gee, I hope this doesn't become a GTKYN...

I have a lot of these. My mind has always tended to archive obscure information in exceedingly vivid detail. I have photographic memories of the first few years of my life. Prepare to be amazed at the detail in which I recall things:

My childhood was pretty messed up. The earliest memory I have is my parents fighting. My older brother and I were giggling, jumping on the sofa of our small one-floor house, which sat on a noisy street. The lights were off, except for in my parents' room, dimmly lit. My loving mother shouted "queer!" to my father, and my older brother looked at me oddly, asking if I knew what a queer was. I didn't. I don't think he did either.

We didn't seem to have too many possessions. We had a really, really old television, even for that time. It was very small, black and white, let off way too much radiation and so I didn't watch too much TV until we moved into a bigger house, and got a bigger television when I was four. I remember my dad buying me a few toys, though. He looked about as excited about them as I did; he was glad to make his son happy. I remember him giving me this action figure-ish thing, and I think a fire engine. He took the fire engine back, though. Maybe it was a money thing. He didn't tell me or my brother why, and I can understand that. When I was a little older I felt guilty. Guilty that he bought me stuff. Realizing that shit costs money, or something like that.

I remember going to nursery school. I sure do. I remember walking all cheery through its halls with a smile, my hand in my mother's. I looked up at my mom. She said some things to me, the sort of silly things that a mother might say to her two-year-old child. It was my birthday that day. She asked me "how old I was that day". I jokingly said, "thirty-five", so she laughed and pretended to believe me. Then she asked how old I really was, and I recall saying "two". So I guess I was two years old then.

I have more memories of nursery school. I remember talking to some kids named Alex and William. I remember some sort of canned food drive they had there. I put some peanut butter in the bin. I remember sitting alone in the grass of the playground, observing yellow flowers. I remember waiting for my mom to pick me up. She was late that day. I was panicked at that; I almost cried. I remember hating the activity they had for Thanksgiving. It was some sort of coloring book with pilgrims and India--err, "Native Americans". I felt it to be really boring. I remember the "teacher", if you would call her that, she was explaining evaporation to us all. I even remember one day when I peed my pants in nursery school. Heh, it feels funny to actually write that. "I peed my pants". I did. And they didn't like that. After some ammount of waiting they got me a spare, thank God.

I remember my first day of kindergarten. I cried. Because I was away from my mother. How cute. I remember everyone was staring at me. I was ashamed of myself. Here's this "Big Leet Kindergartener", and he's crying for his mother. I remember my Halloween costume that year. I remember this fifth grade girl who was doing some volunteer stuff helping us kindergarteners, she commented on it. She lived near me; she was at my bus stop, lived at the street corner. I remember being introduced to arithmetic in kindergarten. We were given addition and subtraction problems on a sheet, and told to do as much as we could. I remember thinking something along the lines of "Subtraction too? Dude, this is hard.." I remember doing more arithmetic in first grade. Subtraction. I was so bored of it. I saw it as trivial, easy. I knew how to do it; I didn't see why I had to, because it was wasting my time. So I stopped halfway through. My teacher made me stay in at lunch to finish.

I remember one time at lunch in first grade, some kid invited me to eat lunch over at "his table". Then some guy said, "no, he's weird." So the other says, "nah, he's cool." I didn't quite fit in, there, then, anywhere, any time. I remember this kid in kindergarten, he would ask me for my lunch every day. "If you give me yours today I'll give you two on Monday". I always said no, because I wasn't a stupid little boy. I never took him seriously. And he didn't beat me up or anything when I said no. He just kept asking. Oh well.

Later on in elementry school, I was a little hellraiser. I was a troublemaker, and I said a lot of gross things. My older brother started explaining a lot of sexual things, which was... not good. By age seven I knew more about that whole area than any seven-year-old should. I was really interested in it because I found it so gross. You know that whole thing, to a young boy, gross is cool. This grew until age nine or so. I remember girls would shout my name in disgust. I liked the negative attention. By fifth grade I had outgrown that, though.

I remember a lot more. It's all really freaky, my memory that is. I'm just writing this because I started thinking of it, particularly the first couple years, felt like expressing something. Maybe someone here on e2 will find it interesting. More likely it's a kilobyte or two of nonsense. :)
My earliest memories are of living in a small, one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles. I remember the pulldown bed that filled a closet. I remember looking at the pictures in an encyclopedia my parents had been given, particularly the diagrams showing the launch of the lunar lander, the stages it went through, and the landing.

I remember the "action figures" my parents made out of clay for me for Christmas, because they were too poor to buy me any presents. I had a clay Millenium Falcon, a Darth Vader, a Luke Skywalker... I remember the incredible toy my aunt gave me of a giant robotic insect. I remember how much I was enthralled with the insect toy. I hope my parents' feelings weren't hurt. If they ever read this, I spent way more time playing with those clay action figures than that insect toy. I remember those clay action figures much more clearly, and I remember my despair when they inevitably started to fall apart, my parents not having a kiln to fire them in.

I remember the left over toilet paper tubes my mother saved and turned into a zig-zagging chute that hung on the door, that I could drop marbles into and watch roll down, going back and forth through the chute. I loved that. I remember getting yelled at. Vividly. Not that it was excessive, but those moments were world shattering at that age.

I remember visiting my grandparents in Utah. I have vague recollections of a closed off garden surrounded by hanging vines and flowers, with a stone fountain in the center. I remember thinking of this place with awe and almost reverance. It was magical to me. I was a child with an overactive imagination, and this memory eventually got written off as a fantasy as I aged, because I could never remember where I'd been. But then, as an adolescent, doing yard work for my grandparents, I found that same enclosed garden. I just sat down for a few minutes and remembered and smiled.

I remember stealing a Batman Hot Wheels car from another kid in nursery school. I took it when he wasn't looking... I felt so bad about it, I tried to bring it back and give it back the next time. But I never saw him again. That car always made me feel guilty, and was a constant reminder to not be dishonest to me all through childhood.

I remember the wonder with which I viewed everything. I remember how I took everything anybody told me as fact... I didn't learn to be distrustful for a long time. These memories are a tool, helping me decide how I'm going to raise my son.

Outside of a vague memory of wearing a "Price Is Right" T-shirt driving back home after dropping my much-older brother off at school, the earliest recollection of my childhood probably only dates back to when I was four or so.

It was about ten on a Saturday morning; I had been awake for about four hours already watching cartoons. My newly-teenaged brother (Justin) was being prodded awake by Mom, and I remember giggling that he was getting in trouble for not having taken out the trash the evening before. A little while later, Dad walked into the living room, turned off the television, and told me that I had a new chore: taking the compost to the pit behind our house. Hooray!, I thought, I'm a big girl now! Dad helped me put on my shoes, and I skipped cheerily out the back door, swinging the one-gallon ice cream bucket back and forth.

As a matter of custom, every boy over the age of six in the South owns some kind of firearm, and Justin, having completed his morning chores, was shooting his BB gun in the back yard, making targets of the old camper abandoned in the woods nearby and various small living creatures. I made it to the compost pit (a Grand Canyon-esque fifty yards from the house), dumped the banana peels and coffee grounds in the hole, and put the bucket down to examine a small white butterfly.

"Kate," my brother whispered.

"What?"

"Stand still."

"Why?"

"Just. Stand. Still."

Six clicks and a loud POP later, I was on the ground screaming.

He had shot me in the ass.

Upon hearing my piteous cries, my parents rushed outside to see what had happened. Mom scooped me up and carried me inside, then placed me on the couch while she looked for something cold from the freezer. She came back, and I continued howling, clutching her bag of frozen peas to my hindquarters as though they were the only thing keeping me alive. Dad came inside with Justin, gruffly informing him that this would not be happening a second time. "We do not aim weapons at people, understand?" Justin mumbled a quiet apology, and his gun was placed at the back of Mom and Dad's closet for several weeks.

My bruise has long since been healed. The gun, after being used religiously for shooting hair spray and shaving cream cans before disposal for ten years, was retired by Justin and me, with one final shot over the compost pit.

Mom and Dad don't remember the incident at all.

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