bit of a mish-mash really aren't they. Mine are a bit like watching a silent movie.

Sam ~ It's safe to say that my early years were a bit tumultuous!

Like the Doc, your earliest memory sounds like it is from a much younger age than mine. I like tha fact that you remember the colour of the coverlet.