Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Earliest Memory

This week's Sunday Scribblings is ...earliest memory.

My earliest memory might not be. It's possible that the half-formed images in my mind occurred earlier than the event that stands out as my earliest memory. But this is the one I can follow through with a describable image.

An apartment kitchen, clean and neat, with turquoise appliances. I'm somewhere younger than four, and it's either very late or very early, because I'm supposed to be in bed. I know my parents are asleep.

That's why I'm here in the kitchen. The cookies I crave, the ones my parents would say "no" about, are in there somewhere. But where? Not on the counter. Mommy always puts things away. The cabinet over the counter. That must be it. But it's up high. Too high for a little girl to reach. Fortunately, this particular little girl is resourceful. Also fortunately (in my opinion at the time), nobody's come up with the idea of cabinet locks yet.

I open the lower cabinet door, slowly and carefully. It squeaks. I freeze and look toward the kitchen entrance. Somehow, the parents who seem to know everything I do, all the time, don't come running to see what I've gotten myself into. Feeling rather one-up on them, I put my foot inside the cabinet and brace little fingers on the counter. The other foot braces on the top of the cabinet door for a boost. Looking back, that probably explains the squeaky hinge.

There! I'm on the counter. I can reach anything from here. But the only thing I want to reach is the cupboard door that holds those tempting, forbidden cookies. I know Mommy said they're not good for me, but they
taste good.

I found it! The yellow and red box with the cookies inside! It's open, with the tab tucked neatly into the slot. Not for long. My greedy fingers dive in, folding the flaps into the box in my haste. Delicious! Even more so because I'm not supposed to have it. Yum yum yum, chocolate chip cookies. I sneak a peak at the kitchen entry again, when something catches my attention. It's bright yellow and orange, and dancing on top of the stove.

That can't really be fire, can it? Maybe I'm having a dream, like the one about the monsters. But if it's a dream, then I didn't really have cookies, and that's no fun. And that fire looks awfully real. Real enough to be scary.

I'm gonna get in big trouble if Mommy and Daddy find out about these cookies. Tentatively, I call out, "fire!" Normally, Mommy and Daddy would be there right away. Any time I'm scared, they're always right there to take care of me. Not this time. As my eyes widen, the fire seems to get bigger.

"Fire," I call a bit more loudly before finally panicking and shrieking as only a frightened four-year-old can: "Fire! Fiiiiire!" By the fourth time I shout it, I'm crying and absolutely sure that I'll have to put it out myself. But then suddenly, there's the scuffle of running feet, and I'm scooped off the counter and into Mommy's arms. Daddy's at the stove, putting the fire out. And nobody's mad about cookies at all.

I have no recollection of what came next, or what caused the fire. I'll have to ask my parents about it one of these times. I do know that the coveted chocolate chip cookies were off-limits not only because they're not appropriate breakfast food, but I was being tested for chocolate allergies at the time. I consider myself very fortunate that it turned out to be a false alarm.

28 comments:

  1. Wow, what a fantastically vivid piece. It almost seemed as if I was right there watching.

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  2. i could taste those forbidden cookies
    amazing how our minds remember so clearly

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  3. Oh wow! You reminded me of my own forbidden cookie story - the door to the biscuit cupboard lifted upwards, and was propped up on a swing out support. When I took the biscuits and pushed the support in, the door fell on my fingertip, which bears the marks to this day.
    You told your story really well

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  4. i love your story. how sweet and funny. so well told that i feel a sudden need for a breakfast of chocolate chip cookies!

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  5. Interesting post on what is real and what isnt.

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  6. Whew, chocolate allergies would be a test from the almighty, I think! Interesting memory -- I love the furtiveness of the cookie thievery! I still feel like that sometimes!

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  7. Wow...kids will do anything to get at the chocolate cookies huh? Great Story!

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  8. I was very tense throughout the reading. Something horrible was sure to happen.

    It reminded me of an early memory I didn't remember to write about. Slicing chocolate cake with a huge, sharp knife because the adults at the party didn't see me slip into the dining room. I was so proud I cut myself some cake so well. Everyone else was so scared.

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  9. Wow! Such a funny/scary illustration of what can happen when we sneak those cookies! :) Great story.

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  10. Amazing how something so simle from early childhood has the power to put me on the edge of my seat. It was like watching a film play out before me. Beautiful written.

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  11. I remember the feeling of not being certain if things were in a dream or real - I also found a fire in our backyard when I was four - but at least I didn't have your fear of getting caught with my hand in the cookie jar! Although for some reason I did have a difficult time getting the grown-ups to take me seriously (perhaps I'd cried wolf before?) Anyway, this was just really, really well done!

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  12. You writing just carried me along...
    And so relieved to find a happy ending...firstly that the fire wasn't serious and secondly, how awful it would have been to be allergic to chocolate! :-)

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  13. How scary for a little one. But I LOL at the "yum yum yum". Hehehe.

    :)

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  14. Wow... very vivid! And scary! My heart was pounding waiting for the rescue.

    and so glad chocolate is not an allergy for you. THAT would be so not fair :)

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  15. No wonder that memory is so vivid! How very scary and you may have saved your families life. The fire probably ended up saving yours. I'm dying to find out about that fire. Glad you are here today to tell this tale :)

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  16. Wow! Very vivid!!! fantastic writing!

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  17. You did a great job of making me see the whole thing.

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  18. Hi - I liked the present tense in your text, and acknowledging that fact that we know so little about what really was - and is. Thanks for your kind comment on mine that came to be a huge life path thingee....

    Chicagoland! That is fun!

    Take care!

    Ann Marie

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  19. This is wonderfully descriptive. Your use of the present tense created a great feeling of suspense. Mmmm...forbidden chocolate chip cookies. I remember being quite a bit older, sneaking around the kitchen, trying to grab another cookie as silently as possible so my mom wouldn't hear!

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  20. Whoa, that was quite a story - I think I might have developed a bit of anxiety when I ate cookies after that! So glad it turned out alright!

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  21. how scary, that's one way to distract them from punishing you!

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  22. Fantastic post. You built up the tension brilliantly. Thank you for sharing this memory.

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  23. Yours was an amazing piece of writing right there - what a memory!

    Cheers

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  24. great writing on such an early memory.. neat that your family had turquoise appliances..

    this reminded me of the time I snuck in the fridge and ate all the jello cups my mom had made for a party :)

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  25. Well written - you had me toddling behind you through the kitchen and up onto the counter and opening the box of cookies right there with four-year-old you. So glad all turned out well, but you'll have to let us all know what your parents share about this story.

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  26. I could FEEL your childhood fear as I read your words. I can imagine the fear and relief your parents must have felt as they scooped you up in their arms and put out the fire. Good work!

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  27. fire. Fire. FIRE!!!

    Hot story. I love the twin suspense, (cookie and fire).

    Peace b2U
    bg

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