Story Weekend: Your Earliest Memory

I feel sober and sad this weekend, witnessing the hurricane destruction in New York and my home state of New Jersey. I haven’t lived in New Jersey for decades, but my earliest memories are on the boardwalks of Point Pleasant and Seaside Heights, and it’s hard to see what’s happened to the coastline I’ve loved. One of my first memories is riding the little train on the beach at Point Pleasant, sitting on my Daddy’s knee.  What an adventure! How about you?  What is your very first memory?

If  you’re new to Story Weekend, here’s how it works: I pick a theme and you share something from your life that relates to that theme, however you interpret it. Thanks to all of you who’ve been contributing. As always, there are a few “rules”:

▪   The story must be true

▪   Try to keep it under 100 words. Embrace the challenge! That’s about six or seven lines in the comment form. I want others to read your story, and most people tend to skip if it’s too long. I know how tough it is to “write tight” but I hope you’ll accept this as a challenge.

I hope you all have power and are safe and dry.


  1. Lucy Golden on November 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Two things that come to mind as my first memory. The first is after JFK died. I had just turned 4 and my mother & I were watching his funeral. I was confused as to why the riderless horse had boots in the stirrups, backwards. It took some time before my distract mother could explain the reason to me.

    The second is watching Jack LaLanne on TV & thinking that he was talking directly to me & that he could hear me talking to him!

  2. Debbie P on November 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    My first memory is my first day of kindergarden. I was so sad and scared, I had never been left with a babysitter, since my grandma lived with us… she was the only babysitter I had. And this was in 1968, well before pre-schools, at least in our area. I remember my mom dropping me off, my older sister went just fine to her classroom, and I cried and cried. Then when my mom finally came back to pick me up (3 hours later), I didn’t want to leave my naptime mat there. I became a very shy child, and in my 5th grade year book, my Kindergarden teacher, Mrs. Davidson wrote in my yearbook that I was the loudest kid on the first day, and the quietest kid the rest of the year.

  3. Christina Wible on November 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I don’t remember my first home, I’m told it was an apartment in North Plainfield. I do remember years spent playing in the streets in our home in the south end of Plainfield where we moved when I was about three. But there is a memory fragment that clings to the wall of my brain. We have just moved in to that second house. The kitchen is almost bare except for a single kitchen chair. I am sitting on my grandmother’s lap “waiting for the refrigerator.” What is it that leaves that fragment there and nothing else? Why was it important?

  4. Corey Ann on November 2, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I don’t know how old I was but I was still in a crib so around 1 year or so? My parents friends were baby sitting me and had put me to bed. I hated the dark and pulled myself up to turn the light back on at the switch. They came back up later and put me back down and turned the light off again. Once again, I got back up and turned it on and when they came back the second time they moved my crib away from the switch AND shut the door so I couldn’t see the light at all rom downstairs. I cried and cried and cried. Really silly but I guess it must have been pretty traumatic for a kid!

  5. Rob Lopresti on November 3, 2012 at 12:30 am

    a pattern of light and shadow on the ceiling over my bed or crib. I try not to think of it too often for fear of fictionalizing it. my nextmemoryisprobably3 years after that.

  6. Sheree Gillcrist on November 3, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I was 4, maybe 5 when my dad had a heartache in the middle of the night. The siren of the ambulance slicing through the silence of my fear, my mom brought each of us 4 small children to my father’s bedside and we climbed up onto the bed like a character from The Princess and the Pea because there were 3 mattresses on the bed, to say ‘Goodbye’. My mother a convert of reality told us that we ‘Had’ to do this incase we never saw our father again. A Doctor came down our narrow hallway threading a stretcher before him. Before the transfer from home to hope could happen, my dad went into cardiac arrest and we watched in our flannel nightgowns and bare feet while the doctor took out the longest needle I have ever seen in my life and plunged it into my father’s heart. The world stood still and then my father took a breathe. It was Christmas. We all got what we asked for that year. We got to keep our dad.

  7. Sheree Gillcrist on November 3, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Heart Attack. Sorry early morning here.

  8. Wendy Emrick on November 3, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I have never been an artistic person. As a child I colored out of the lines, never cut straight, was lost when a pile of glue and Popsicle sticks were presented to me. Surprisingly one afternoon my mom came to me and excitedly proclaimed I had won a trophy for a finger painting I had made of a sunrise in the forest surrounded by animals! She said the teacher was very impressed with my VOLCANO picture. I was so mad! I never looked at the trophy or the picture again. It gets me angry even now….it was the SUN dammit!

  9. Debbie Hearne on November 3, 2012 at 8:33 am

    One of my earliest memories is of Mama reading a story to me before nap time. Her arm would be around me so that I was nestled close to her as she read one of my many Golden Books. I loved the sound of her voice as well as the story. It was a comforting time and I would magically fall asleep! To this day, I identify reading with comfort. Thank you Mama for giving me the love of books.

  10. Steph Walford on November 3, 2012 at 10:14 am

    It’s so hard to know which memories are ‘real’ and which are taken from photos seen over and over. I think my first memory occurred at playschool (UK sort of kindergarten?). I was 3 years old, and delighted to have some time away from my baby sister. I loved the activities, the garden, story-time, and singing next to the old piano. However, one day I started an attack of hiccups. It carried on and on, and just wouldn’t stop. I was taken to the kitchen, and have a photographic memory of the black and white tiled floor, and the teacher bending over me to pinch my nose. I think I hollered so loud I scared those hiccups into infinity! It probably seemed a traumatic event for a wee one, and I still hate getting hiccups!

  11. Sarah Luth on November 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    My first memory is of my Papa (grandfather) buying my a lamb. I named her Lamby Lamb and she went ever where I did when I was little around the farm. She was snow white and so soft and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world to have her very own lamb. I must have been three or four at the time but we still talk about me and my Lamby Lamb.

  12. Nancy on November 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    My first memory is of my younger brother coming home from the hospital. I was almost four years old. I was standing on the couch, looking out the front window through the closed drapes, while my middle brother and my grandmother were sitting in the living room. I don’t know why my grandmother had insisted on closing the drapes in the middle of the day, except for it was the beginning of September so she must have been trying to keep the house cool. When the car pulled into the driveway, I leaped off the couch and ran to the door. They got in before I could get it open and my father knelt down so I could see the baby. That’s the first thing I remember that I know is an actual memory and not a story I’ve heard.

  13. Amy feld on November 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    My earliest memories are of being sexually abused as s preschooler. They last longer than flashbacks, shorter than memories that have a distinct beginning middle and end. I do have distinct memories of being 8 years old and evacuating in the middle of the night when hurricane Agnes destroyed Wilkes-Barre, Pa–three days after my birthday. Lost all my Barbie and baby dolls. The flood reached 6 feet into the 2nd story of our home and killed my first and last per hamster. I remember the waters a day later, with the town underneath feet of liquid, stop signs peeking through the top. I remember the mud lines on buildings years afterward and that it took several decades for the town to recover and that 40 years later, some say the town never came back.

  14. Hailey on November 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I was seven years old and I remember going to West Palm Beach Florida. It was 1998, the year my great-great Aunt Katherine died. It was the only time I truly had long hair. She had a neighbor named Jose who lived next door with his mom and his nephews. Whenever I was at their house, his mom would make crackers of saltines and this sweet cream butter and we’d eat those while we played Super Mario Kart on Nintendo 64. I also remember having huge crushes on Jose’s nephews Adrian and David. Going to West Palm Beach were some of the best memories of my childhood.

  15. Rita Wray on November 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I was born in Finland and I remember when I was about four being fascinated by the vegetables my father had in his greenhouses. I wanted to plant something too, my dad showed me how to put the seeds in the pot, I loved learning how to grow things.
    I also remember being on the ship when we moved to Australia when I was five.

  16. Heather C on November 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    One of my earliest memories is sitting at the top of the steps with my brother, I was 5, he was 3 and yelling “are you up yet?!?” at the top of our lungs. It was early Christmas morning; and we were practically hopping up and down with excitement. The beautiful Christmas tree and surprises brought by Santa were all downstairs. The one rule for Christmas was we weren’t allowed down until everyone was awake so mom could take pictures of our initial reaction. My brother and I did our best to make sure our parents woke up early.

  17. Michelle on November 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    One of my earliest memories is being at my grandparents house and having my grandfather fix me and my cousins “bubbles.” This was basically a coca-cola and vanilla ice cream but he called it bubbles for us. Usually he would give us these and fix popcorn or slice an apple SUPER thin and give us pieces of it. Typically it was a Friday night and we would watch the Golden Girls with my grandmother and 20/20 with my grandfather. Those were the days!

  18. Nancy Luebke on November 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    One of my first memories was at a Christmas party (My parents and an aunt & Uncle took turns of having it) One of the dads would dress up as Santa. Anyway, what I remember is saying to my mom, Santa has shoes just like daddy. Of course, i was a daddy’s girl, he would sit and hold me with my head on his chest because of my ear aches.Both parents are gone and the family home too. But will always cherish those moments.

  19. Margaret on November 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    My very first memory? I could not have been more than 9 or 10 months old. I am sitting in my aunt’s lap on the screened-in back porch.. It’s her first visit after my birth and she has brought a large bunch of bananas. They hang from a hook overhead and my aunt points them and says, “Banana! Can you say banana?” Such a silly thing to remember.

  20. Gina on November 16, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I have to say when my mother and my aunt took me to my first day of school. I screamed bloody murder when they left me there. I remember crying because I didn’t understand why they would leave me in an unfamiliar place. After they left, I remember the kind teacher calming me down and I was fine after that. Back then all we did was color in our coloring books, you know. I found out that I liked school after all. 😉

  21. Irene Menge on November 17, 2012 at 8:23 am

    My first fuzzy memory is the first time I realized I could stand up in my crib by pulling myself up the sides. I remember it because it was so much fun annoying my mother and I kept doing it like a jack-in-a box. I also have an early memory of Seaside Heights. We lived in Toms River, which is just the other side of Barnegat Bay and used to go to the beach in the mornings before my father had to begin office hours. I recall the sun warm on my shoulders as I tried to dig out those little crabs that could dig faster with their tiny flippers than I could with my much larger hands. And then another wave would come and my bottom would be soaked again.

  22. Lisa T on November 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    My earliest memory is of playing outside in a warm summer rain with my sister in our underpants. I was 5 and my sister eas 3. It was so hot and sticky out and we didn’t have any airconditioning. We were cranky and complaining just before the rain came. So when Mama said we could play outside without all those hot clothes on, we felt like it was the best thing in the world!

  23. Robert wain on November 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    It was home. A house with a field that climbed up beside a small wall that ran up along the single track road below. Beyond the road was a giant wire fence with a large, brick factory in the distance. I can recall just being able to look over the small wall as I was probably only 3 years old at the most. A black pointy hat appeared and seemed to chase along the wire fence. I picked up a stone a three at it and ducked down. I recall that someone calling himself a policeman escorted me to the front door of our house where my mother was probably washing clothes in the twin-tub or using the mangle. It didn’t come as a surprise to my mother as I had apparently locked her in the cellar one day with a giant rat only to be released by my father when he got home from work. I still do not know if I got lucky a hit the hat than ran. In all honestly, I did not know that someone was under it. I am a policeman now, but pedal bikes are a thing of the past for law enforcement.

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