August 7, 2011

Earliest memories

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What is your earliest memory? Are you sure?

I always thought my earliest memory was laying on a folding bed and feeling the ground shake, so I ran outside to the garden next to a large rock. This was in Australia, but wasn’t the house in Leeming we moved to sometime in 1979 (because I know we were there by the time I started school). Thus it must have occurred sometime in 1978 or 1979. I always assumed it was 1978. However, using the power of the Internet, I looked it up. Here is a list of the earthquakes of note in Western Australia. Not many and only one of around the right time. The Cadoux earthquake was at 9:48 on the morning of 2 June 1979 and was strong enough to be felt in Perth, 180km away. This seems way too late, I thought we had moved to Leeming by then. I couldn’t find when the Leeming house was built, but we were definitely living there by 1980 as that was when I started primary school at Oberthur and I have a few memories of that time. I also went to pre-primary at Oberthur while in Leeming, but I don’t know for how long.

So is the memory correct? I know there was an earthquake, but was it at the same time as the folding bed and rock? It is possible the memory is accurate. If I did less than 6 months pre-primary, it could have been just before we moved to Leeming. Or maybe I’m conflating two different memories. The memory is more vivid than others from around the same time: visiting our house in Leeming when it was being built; hearing that the class mouse had died in pre-primary; and, seeing the changing light display on the Old Swan Brewery as part of the Perth Sesquicentennial. Those memories are more static, like they are really memories of a photo (but as far as I know there are no photos of these events). Perhaps they are memories of memories. The rock/earthquake memory has movement and context. There also exists a photo of me next to the rock from around that time. Maybe a long time ago the memories of various things got merged. I’m not sure anymore.


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