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April 7th, 2010

Writer's Block: Forget me not

What is your earliest vivid memory? Why do you think this memory stands out so much in your mind?
My earliest memory I can be sure of is that I have a nearly perfect model of the neighborhood my maternal grandma lived in when I was 6 or 7. The neighborhood was at the end of a dead end; there was a farm field just 15 or 20 feet from the dead end, behind some tall-ish brush. You could see a highway off in the distance. And there was a farm behind Grandma's house; she was friends with the owner of that farm. I don't remember if the fields were his or not. I'm not so clear on the inside of her house, mainly because several of her houses get blurred together. But the neighborhood itself, that model could be downloaded from my brain to make a perfect 3-D model.

Of course, that's just my first *setting* memory. My first *event* memory was one of two possibilities: either riding around that neighborhood on my big plastic 3-wheeler, or exploring a small wooded area bordering the farm.

The reason I have such a detailed map of the area is that I have a powerful visual memory - I have similar maps of every place I've lived, including the insides of houses I've lived in (exceptions: 1. Grandma's houses. 2. The inside of The Orange House in Shenandoah and the inside of the Elm Street house in Creston are similar enough that they blur together, too). My ability to save detailed models of places I've been goes beyond places I've lived, too. In fact, if I didn't have this ability, I'd have a hard time getting anywhere because without it, I have no sense of direction at all. It takes me an inordinate amount of time to find new places, but once I've found a place I can navigate by memory. I get to know an area well enough, I can even figure out alternate routes. And I never get so lost I can't find my way back; I can always backtrack thanks to this ability. So my tag "adventures in getting lost" really should be "adventures in *trying* to get lost."

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