One of my children and I were engaged in conversation about childhood memories when I was asked to recall my earliest memories. Afterward, I hesitated to share this with my readers, however, you won!
I was born in April 1957, during one of the longest cold spells on record that year for the Midwest. I was first known as Baby B preceded in birth 11 minutes earlier by my twin sister, known as Baby A. Following being womb-mates, we grew to be inseparable roommates, developing our own language and understanding each other’s needs; not all that uncommon for twins.
We were around three years old, pre-vaccination era, when our doctor made the house call. Diagnosed with German Measles (Rubella), the quarantine notices were hung on the front door alerting neighbors that our home now contained some very sick children. Mom was instructed to keep us as quiet as possible, preferably in bed, not exposed to light as it could cause blindness. So the window shades were drawn and the room lights dimmed. The fever, cough and small bodies covered with an intensely itchy rash proved no picnic for 3 year-olds, however, we stayed in our room as instructed with play time allotted to short periods; our bond growing tighter. I believe we were both very happy and fortunate to have each other in what seemed like a never-ending abyss.
I moved memories forward and smiled warmly as my footy pajamas took center stage. I could feel the fabric on my skin, the baggy seat and knees, the swishing sound as I walked the linoleum floor. Falling further into my memories, I was led to the first light of Christmas morning, eyes heavy, mind foggy from sleep, a crown of messy hair. Running to see what Santa Claus had left under the tree, ripping paper, pulling off bows, seeing my once small knit stocking stretched to capacity by a very large orange and large red apple, nuts – mixed and still in the shell amply occupying its toe space. A moment of laughter occupied my ears as we scurried around the room, mom carefully herding us where needed.
Lastly, my mind went to the time we were moved upstairs to our brother’s old room. Scary as it was, we were now expected to occupy a full-size bed. In the winter months, that bed was dressed with a hand pieced wool quilt designed to ward off cold. I’ll never forget that quilt, made from any piece of scrap wool that mom could find; suits, pants, perhaps even other worn our blankets and tied with red yarn. Not easy on our young skin, but snuggled under the sheets it kept us warm on many cold nights. Warmth came from across the hall, too, as our older sister held the helm while we grew accustomed to our new sleeping arrangements. Always there if we needed an extra hug or comfort after a bad dream.
Sometimes, when I am dusting, those photo albums call my name. Choosing one, opening the cover I lose myself. Strolling down memory lane, the black and white photos draw me in. But I don’t linger there long, as the current moment beckons me, whispering, “That time has passed, let it rest for now. You have many more memories yet to make.”. I once again gently close the cover.
Thanks for sharing in my venture down memory lane.