30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 2

Prompt: Your earliest memory.

Oh, so easy. Whew! I have two early memories and I’m not sure which was first. I was too small. Back when I wore diapers.

Memory #1: It was Halloween. Which probably means I was 16 months old. There’s no way I’d have remember this a year earlier. And a year later, I would no longer have been in diapers.

It was Halloween. Trick-or-treaters were coming to the door and I needed a diaper change. My mother took over the task of handing out candy while my dad took me upstairs. Back then, the only diapers that existed were cloth. Cloth is hip again. Funny how that’s come full circle. He removed the wet one, tossed it in the diaper pail, and put a dry one on. Then, there must have been a loud knocking at the door or some commotion downstairs or he was just distracted by something. Maybe my mother was yelling up the stairs to him. She was a huge yeller. It was her hobby, to yell upstairs rather than walk upstairs and talk to you. Find the person she was seeking. She felt the burden was on the other person to make the effort if she needed you. I’ve never understood this.

Anyhow, my dad was distracted and stuck me in the thigh with a diaper pin. And while it hurt, and I cried, I would suffer much worse things in the future. I have no idea what cloth diapers are held together with these days but I doubt it is very large, sharp pin.

Memory #2: My mother never met a department store she didn’t like. One of her favorites was the Miller & Rhoads at Willow Lawn (when it wasn’t the one a downtown). It was an outside mall then (again – things come full circle; Willow Lawn was enclosed years later and recently dismantled to match the other upscale outdoor malls in the burbs) and M&R was a large outbuilding. You crossed the road to reach it and I think there was a covered awning to keep the ladies dry when their husbands dropped them off in front. It had an escalator up to the second floor which seemed to dump you out into sporting goods and luggage. Most of the clothes for women wer downstairs with the perfume and makeup counters in the middle. A typical setup even now.

Anyhow, I remember being in a stroller in a department store – either a Miller & Rhoads or it could have been a Thalhimers – and being rolled up to one of those three way mirrors. Three full length mirrors connected by hinges so women could check themselves out at all the important angles. There must have been someone else with us because I don’t think my mother would ever have thought to do this, but someone pushed me up close to the middle mirror and then folded the other two in as far as they’d go and I could see myself and see myself and see myself in three directions into infinity. My tiny brain was blown. It was both hilarious and frightening. Which is still how I see things.

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