Early Childhood memories – 3-5
I thought I would try to write up some articles about my childhood and what I remember so that I could share them with younger people who have grown up in a very different time. This first article covers my earliest memories from a little before I was 3 years old to around 5 years old.
My earliest memory is from about two months before my 3rd birthday. I suspect the events stick out because there were a couple of things going on at the time. The first thing was my Mom being pregnant with my brother and giving birth to him. The second thing was that we were getting ready to move from Denver Colorado to Oklahoma.
The earliest memory I have is of standing out in a parking lot in the back of a U-Haul trailer with my Dad. He had been packing the trailer and I had come out after the doors were closed. I had a red tri-cycle that I really liked and I was checking with him to make sure he had packed it. Since I hadn’t seen him put it in the U-Haul I was worried that it hadn’t been packed yet. He reassured me that it had been packed. I then went up the stairs to our second story apartment. I vaguely remember the room, the only clear memory was of a clown painting on the wall, something with a black background, probably velvet, with a clown face. I remember being happy that I saw the clown picture because it was one of my favorite pictures. There was some old furniture, nothing remarkable to me since I saw it everyday. I have seen a picture of me on the stairs of the apartment and it matches my memory of the red brick outside and the metal stairs going to our apartment.
My next memory seems to be a short time later or perhaps before, my time line is not clear. My Dad had taken me to the hospital to visit my Mom. She was in there after having given birth to my brother. My Dad took me up to see her but he had to leave me behind in the hall due to a no children visiting policy at that time. This was back in the early 60s and hospitals at that time and until the 70s/80s had very definite restrictions on visitors, even family. I remember missing my Mom but I didn’t feel too worried, more annoyed that I couldn’t go back with my Dad.
The next memory is of going with my Grandma on a train at night. I suspect it wasn’t that late because this would have been in October when it would have been getting dark earlier in the day. My Dad was with me at the station where we met my Grandma. My Grandma and I got on a railroad car and I expected my Dad to go with us. Then the train started moving, I looked up at my Grandma and asked where my Dad was. She explained that he was going to stay in Denver and that I would be staying with her and Grandpa for a while until my Mom and Dad came to get me. I just took that in, didn’t feel scared or distressed and that is the end of that memory. My Mom tells me that I stayed up at Grandma’s for a month and when she came to pick me up I barely noticed her since I was having so much fun with my Aunt and her friends. 🙂
The next memory is of arriving in a car in the town we were moving to. I don’t remember staying at my Grandma’s or the drive from Colorado or Wyoming down to Oklahoma. It was late at night and we had rooms at a hotel in town. I remember seeing the outside of the hotel and thinking how big it was. My next memory is of being in the room and thinking how neat the murphy bed was. I wondered if I could have a bed that folded into the wall someday. I have another break in my memory and then I remember the room being dark and hearing my brother cry and my Mom and Dad not being happy.
I don’t remember how long we stayed at the hotel, the next memory is of moving into an apartment across from a park. I thought it was very neat because there was a park right across the street that I could go to by myself. There were swings and a merry go round, all of the type of equipment that would never be allowed on a playground today. The merry go round had wooden seats on the outside and the inside had poles, similar to this picture. From a Google search I see another name for this is a roundabout but we always called it a merry go round while growing up. Anyway, I loved to run in circle in between the poles and pretend I was a horse pulling a wagon until I got dizzy, I suspect that such behavior today would get a child dragged way from this horribly unsafe device where they might get dragged around in the dirt. Never had that happen but had a lot of fun. 🙂
The only other memory I have of this apartment is of drawing a mural in crayon on my bedroom wall of the mountains we had left behind in Colorado. We were in Oklahoma and even in the Northeast corner it’s pretty flat compared to Denver. I remember missing the mountains quite a bit and I wanted something to look at. My Mom dragged me over and had me help her clean the mural from the wall. I do remember wondering why she had me using my toy sponge and cleaner when I knew it wasn’t as effective as the adult stuff she used but I guess we got the mural off somehow. I also don’t remember much of my brother from this time, I was definitely not at a ‘thinking of others’ stage in my life. 🙂
The next memory is of a house we lived in on a street called Chickashaw, which we pronounced “Chick-a-saw’. It was a two story house with wooden floors and a big open space on the second floor. The second floor room was open with one wall of closet doors. I thought those were really cool because when you opened up one door it really went into a room and you could see all of the others doors down in a line. I had a big wooden toy chest in my bedroom that my Dad had built for me and it was big enough that I could climb in and hide in it. I believe we lived in this house for a year or so until my parents had saved up enough money to buy their own house.
I have quite a few different memories of this house, including my fourth birthday. The birthday stands out because I got a baby doll that I had been wanting. I still have that doll, which has had a lot of wear, it was certainly one of my favorite toys growing up. I also remember my Dad playing with his matchbox car set that he had gotten for my Christmas. The cars were supposedly for my brother but since he would have been two months old at the time my Dad gamely took on the challenge of testing out my brothers toy. Years later my brother and I got together and got a match car set for my Dad for Christmas then promptly opened up and played with it while he watched. Our revenge for the gift he got my brother so may years before.
For the younger people, I don’t remember that we had a TV, I think we got one later after my parents had bought their house. We had a couple of small radios, I think, but I don’t remember listening much. I had lots of picture books but I don’t think I had started reading comic books yet. There were certianly no stereos, computers, calculators, cell phones or other electronic devices that we take for granted nowadays. I’m sure the phones were the rotary dial type and you leased it from the phone company. We played outside a lot because Mom usually wanted a break from us noisy kids. Playing inside was for rainy or really cold days or if we were sick. We pretended a lot and I had my baby doll and a few other toys but not a lot.
When I was about five my parents found a house they could afford to buy. I remember when we looked at the house and I met a neighbor boy there. I thought he was fairly nice and he would be fun to play with. That turned out to be optimistic but it was certainly a positive experience moving into our new house. We had a big back yard, with no neighbors behind us and a big woods that my brother and I would explore when we were older. I don’t remember moving into the house, just that we were living there and that it was a neat house. The entire back wall that faced the woods was big windows so we had a nice view in our dining and living room.
That finishes up my memories from age three to five. There are some more events in there but not anything too outstanding to me anyway. I do remember on other thing, my Dad had a red Chevy and I thought that was the coolest car ever, with the red color on the outside and even on the inside on the seats. I think it was a Chevy Impala but I’m not positive of it. I do have a photo of my Dads that shows the car, if I dig it out I can update later. Will try to continue these later on.