Afternoon Inquisition 5.16

Memory is a funny thing. It seems to be very plastic: in the right situation, we can easily create false memories. I once unintentionally coopted a memory that a friend had shared with me of something silly he had done on a band trip. I don’t know why, maybe because it just seemed like something I would have done, but I later recounted the story as my own (because I believed it was). The originator happened to be in the group, and major awkwardness ensued.
Also, it sometimes seems very arbitrary what we remember and what we don’t. I have a vividly clear picture of my earliest memory: seeing ET: The Extra Terrestrial in the theater. I was 2 or 3 years old, and I remember that we came into the movie late, and so we stayed for the beginning of the next showing so we would see the whole thing. How random is that?

What is your earliest memory? Have you uncovered any odd false memories lying around your skull?

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  1. I was around 2 years old, so this would have been 1974. We lived in a duplex near the end of a dead-end road. At the end of the road was an old park that was completly overgrown. My parents were just kids themselves who hadn’t had much in the way of parenting when they were growing up so I was allowed to leave the house and play in the park by myself. I used to go down there with some of the older girls, they were probably 5 or 6 years old and we would play doctor. At that age there is only one noticible difference between boys and girls and we couldn’t figure out why it was different. I don’t remember ever talking about it but we seemed to have an agreement not to tell our parents.

  2. Earliest memory is probably getting my puppy Lady, I was sitting on the floor watching tv (not sure what show but my bets are on Sesame Street) when my dad came home and told me very sternly to come outside. Being a toddler I thought I was in trouble and started crying, went outside and there’s a puppy! A wiggling little bluetick hound. She was my best friend for the next 12 1/2 years.

    Oddly enough I remember that but not my brother being born and that was only about 6 months earlier.

  3. My earliest memory is of a vacation to England when I was 16 months old, it’s very fuzzy, and I suspect a lot of it is influenced of pictures I’ve seen. I have a lot of memories of the house I grew up in until I moved when I was 6 but I couldn’t say how old I was in any given memory.

  4. My earliest memory is jumping down the stairs. This is from about 1 year old. My earliest confirmed memory of a distinct event is pulling my little potty out of the closet because I couldn’t get onto the big one. There’s some discrepancy in that memory… my parents remember me using the potty, I remember getting it out of the closet just too late. That’s from about two years old.

    False memories… I vividly remember a scene from a Stephen King story (I think it’s from ‘Rage’) as if it happened to me.

  5. Reading this, I recalled hearing über-librarian Nancy Pearl (if you’ve seen the librarian action figure, that’s her) talk about mistaking events in novels for those in her own life…

    But in a meta twist, it then occurred to me that I’d never actuallu heard her speak. My rx-wife had, and she’d told me this story.

  6. False memories, I have a couple. In 1993 I was going to my morning janitor job before my 8:00 am class. I pulled into McDonalds to grab breakfast. A lady pulled out of the drive through and was going so fast that when she hit me her car bounced up in the air and landed on mine. I woke up two days later in the hospital. At least I woke up and didn’t forget everything immediatly. I had a concousion, my brain was bleeding, I had cracked 2 thoracic vertabra, I had extubated my breathing tube and it took 6 people to hold me down when I was in the ER. This erased several real memories and filled in some of the gaps with false ones. I remember a girl with brown hair and penetrating eyes asking me to help her and a sense of danger. I can see her quite clearly but this all hapened while I was in the hospital but it still feels like a real memory.

  7. I think my earliest memory is of my mother giving me a bath in our house in Winnipeg. I had this towel that was pink with a little hood on it so I could wear it like a cape, and Mum was drying me off with it and singing to me. I guess I was probably about two or three at the time.
    As for false memories – my family and I went on a trip to Australia when I was five. We stayed at this hotel where there was a playground, and one night my brother was running around playing tag with some other kids when he tripped over something hidden in the sand and tore his knee open. The wound turned out to need stitches and Mark still has a giant scar on his leg. Where my memory comes into it is that I have two entirely contradictory but equally clear recollections of where I was when it happened. One swears that I was with him at the playground when he fell and went back to the hotel room with him; the other insists I was in the hotel room with my parents when he showed up with blood pouring down his leg.

  8. Earliest memory was my lying on my back in a crib, looking past my raised leg, towards a window, noting light and noise coming from it. No idea how old I was, probably under the age of 3.

    I have falsely thought a real memory was a dream though. For many years following a sleepwalking incident that took place on a moving cross country Santa Fe train (in the late 1950s) when I was eight, I thought it was a dream. In my mid-twenties, I had a sudden realization that it actually occurred and then other bits of the ‘dream’ came flooding back to me.

    I was trying to open the door from the last car (trying to find the toilet) and a couple stopped me from toppling onto the tracks, turned me around, and sent me back to the other inner cars where I then promptly sat next to a priest, smiled, and fell back to sleep. The next morning, my parents looked all over for me, and was surprised to find me at the opposite end of their car, next to a priest (It was a cross country train tour, focusing on Catholic missions in the southwest and there were several priests tagging along)!

    When realizing it was a real event in my life, I felt somehow deprived that all those years I thought it was merely a dream.

  9. Earliest memory is either:

    I was sitting on the floor in a sun ray, taking apart a fountain pen I found. Ink everywhere.


    I wandered out of the house while no one was looking and encountered a raven (or possibly crow) sitting on the well cap.

    I have no idea how old I was in either case or which one came first.

  10. My oldest memory used to be laying on a merry-go-round, looking up at the sky, and feeling slightly nauseous. However, now I just remember remembering.

  11. Earliest- I remember standing in front of a mirror at a second hand clothes shop that my mother and sisters were shopping in, and thinking “I am three years old” and I remember what I was wearing and some other things. That is the only really clear memory, where I can tell how old I was at the time, because I was thinking about it at that second. I have plenty of other images, but no way of knowing precisely how old I was.
    As for false memories, a few years ago I was on a job on a 50 foot boat with 5 guys. We worked together for 14 hours a day for almost 5 years. In our down time we would trade stories about our lives. After we had exhausted all our stories, we would sometimes tell the stories back to each other in a slightly altered form to see if anyone would notice. (example: A guy would be talking about high school or college and segue into a story about college that was mine, and see how long it took for me to recognize it and call him on it.) Pretty soon all the stories kind of merged. I now feel prematurely senile, as I can’t figure out half the time which stories are mine and which ones belong to someone else.

  12. @Logicel: that happened to me too (thinking a real event was a dream). i had this recurring dream about a secret room in my grandmother’s farmhouse that i would play in. when i mentioned it to my mom about a year ago, she told me that actually there was sort of a secret attic space that you could climb into through a cupboard.

  13. Earliest memory was getting stuck in the climbing frame/ playhouse at playschool. There were tears. I was released and then had some Quavers.

    Can’t really think of any false memories… although i’m sure there must be many.

  14. My earliest memory is of me riding my tricycle on a sidewalk at age two. What I suspect, though, is that I’m not remembering the actual event. What I’m remembering is the remembrance of the remembrance of the remembrance…(yawn)…of the event.

  15. My earliest memory is lying in a oxygen tent after an apparently successful tracheotomy.

    I know it isn’t a false memory, cos I still have the scar above my suprasternal notch.

  16. Earliest Memory: I was in the hospital with a hernia (born with it, I’m told) at about 2 years old. I vividly remember two things: I got a cool green 6 wheeled truck and was told the kid next to me in the oxygen tent drank drano, so don’t drink drano.

    Possibly a false memory: I remember mom interrupting my play and insisting that I watch these “astronauts” walk on the Moon. Now, I’ve seen the footage a jillion times since then, so I don’t know if I saw the first landing when I was 2 or if it was a subsequent landing when I was older or maybe I made it all up in my head. Either way, I so wanted to be an aerospace engineer so I went into marketing.

  17. Not my earliest, but I do remember visiting my grandmother at her place in Melbourne beach, florida, and standing on the beach, age 4, watching a rocket go up from Cape Canaveral. Awesome. This would have been in the winter of 1973.

  18. earliest memory that I can remember was when I was really little one Halloween when I dressed up as dracula and trick or treated at a close friend of the family’s place. Not only did they load me up with candy, but he also had given me a six-foot tall inflated Godzilla. One of the coolest gifts ever.

    A memory that I wish was fake, but vividly remember though….the time when my college vocal teacher told me to go to this strip bar in Winnipeg called “Teasers”. This was the first strip-club I had ever gone too (aside from one recent trip to one here in the States last summer), and was awkward. A woman walked out on stage dressed in a full duck costume and neon green high-heels, she gradually stripped down each layer to eventually a reveal matching neon green bikini. Yeah…and now you share my awkward memory.

  19. Oddly enough, my first memory was of me in Catholic church getting slapped for asking something too loudly. I like to think that was when I first started taking steps toward atheism. :) I was about 3 years old.

  20. I remember tying my shoes by myself at about 3 years old…
    Also a pirate costume for halloween around the same age….
    or, are these false memories?

  21. My earliest memory is of me at about 3, in my favorite black boots (okay, they were go go boots), and I was tromping thru the house, and apparently I was driving my father insane, who promptly took my boots away.

  22. It is either:
    Age 4, waking up in bed on christmas eve and hearing my parents arguing about which side of the tree certain presents went, mine or my brother’s.
    Age 4, my dad had handed me a hand saw that was almost as long as I was tall. I tumbled down the basement steps with that saw flying in the air around me. Boy, was my mom pissed at dad! ;-)

  23. My earliest memory is from some time before I started kindergarten. It’s me laying on my right side in bed, waking up and thinking “I had that dream again”. The dream is a recurring dream in which I’m taken in a car (as an adult) to the middle of nowhere and murdered (somehow) by the two men with me. I’m not quite sure how they do it, but there is an intense feeling of hot and cold (at the same time), as well as a very strong odor that I can’t identify. I’ve had the dream on and off all my life, although the time between incidents has increased as I’ve gotten older.

    Cool, ‘eh? :)

  24. My earliest memory is also a false memory.

    I remember learning how to bike a two-wheeler with supporting wheels at age 3. I remember successfully biking down the lane but when I had to turn around, I remember falling. The false part comes after falling. I remember scraping my knee badly, but I don’t have a scar, and I scar easily.

  25. My earliest memory is a nightmare. I was 1 1/2 or maybe 2 at the time and living in Washington. In my dream I was seated on our couch in front of the refrigerator. The door swung open to reveal a bunch of oversized foodstuffs, and in the middle, a large grotesquely bloated eggplant. The eggplant began to move and opened a large mouth and leaped out of the fridge at me. It chased me around the living room trying to eat me. I don’t remember what happened after that, but I do know that to this day I have a deep-seated phobia of eggplant. Their swollen purple bodies disgust and horrify me.

  26. What about weird memories? Things that just don’t make any damn sense? I grew up in California in the 70’s so there was a fair amount of dope and weirdness. A group of us basically roamed the neighborhoods like a bunch of “Lord of the Flies” wanabees. Afterschool until dinner and all day on the weekend. These were brand new neighborhoods that were being built so fast that we would lose water pressure in the mornings. I remember I had wandered off from the group and this guy walks up to me. He looked really old but he was probably only 19 or 20, He squated down in front of me and grabbed my chin, he turned my face one way and then the other. I was scared. He shook his head and said “Not ready yet.” and walked off. Just freaking weird.

  27. My earliest memory is a visual memory of looking out the back of the car at our house as we were moving away from L.A. when I was 3. I’ve had some of the details corroborated by my older brother, so I think it’s an accurate memory.

    I don’t know of any false memories I have.

  28. During the evolution of this response, I think of one memory and while I’m writing it down, I think of something that’s likely to have happened earlier. So this is version three of this post.

    I can remember being chased by a very angry poodle through a backyard during the afternoon. I also know that in the same place that we were at, my mother was telling me the names of all of my extended family on my dad’s side. My guess is we were going to be on our way to Montana to see them within the near future. I’m not sure exactly how old I was when that happened, but I know it happened between my sister being born in Evanston, Wyoming and moving back to my birthplace in Riverton, Wyoming. That would have been when I was either two or three, so 1989 or 1990 would have been the year.

  29. I remember going to Disney Land (World?) with my family at a very young age, particularly going through the haunted house (not just that though). They’re all still shocked that I remember that because they say that I was only about two or three years old at the time.

  30. My earliest memory is being bitten by the neighbour’s dog at around age 3. My parents were in the back lane talking with the neighbour. I had been told that I could pat the small dog sitting next to the neighbour, but not the other dog sitting aways. So I there petting the small dog, but I keep looking over at the other dog, not sure why I can’t pat it. And it’s sitting there, all lonely and sad and feeling left out, so I think. Knowing I’m not supposed to pat that dog, I keep looking at the adults, waiting for an oppurtunity to slip away so I can go pat it. I find my opportunity, walk over, reach out to pat and am promptly bitten on the face. I don’t actually remember the bite, though. My memory goes from reaching out my hand to being carried in the arms of my dad as he is running through the back yard to (presumably) get to the car out front and rush me off to hospital.

    As for false memories, I have a memory that I have no idea if it’s of a real event or of a dream. I’m walking home (I’m nine years old) from I don’t know where. Just a few houses away from home a man asks me into the garden of a house. We get behind a large bush or small tree and he has me perform fellatio on him. The thing is, I remembered this when I about 12, and therefore my confusion about wether I was remembering a dream I had when I was 9 or an event that happened when I was 9. The circumstances of the event makes no sense to me as a real event – why was I out walking home by myself at 9, and anyway, even if I were walking home from somewhere I can make no sense of why I would have been walking from the direction that I remember; if I’d been anyway it would more likely have been in the opposite direction. But then again, why would I suddenly remember a dream (that I had no previous memory of) I had three years earlier? It used to bother me, but I now find it to be a curiosity.

  31. I have a false memory from a family trip we took just after I graduated college. My brother was driving and got pulled over for speeding. We were pulled over to the side of the road and waiting for the cop to walk up to the car when I noticed that my brother was wearing dark sunglasses. I told him that he should take the sunglasses off so he wouldn’t look like he was hiding anything from the cop (lol!).
    Well, my brother and everyone else who was on that trip deny that any of this happened. I now believe that this must have been a vivid dream that I had around the same time and it somehow manifested as a real memory. And it does have some silly elements that a dream would have.

  32. I have a few memories that would have to be from when I was 4-5 or possibly earlier. I have no way of knowing which is earlier though, or how early.

    I have one memory of being outside when a thunderstorm started and stumbling while running to get inside. I fell on the gravel and got some stuff stuck in my palms. I know that one is a real even since I’ve still got one of those pieces of gravel in my left palm.

    Mom gave up getting it out since I was screaming so much while she poked at it with a big needle and she figured it would come out on its own. She was wrong.

  33. My earliest memory is of throwing up on the floor.

    It was certainly before 1974, and after 1972. I had been drinking a red-coloured fizzy drink (soda) and I was surprised that my vomit was red.

  34. My understanding is that the brain goes through a radical reorganization at about age 6. Anything you “remember” from much younger than that (one commenter said his earliest memory was from age 16 MONTHS!) should be regarded as highly suspect; not to say it didn’t happen, but it may exist purely because of frequent rehearsal shortly after the event or being told about it later.

    Myself, I also once caught myself unconsciously co-opting a friend’s anecdote. Oddly enough, I was there for the original event, and yet I thought I had been the one who quipped the pithy comment in question. I realized my mistake after he corrected me with a sense of wonder at just how weird our stupid brains are.

  35. Bobbie pin in a light socket. Do I remember crawling onto the hamper? No. Or how my parents came to my aid? No. But I remember the visceral zap/shock of being mini electrocuted. I never realized until recently though that I was only one year old. The most intriguing thing about this now is that I’m not sure if I still actually remember it or simply remember remembering it as a kid.

  36. False memory? I swore that my dad punched me with a fist ( he was a boxer in the navy ) as hard as he could when I was a pre schooler. Never happened. In fact, I was never, ever even spanked when I was a child. That’s because I was quick! But that’s another tale.

  37. @banyan: well, maybe that’s true of my movie theatre memory, but i have a very vivid sense memory from about age 4 that still seems much too real to just be remembered by rehearsal.
    my dad was working nights at the time, and he’d get home about 4am and take a shower. i would wake up and wait for him to come out of the bathroom. one morning, i woke up and he wasn’t in there (it must have been a saturday or something) so i went in and started looking around. his razor was lying on the back of the toilet, and, always the explorer, i ran my thumb across the blade. i can still feel that cut when i think about it.

  38. @banyan: I’m sure that’s generally true, but biology is weird enough that there can be many exceptions to the rule. I would have doubts about my earliest memories if they weren’t backed up by others. No one has shown me pictures of my trip to Disney World (confirmed), and the only time it’s brought up is if I bring it up.

  39. What is your earliest memory? Have you uncovered any odd false memories lying around your skull?

    My earliest memory has to do with a nightmare I had sometime around the age of three or four. So far as I can recall, heh, heh, the memory of the nightmare is reasonably authentic. But of course there is no way to know for sure. And the nightmare was rather oddly similar to Gabriel’s ( @Gabrielbrawley: ) real experience memory, except the park morphed into an evil foresty ravine.

    As for false memories, I’ve tested myself hundreds of times and discovered that a large majority of my memories are, to some small degree, false. And if Susan Loftus et al are right, and I have no doubt they probably are, then most of our memories are only something we replay and retell ourselves over time and cannot avoid some reshaping and shifting over time.

    My most vivid false memory also involves a dream. Ten years or so ago I had an exceptionally vivid dream in which I dreamt (yes, a dream within a dream) of riding around on a Harley during my early twenties. The character of the dream within the dream was that it was a dream of remembering an actual “real” experience. So when I woke up I actually remembered and believed, vividly, that I in fact had for a short time owned and run around on a Harley in my early twenties. Which is absolutely false. I’ve never owned any kind of motorcycle, nor ever ridden a Harley. But it was so remarkably vivid that I actually remembered and believed in this alternate history for about a week, until, gradually, reality replaced the false memory. It was an intense and bizzarre experience.

  40. @SicPreFix said:

    And if Susan Loftus et al are right, and I have no doubt they probably are….

    Well, there you go. False memory in action. That should be Elizabeth F. Loftus, not Susan.

  41. I believe my earliest memory is of having my mom take me out of a movie theater because the movie was too scary. (Ghostbusters? Maybe.) It was night, and we went for a walk while the movie finished. I was looking though the windows of a lube shop (that is, a car lube shop, you sickos), and thought I saw monsters inside.

  42. @noadi: Your story made me misty. I had two daughters and I scared them a few times by sounding stern when I really didn’t mean to. And for a puppy! That’s a direct hit on the softest part of my heart…The only think that could make it a better story for me was if the puppy was a Sheltie. Thanks for sharing!

    I have one memory that is of an actual event, but I can’t be certain of whether I created it after hearing the story from my parents or not.
    Apparently, I was a real little fireball as a kid. I did not (and still DON’T) being bullied. I must have been around 3 when a kid pushed me off of a swing and took it away from me.
    Well, little did he know that I had a very bad habit of grabbing for ears and twisting when I was picked on. I damn near twisted the little bastard’s ear off! I do remember the blood flowing down my hand…
    I also have a vague memory of watching a black and white TV where people were upset and crying about something. I was later told that I might be remembering the Kennedy assassination coverage. I would have been about six years old…

  43. @SicPreFix: I have had that happen a couple of times where a dream is so vivid that I actually have to think about it and make sure it isn’t an actual memory. It is so freaking weird. One in particular is a recuring dream of flight. But it isn’t really flight its more like floating. In the dream it is all about balance. If I can get my balance just right then the wind will carry me into the sky and I can ride them like a hawk on a thermal updraft. Doesn’t matter how strong or weak the wind is just about how balanced I am. Several times I have woken up and been convinced for several seconds that it was a memory. Once I even woke up and my first thought was “Oh, that’s how I do it.”

  44. My earliest memory is of a dream so it may have been later than I am remembering it. I was 2 and we were moving from Arizona to Florida and we had to leave my duck Daffy behind. I had a nightmare that men in hazmat suits came and took him away. :(

  45. My earliest memory is of my older bother running into the room to look at me in my crib. In my memory, he’s around three years old which would make me one. While this may not be a true memory it’s odd that it’s such a benign moment to remember.
    The first memory of an activity is my father pulling me around on a disk sled in the field outside our house. He would spin me around in a circle until I got dizzy and fell off. great times for a four year old!
    I also have two recurring dreams that scared the crap out of me that started when I was four. But that’s a tale for another AI.

  46. My earliest memory is going to visit my mother and new born (few hours old) sister in the hospital when I was 4 and a half.

    I have a few other memories from before I started school a few years later (afterwhich I have reasonably good recall of events), but none that don’t involve siblings or events that could not have pre-dated her arrival (I certainly can’t place them in chronological order).

    In fact the reason I know it to be my earliest memory is due to the fact that I, obviously, can put actual dates to those events and so know how old I would have been at the time, rather than any feeling about it being the first memory I might I have.

  47. How’s this for odd:
    My first five years, my family lived in a rental home. All of my memories from those days are in black and white. Once we moved into the home where I lived for the rest of my childhood, my memories are in color.
    I suspect it is an artifact of technology: my memories are influenced by the photos taken during those days. When I was very young, we had a black and white camera. As I grew up, we bought a color camera. My memories have been colored by the way they were reinforced by viewing the old snapshots.

  48. I have a distinct memory of going with my father to get our new car. I remember being about 4 years old at the time.

    My dad swears it never happened. It’s awful that he’d forget something like that.


  49. My first memory that I can recall is almost getting hit by a car. According to my mom this occurred at age 2ish. I sort of recall the color of the cat I was chasing when it happened, the color of the car is less certain. As for false memories, I haven’t led a very eventful life so a false memory would have to be very mundane to get past me.

  50. It’s been interesting reading all these memory remarks. Over the past twenty years I’ve been a student of memory issues and how we recall events, specifically traumatic and abusive incidents. Most of the research I’ve read indicates most adults have no actual memories of incidents prior to three years and what we perceive as memories are reconstructions or manufactured memories based on adults retelling a child about an incident or the result of retelling a story by an adult who is unaware that they are embellishing and preserving an inaccurate memory or a story that is not based on a real event. Its quite easy to create a false memory in a child just by repeating a story and providing a child with details over time. It was a hard lesson for the mental health community to learn that therapists can even create false memories in willing or susceptible adults. For any adult over the age of thirty I would be highly suspect of any memory reported to be prior to the age of four based on current research.

  51. My earliest memory, or so I believe, is of asking my mom for a little brother. She was doing dishes at the sink, and I had just run in from outside. I think she was already pregnant, but I really wanted her to make it a boy, since the boys next door who were my age (3) wouldn’t play with me because girls weren’t good for anything. Of course, by the time my brother was old enough to play outside with me, we fought more than we played… I also remember my dad calling me downstairs to go to the hospital to see the new baby, and that when they let me hold him, he cried. My dad claims to have no memory of taking me to the hospital, but we do have a picture of me holding my brother and him wailing. I also remember trying to push my mom around in a wheelchair, and making car racing sounds, but my parents claim this never happened.

    The only memory I have which I know to be false is the one that I claim made me deathly afraid of tent caterpillars. When I was in grade one or two (I have virtually no memories of my second grade classroom, but lot’s of memories of every other grade, it’s weird) I had brought some caterpillars into class to play with, as had several of the other kids. We were all quietly writing in our books, when the caterpillars exploded. One was right in the middle of my notebook, and it left a big smear of guts that seeped through all the pages. I fear those caterpillars to this day because I am afraid they will drop on my neck and squish. Actually, I’m afraid of most things that I could accidentally squish…
    For many years I assumed it was some sort of pesticide that made the caterpillars explode, but I’m fairly sure there aren’t pesticides that do that…

    I also have one completely irretrievable memory that has bothered me for years. When I was in grade 12, my best friend and I were at the 7-11, and some guy (very attractive, about our age, maybe a year or two older) came up and greeted us happily by name, and asked us how we were doing. We had no idea who the guy was, and still don’t to this day. He was so embarrassed, and a little angry, that we didn’t know him, despite the fact he clearly had a really good memory of us, that he left before we could get out of him where he knew us from. Nobody we knew recognized our description of him, and we never saw him again. Argh, it’s bugging me again!

  52. My earliest memories are all from living on the Navy base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – but I’m not sure which was first. Flying kites on the salt flats, visiting the beach and feeding crackers to the iguanas – and then the older kids at my Cuban babysitters house who scared us little kids by pretending they were Castro’s revolutionaries, with guns. Also, doing a tour of the perimeter, and seeing the guard towers, and hearing about the mine fields. The weirdest one was going into the bathroom and finding a lot of blood, and bloody paper towels in the trash – apparently one of my dad’s friends had gotten upset at his girlfriend, and thought that plunging his fist through the windshield of his car was a good idea – I didn’t understand much of it at the time, but it was definitely strange.

    The only false memory I have comes from a fight at a bus-stop when I was in about 5th grade. A new kid had been picking on me, so I apparently punched him, once – and after that we were friends. Somehow my memory got changed around, though, to where I took him down and punched him a lot – but that never happened.

  53. This isn’t an earliest memory, but it’s my first really clear, distinct one. When I was 6 years old, I learned how to read, and I read everything. One day I was climbing on the kitchen counters as I often did, and I found a bottle of prescription medicine. (I knew better than to take any though.) I noticed it had a “child-proof” cap, and it also had directions on it. It said to push down and turn, so I did, and I was successful at opening it. So I came to the conclusion that since I opened a child-proof cap, then I must not be a child anymore, and in fact, anyone who can read is no longer a child according to this cap.

  54. @catgirl: Oh, my goodness, you just brought back another one of my old ones. I was two or three, we were still living in the duplex. I loved, loved, loved flintstones vitamins (yes, they had flintstones vitamins in 1974) So, I snuck down from upstairs and into the kitchen, my parents were watching TV in the front room. I climbed up on the counter and inched my way around to the cabinet that had the vitamins. I got the bottle out and read how to open it and opened it. But since I was so young I lost control and spilled vitamins everywhere. My parents rushed in to see their little boy standing on the counter with and empty bottle of vitamins and 60 pills scattered all over the counter and floor. I tried to come up with a lie but they didn’t beleive me.

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