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.
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.
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?
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.