Sunday, August 17, 2014
Memoir # 1
In observing 50 years on the planet, I am writing 50 memoirs through the year
Here is Memoir #1
A Cat/ A Couch
This will be short. I was maybe three years old. But before I get on with the first of 50 memories of my life, I pause to think about memoir, the French word for 'the study of memory'. I recall my own children with their window eyes; pooling-- the organ that they will grow into, taking it all in, like an aperture on a camera.
What is it that impresses a first memory? Is it that the heart and brain are already programmed to absorb certain sights, sounds, tastes, textures? Are likes and dislikes already established? Do we have an acute sense of right and wrong, good and evil? Are we drawn to what is lovely, noble, worthy, and do we suppress the not so pleasant visuals, because our souls are built for purity? Or maybe we have a want for approval and we chase what is always beyond our reach? We seek to conquer, and we are adventurous in our quest for imagination.
I was a breach baby. This is what I've heard: If the mother is under stress, the breach baby is intuitive and sticks close to the mother's heartbeat, refusing to turn head down to face the world. I wish I could remember the womb, but instead I imagine tugging on the umbilical cord, swimming around like a mermaid, a lifeguard (which was decided in the womb). Water holds me. I don't churn against it, but sense the turmoil of a current that would be my life.
My soul knows. It was in the womb where I started accumulating images, sounds, and feelings, building a frame of reference; a memory bank.
Of course, that is the writer in me, constructing a story, from bits and pieces of what I've heard. But maybe it is the Holy Spirit revealing what really happened; a grace.
But my first memory isn't that deep or profound.
I was itty bitty. I wore Mary Jane shoes and a dress that barely covered ruffled panties. My Dad placed a large baseball cap backwards on my head. The kitty scurried behind a tweedy beige couch. He looked Siamese, but I doubt it because I've heard that he was gathered from the pound to be a good mouser. His name was Fred. Dad tells me that he carried his prizes up on a hot tin roof. Dead mice and rats everywhere.
The gap between the sofa and the wall was sliver thin. I reached to pet his furry softness. I remember his cat eyes. He swiped his paw at me.
I feel the scratch, even now.