Thursday, December 30, 2010

First Memory

I was supposed to have posted this for the Madhouse yesterday, but we're still in "vacation" mode around here, so nothing is on schedule.

The topic of a first memory is interesting to me, as I have a really keen sense of remembering things.

I was adopted at 2 months old, and no, I do not remember that. Even though I now have met my biological mother and she has filled in the blanks for me, I have no recollection of April 22, 1968 and June 11, 1968. I know what I know by snippets passed down from my mom and dad (who adopted me) and from the other side of the fence: what happened prior to and immediately after my birth from my biological mom. I think that's really cool.

I have several kind of first memories tied to when I was about 2 or so. I remember the house in Alabama we lived in.

My dad was an engineer for the Federal Highway Administration and mom quit her job as a secretary a week before I was legally adopted and brought home. Part of the agreement at the time of my adoption was that one parent had to stay home until I was at least two years old.

Let me tell you, my mom never returned to the working world after this precious bundle was in the hizz-ouse. :-) Why would she? She called my dad her "Sugar Daddy" and he provided us all with a very comfy life.

Like many Southern families, we had an African American maid. Her name was Annette James and we all loved her. She and her husband didn't have a vehicle, so if she missed the bus, my dad would drive to pick her up or drop her off, depending on if if was the beginning of her shift or the end. She did laundry, cooking, cleaning and cared for me, even though mom was home all day.

We belonged to a country club because Dad liked to golf (he golfed until almost his last days), but there was a pool at the club and I learned to swim before I was 2 years old.

When I was 2, my mom also had a hysterectomy. Back then, people were in the hospital for days recovering from a surgery like that, so Miss Annette was at our house more than usual. I remember one day, she brought her grandson. He was a year or two older than me and normally, we would not have been allowed to play together - Dad had to work and Mom was in the hospital, so play we did and I recall having a fun day with my new friend.

Dad took me to the hospital to see Mom. We stopped by Morrison's Cafeteria for lunch. I remember seeing ladies smiling at me. It wasn't until we got to the hospital that I knew WHY they were smiling. Apparently, Miss Annette had the day off, so Dad dressed me. In a sweet dress with the buttons going down the FRONT.

When Mom saw me, she said, "Bill, you have her dress on backwards!" There were laughs all around - I didn't get it at the time. I was just happy to see my mum.

I even vaguely remember the pattern on the dress. It was cotton, so it must have been a warm time of the year. I also remember the hospital room, even though there are no photos of the room or the dress.

A year and a half later, my parents adopted a boy (my "brother") and shortly thereafter, we moved to Georgia for Dad's promotion. We left behind our cousins (who we visited regularly) and Miss Annette (who we never saw again). The only picture we have of her is holding my "brother" and it's only her arm in the photo.

I wish I knew the rest of the story from that point on.


I forgot to add the other players from the Madhouse:
Allison – Allimonster Speaks
Barb – Spencer Hill Spinning & Dyeing
Batty – Batty’s Adventures in Spooky Knitting
Dave – Notes from the Field
Evil Twin’s Wife – The Glamorous Life of a Hausfrau
G – Not-A-Box
Heather – She Flies With Her Own Wings
Jennifer – Ask Poops, Please
JMLC – Daydreams and Ruminations
Kate – yoyu mama
LC – LC in Sunny So Cal
Louise – Child of Grace
Marcy – Mittentime
Melanie – usually, things happen
Nikki – Land of the Free, Home of the Depressed
Sara – yoyu mama


  1. You should try to find Annette, Wouldn't that be interesting!

  2. It would be great if you could find her. Have you read the book "The Help?" You might like it.

    Isn't it funny what makes into our memory banks? My earliest memory is of hiding under our baby grand piano because we had a visitor I didn't want to hug and kiss me. I was two.

  3. I have this vague memory of traveling down a dark tunnel and then all of a sudden there was this bright light and some maked guy started smacking my ass..... it's really sort of disturbing...

  4. My husband does that to the girls all the time - the last time we were sitting down in the middle of church before I finally noticed that he'd put the baby's dress on backward. I couldn't even wait until the service was over - I had to slide it around right then and there because it was driving me so nuts! Those are the times I remind myself how lucky I am that my husband actually is willing to help me get the girls dressed at all :-)

  5. I remember sitting on our new dog (a St. Bernard) because I thought he was a horse. He immediately laid down.

    My sister turned and looked at me and said "He laid down because you're too fat to carry."

    I was two.

    [For the record, she was only four, and she STILL feels terrible about it.]

  6. I've worn things inside out on occasion. Yes, people notice, and they stare.