Blog 2: Our Hero, earliest memories
Our Hero had escaped! And a large creature was chasing him outside of the enclosure. Fire in the eyes, a growl in the voice, moving with the controlled stalk of a mountain lion.
It was big, too. With a huge mane.
It stalked. Then the quick, final dash. Gotcha! …
Our Hero was walking under the hot sun. Going to a place called “the beach.” It was a long, long walk and made him very tired. A full block at least.
His left arm was straight up, and the big creature that had caught him before was holding his hand and cooing to him. This was fun. He liked the creature now. He’d since learned it was called Mommy. It was nice, if often bossy and easily angered. …
There was another creature, even bigger and scarier than the other. This one was Daddy.
This one warned, “Don’t do that, it’s hot.” Too late. Our Hero stuck a huge spoonful of white rice in his mouth. It tried to kill him. White hot, and so much of it.
The Daddy creature was mad. “Why’d you do that? I told you!” …
Something. Was. Under. The. Bed. Don’t look. It’s the only way to keep it from slitheriing up and taking Our Hero away. Too late! Our Hero could not help himself, and that something was coming. He knew it.
“Help! Daddy! Daddy!” The biggest creature had its uses. Out of the light came the Daddy into the dark room where Our Hero was trapped each night after dinner.
Ahh. The slithering night things wouldn’t dare now. Daddy was here. …
The truck was really cool. Fascinating. It was a truck that carried cars, maybe even other trucks. Daddy was showing him how it worked out on the lawn in front of the house a block away from the beach. So big, too. Almost up to Our Heroe’s knees.
Daddy always knew just what Our Hero liked. Amazing. Riding up high on his shoulders. Petting friendly dogs or staying high and away from the scary big barking ones. Of course, all dogs were big, most bigger than him. But some let him pet them.
Other kids liked the truck. But it was his. Should he share? Naw. Only with Daddy. …
Dunked in the pool at the hotel. Can’t breathe under there. And who is this scary stranger? That’s not Daddy. Mommy did this. Took him to the pool with the scary stranger. Swimming teacher, she called him.
Hah, he knew better. Drowner, he called him. Better do what he says. …
Looking back, way back, Our Hero wonders. If our personalities, which in large measure influence our course throughout life, are largely set by age 2 or 3, what clues rest in earliest memories?
Escaping and then getting caught by Mom. Not listening to Dad’s sound advice. Tempting the monsters, trusting that Dad’s just a yelp away. Ordering Dad this way and that. Don’t trust strangers, especially not in the deep end.
Of course there are other memories, lots of them, and they get clearer as life trundles along. But these are the handful of root memories that endure over four decades and deep into middle age.
The very beginnings of sentience. So. If you don’t remember before age 1, did you really exist then? When does a life begin anyway?