On a stormy night, my mother takes a call from my father asking her to pick him up at the farm. He apparently stayed late to get some chores done. I go with her and sit in the far back, in the flat cargo area of a navy blue Ford Galaxy station wagon. When we arrive to pick up my father, I see him walking to the car as lightning flashes across the sky.
Something wakes me up; perhaps a nightmare or bad dream or a noise. I see the kitchen with the fluorescent light above the sink left on and decide to head down the hallway to my parents’ bedroom. I don’t wake them. I just lay down on the floor next to their bed and fall asleep.
In my uncle’s house, many people are gathered in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. There is a casket in the dining room that people slowly walk past, many of them crying. Others talk in hushed voices. My grandpa is in that casket. Sometime later, my mother outfits my brother and me in matching suits that she has made. Suits, but with shorts rather than pants. We go to a cemetery and run around. I look down into the big hole where my grandpa will be buried.
These are some of the snapshots in the brain that I’ve carried with me for as long as I can remember. They are my earliest memories, and at the time, I was no more than three years old.
Although a bit faded like all snapshots eventually become, these ones remain strongly imprinted in my memory, and as far as I know, they are accurate and true. I’ve asked older siblings and my mother about details and they have confirmed them. It’s a bit weird. Also weird: the next time I visited that graveyard where my grandpa was buried but thirty years later, I knew exactly where to find his grave.
Memories are precious. Part of creating this blog is to preserve some of them.