Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Memoir Fodder 01: My earliest contiguous memories

My earliest memories that I believe are all mine and not those I've recreated from stories I've been told are from 1976, the summer of 1976. I remember brief glimpses and snapshots before then but just glimpses and pieces.

For example, I remember a trailer and a sandbox there. I remember a big playhouse with two stories. I remember a dog, Caesar. But only glimpses, nothing continuous. Nothing connected. Later I think there's a house for a while. This is the house I think I remember. It'd be funny if the trailer were real and the house imagined, or a friend's house we visited. I don't feel like that's the case though.

I was 8 in the summer of 1976 and the price of a stamp went to 13¢. I remember thinking that was very clever of them to go to 13¢ on our bicentennial when there were 13 colonies 200 years ago. Who could be unhappy about that? I don't remember it ever being 10¢ so why it's a big deal it became 13¢ is odd to me except I made the connection to 13 colonies. Maybe I didn't. Maybe the advertising did? I don't know. I remember it as a thing though. I remember the post office in Mount Vernon, AL and I thought we lived across the street from a cemetery. When I look on google maps I can't find it though. That's not terribly surprising. It's been forty years. I doubt the cemetery has moved, but it may not have been big enough to be on Google Maps. I don't remember that much. The thing is, if we were in Mount Vernon in the summer of '76 we had to have moved soon to Citronelle because in 3rd grade I was in Mrs. Pierce's class and I remember that. I sat up front and hated it so much. Mostly because of her. She was the first teacher I ever had that I thought didn't like kids and that I didn't like at all. At all.

I went to Kindergarten and 1st grade in Mount Vernon, AL. In the '70s it was a small town with a population of around a thousand people, mostly African American. The only friend whose name I can remember was African American. Her name was Irna. I think she was older than me. She was taller. Her mom was the librarian at the school. I thought that was pretty slick, probably almost as good as being a teacher like my parents.

There was a couple, a Cuban couple we would visit sometimes. I feel like she was a teacher or maybe worked at the school in some capacity, an aid maybe? Her husband was, I think, a doctor at a mental hospital nearby, Searcy Hospital. I had to look up the spelling. They (the couple, not the hospital) made fried banana plantain, fried big bananas that were delicious and salty. I think I ate tongue there once too I think. But, we moved to Citronelle soon and I don't remember going over there as often any more. We still had the banana plantain though. I liked when Mom would make it.
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