My Earliest Memories May Not Be Real

Today’s Bloganuary prompt asks

What is the earliest memory you have?

I’ve often thought about my early memories, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I have very few that I can trust are true. 

Most of my early memories are ones that have photographs to back them up. So when I think of one of these memories, I almost always see the image in the photograph as either the entire memory, or at least the major part of the memory. 

No matter how hard I try, I can rarely see much more than a fuzzy peripheral view of that moment in time. 

That leads me to believe that I don’t actually remember any of those things at all. I’ve just seen those old photos hundreds of times, and the photos themselves are what I remember, combined perhaps with the stories that have been told about them – not the actual event that was photographed.

So while considering today’s prompt question, I’ve tried to come up with memories that, to my knowledge, have never had a photo associated with that moment in time. Each of those memories are from a significantly later time in my life when I was 12 or 13 years old. 

That’s not to say I don’t remember people from earlier. I do. Family, friends, school teachers…of course, they are all there in my memory. But specific moments with any of them? Other than fake photo memories or “family lore stories” that have been told hundreds of times, I can’t remember any specific moments from an earlier age. Perhaps if someone said, “hey, remember that time when we…” I would remember, but sitting here trying to conjure up anything leaves me full of emptiness.

So then, what do I remember from those pre-teen and teen years? Here are a few quick glimpses, which honestly, is all I have stored in my head. Brief glimpses.

Silent Friendship

I remember sitting with a friend in 7th grade (I think) whose name was Laurie, I believe. She and I were friends mainly because there was no one else to be friends with. For whatever reasons, we were in that awkward stage where kids had their own little cliques and Laurie and I weren’t part of any of them. So each day, we’d sit cross-legged on the pavement of our school’s parking lot/playground, silently eating snacks. We never spoke much. We really didn’t have anything to say to one another. We just hung out together, just because.

Analysis of that memory: I wonder how much of that memory is even true. Maybe we were great friends. Maybe we talked a lot. Maybe all I remember is a brief moment in time when we had nothing to say.

Confidence Level: 4 out of 10

Cheerleading at Volleyball Tournaments

I was a cheerleader from 2nd grade through 7th, I think? Maybe only through 6th? I really don’t know. So maybe this is a memory from slightly earlier than the age of 12? Unsure. But while I have lots of “photo-enabled” memories of those earlier cheerleader days, the only ones I can think of that didn’t come with photos are the ones where we sweated long hours in a gymnasium during tournaments. Game after game after game in one or maybe two days, cheering on the sidelines. Occasional breaks. That was a tough job. 

Analysis of that memory: Since I remember the feeling of exhaustion pretty vividly, I think I am recalling the experience honestly, although details are lacking. The featured image of the cheerleader photos are my own. So theoretically, I could be remembering from those photos, but I don’t think that’s true, because these photos are taken outside, and my memories are from inside a gymnasium.

Confidence Level: 6 out of 10

Reading and Listening to Music in My Bedroom

I read everything I could get my hands on, from product labels to fiction to encyclopedias. I’ve always been most interested in reading mysteries, and I definitely remember reading lots of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. 

I also listened to lots of music once I was deemed old enough to do so. In those days, it consisted mostly of The Osmonds (like Puppy Love), The Jackson 5 (like Never Can Say Goodbye), David Cassidy (like Cherish), and even some less bubblegum music like In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. Other faves around that time that I can think of would include anything from Bread, like Make It With You, and Green-Eyed Lady by Sugarloaf.  

Analysis of that memory: I have quite a few snippets of memories that involve me reading or singing (badly, I might add). However, it’s a mashup of many moments, rather than just one specific one.

Confidence Level: 8 out of 10

I suppose I could come up with a few more if I tried hard enough, but there’s not enough time for that. And really, I’ll never be able to answer the specific question, “What is my earliest memory?”. Honestly, I don’t know specifically what that would be. But the above memories are as close as I can get to an answer.

This post is part of the WordPress Bloganuary Challenge for 2023, where everyone participating is provided a writing prompt each day. Today’s prompt was to write about my earliest memory.

1 response to “My Earliest Memories May Not Be Real”

  1. Meeshell Avatar

    Huh. I like how you analyzed and rated each memory. I too wondered about some of my memories.

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