Day 14 – “Your earliest memory”
When I think hard and honestly about it, I’m pretty sure my earliest memory is my third birthday. My family threw a big party for me at our apartment. My grandfather dressed up like a hobo clown, which I think was the fashionable choice of clown in the 1980s.
I say that I tried to think honestly about it because my grandfather has so much video of my childhood that sometimes I feel like I remember something, but in reality I’ve just heard about it enough and seen enough images of it that I have pieced the memory together more than I actually remember it. But my third birthday is something I have never forgotten.
I can still vividly see the yellow walls of my childhood apartment, and the strawberry wallpaper in the kitchen. I remember being told my grandfather was going to dress up but not exactly knowing what to expect until I saw it. There were a bunch of kids there, including my next door neighbor with whom I played almost daily.
What I remember most though, is that I had a piñata. We beat that piñata as best we could, and when it finally exploded, I didn’t get any candy. Not a single piece of candy. So I did what any three year old who would grow up to be me would do: I made everyone put the candy back into a big bag, and then distributed it equally amongst everyone. Yes, I really was that much fun as a child.
Years later, in fifth grade, I would bring munchkins to school for my birthday, giving out an equal number to everyone in the class. I gave my mother strict instructions that there were to be no second servings as I wanted to take the rest home. When I saw kids asking for more, I got in front of the entire class and told everyone to “sit down and shut up.” They complied as if I were some scary teacher. My teacher looked at me as if I were scary, which I was. To be fair, it was crazy but thinking back on it, that is the year I can think of when people really picked on me. I had hit puberty that year, a few years earlier than everyone, and my acne and unparalleled need for a sports bra when running didn’t do me any favors.