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October 17th, 2001

First Memory

I was talking with Huyen the other day about our earliest memories. She remembers back to being four years old in California, just shortly after having come over from Vietnam. One of my earliest and most vivid memories is of my Aunt Clara’s house in Delaware, a house that she moved out of when I about five. And, this is kind of strange, I remember remembering a brief flash of the house that we lived in when I was born… we moved out of that house before I turned two.

I think it’s pretty incredible the things that we can remember, but it also makes me wonder exactly why it is that we don’t have more vivid memories of our early years. I would think that when I’m 50 I’ll have a pretty good memory of things that happened when I was 25… how come there isn’t at least some memory from 25 years ago now? -ram

Posted in Childhood Memories

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday October 17, 2001 -- 9:54:08AM
I have a memory of being 2 or 3 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Thankfully, it's more than a flash. Although, I can't figure out how I went from seeing a crusty old man to seeing a woman in our neighborhood breastfeeding her baby.

FROM: Katherine
DATE: Wednesday October 17, 2001 -- 3:15:50PM
I learned about this once (the explanation for the lack of memories from infancy and early childhood). Ironically, I can't remember the specifics, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that babies don't have the capability for symbolic representation -- they can't look at something and hold a mental image of it in their heads. Also, for infants, their world is the here and now... there is no past or future. Hmmm, now I'm intrigued - I may have to check into this further.

FROM: liz
DATE: Thursday October 18, 2001 -- 9:28:00PM
i thought, too, that there was a hormone that didn't begin secreting till around two years old, which helped preserve memory.

my earliest memory is my dad's cement truck, from when i was about one and a half.

FROM: MollyCule
DATE: Monday October 22, 2001 -- 7:36:22PM
I have two that occured right around he same time, and I'm not sure which exactly was the first.

1. Telling my neighbors that I was 3 when I was actually 2, because the size label in my shirt was a 3.

2. Learning to read from my 5 year old brother's Dick and Janes.

FROM: aron
DATE: Friday October 18, 2002 -- 3:35:34 pm
awesome gume dudes

FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday September 21, 2003 -- 12:33:46 pm
We moved the week that I turned 4, so I have a small collection of memories from the old house that I can confidently label as "things that happened when I was 3" like one of my brothers convincing me to eat sand. I also remember someone coming to tune the piano and being really psyched that I could climb out of my crib.

On moving day, one of the movers opened my bedroom door while I was still in bed and that really freaked me out. I can still see his face.

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:42:55 pm

FROM: Riley
DATE: Wednesday June 7, 2006 -- 3:08:13 pm
The phenomenon is called childhood amnesia. There are three popular theories in Psychology right now.

1.) What was stated earlier in the post, the lack of self-awareness in children. No recognition of where the self, others, and time begin and end.

2.) Lack of language understanding. If you think about memories most have some basis in narrative, you might see a image of a house--but I'll bet you could describe it just as well if you had to. Also many memories from youth involve dialogue. So memories don't start to form until children have the ability to "narrate" their own lives.

3.) Babies brains aren't fully developed until about age two. One part in specific the hippocampus (which plays a large role in memory storage) does not reach full size until age two. An interesting theory involves that until about age two the hippocampus is about half the size of what it is in an adult but by age two has reached full size. Some think that, much like a computer, the hippocampus reboots itself upon reaching full size and begins to collect new memories, but erasing (almost) all of the old.

FROM: Abbey
DATE: Friday August 4, 2006 -- 10:57:06 pm
I can remember my 3rd birthday party and my running to my grandma who died when I was like 3. I still have this doll she gave me when i was like 2.

Sian January 20, 2007, 9:58 am

i remember when i was 8 months old.. i was walking around the garden in a roller-walker thingy.

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