Today is the first day of the October Memoir and Backstory Challenge hosted by Jane Anne McLachlan. The idea is to cover a year each day in October. For this first day, though we’re doing ages 0 and 1. Watch tomorrow for my Age 2 post. And check the link to see what other writers are doing with this challenge.

When I was emptying my parents’ house after my mother died, I found a handful of home movie reels. Neither my brother or I remembered ever seeing these. We didn’t even remember that my parents owned a movie camera or projector.

It took a few years, but I eventually got around to taking the reels to a camera place to have them transferred to DVD.* The movies, totaling about fifteen minutes, cover my parents wedding, several incidents of my infancy including my first pony ride at age three months (?!), and one reel with my younger brother as a toddler.

Baby Joy

Joy at 4 wks

One segment is of my mother feeding baby me with a spoon out of a jar. Everyone who has seen it said something like, “Wow! She was really shoveling it in there, wasn’t she?” Spoonful after spoonful, faster than you would want to eat it as an adult. It’s no surprise that my brother and I grew up to be fast eaters. According to my diet books, eating quickly correlates with overweight and obesity, so the speed of eating possibly contributed to our weight problems as adults.

When I was younger, evidence of my parents’ lack of parenting skills annoyed or angered me. Now, when I look at these videos, I see my mother as a young woman (nearly thirty years younger than I am now) who was ill-equipped for the care of small children but had little opportunity for doing anything else.

That transition in my attitude came, in part, due to an awareness that whatever my parents were responsible for in me, they aren’t responsible any more. If I eat too fast now (and I do), it’s up to me to change it if I want to. So far, I’ve been able to make other behavioral changes that worked to reduce my weight, including eating more salads which even I can’t eat all that fast.

While I have the photos out, here’s me with my dad in an early indulgence of my sweet tooth.

copy of Joy, Dad, and Lollipop

Joy’s 1st lollipop, 1963, Kenvil, N.J., 16 months

I don’t know what I was doing, exactly, in this picture, but I didn’t learn to read until first grade. Apparently, I liked to look at books even before I could read. Don’t you love those paisley pants?

photo of Joy and Book

Joy — about 20 mo.

So, there we are — photographic evidence that I was born to be a book blogger with a fascination for healthy eating to counter-balance an equal fascination for sweets and eating fast.

What do you know about yourself from before age 2? Do you have any memories of that age or, like me, do you rely on bits of evidence from whatever extant sources are available?

*If you have home movies that you want transferred to DVD, do it now. The place I went to said that they keep one machine running by stealing parts from two others because parts are no longer available. When that last machine breaks for good, they will be out of the business of home movie transfer.


Comments

Baby Speed Eater – October Memoir Challenge — 39 Comments

  1. Hi Joy,
    I love this thoughtful photographic piece. I like how you;’ve chosen photos that say something about who you’ve become, and your mature reflections on your mother. So interesting. I think I’ll try one like this! I look forward to reading your future posts.

  2. Fantastic post, Joy.

    I love the pictures and how you’ve reflected, very openly, on your feeling about your parents. A few years back, my present to my Mum and Dad was to convert a cine-film reel to VHS (yep, it was a few years ago now!) and it is just 2 minutes of footage from their wedding. It captured my Grandad being the funny man he was. Just that snapshot made it so worthwhile.

    I will certainly look forward to reading more.

    Great to meet you!

    Neil.

  3. Joy, I loved reading this post. Here’s what really struck me: “whatever my parents were responsible for in me, they aren’t responsible any more.” Wow. What an insight! I’m surprised at what I’m remembering as I attempt to write these posts. It seems like the more I write, the more the memories come flooding in, although there are some gaps. Maybe some of those will fill in, too, as we go along. I look forward to reading more here.

  4. Oooh, I do love the paisley pants! I also agree with Gerry in my appreciation for your insight. You are responsible for who you choose to be from now forward. You can’t always choose your circumstances, even as an adult, but you have more ways to play the cards you are dealt. I better get mine posted soon.

  5. As a shutterbug myself, I particularly enjoyed the pictures. I’m a sucker for old photos. I also liked the insight into your relationship with your mother. I think relationships with parents can be tricky things (I know my own parental relations were certainly complicated), and sometimes it’s difficult to see things for what they really are. This was an interesting post.

  6. I didn’t know about the eating fast thing, my wife is ridiculously fast and if I don’t start before she sits down she will be finished before I get started. She hasn’t been overweight in the twenty years we’ve been married except for her first pregnancy when she was on bed rest, but she still eats fast.

    I love the pictures and the tie in to your blogging! Great post!

  7. Loving those paisley pants Joy. I want some in my size! It’s so special to have those precious movies. I have some too but haven’t done anything about transfering them to DVD yet. Maybe I should do that soon.

  8. I love this! What a gift you have received by watching these movies. This was so touching – and funny (love the evidence about you being born to be a book blogger) – and the photos are beautiful. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing.

  9. This is a great challenge, I’m looking forward to the future posts as well! I wish I had home movies from my baby years, but my parents didn’t get a video camera until I was in middle school. So I just rely on the many, MANY still photos my mom took. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Two Tales — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  11. Pingback: Curls — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  12. Pingback: Most Magical Christmas — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  13. Pingback: Kindergarten — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  14. Pingback: Places — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  15. Pingback: Mental Health in 1969 — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  16. Pingback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? | Joy's Book Blog

  17. Pingback: The Boxcar Children — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  18. Pingback: The Little House Books — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  19. Pingback: Too Thin — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  20. Pingback: Four Square — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  21. Pingback: Curls: Take Two — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  22. Pingback: Scouting — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  23. Pingback: Schools — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  24. Pingback: Sophomore Year — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  25. Pingback: 1979 Book Review: The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  26. Pingback: Library Assistant — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  27. Pingback: College Food — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  28. Pingback: Dear Santa — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  29. Pingback: The Muny — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  30. Pingback: College Graduate — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  31. Pingback: First job — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  32. Pingback: Cancer — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  33. Pingback: Book Review: The New Diary — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  34. Pingback: Master of Liberal Arts — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

  35. Pingback: Table of Contents — October Memoir Challenge | Joy's Book Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *