Tying my first knot.
We were still a family of four, me, Mom, Dad, and L, and still living in our apartment. It was early morning, but there wasn’t much bright sunlight. I remember the room being a sort of lukewarm yellow, even though the walls and carpet were white. I sat on the ground playing with a doll named Lisa. I’d gotten her for Christmas, most likely the one prior to this occasion. She had black, sticking-up hair, and a purple cloth body, but her head, hands, and shoes were all hard plastic. I must’ve been four at the time.
I don’t remember actually making the knot, only feeling complete excitement when I saw what I’d done. I called Mom until she came into the room. She’d been about to take a shower — I remember the water running in the bathroom down the hall. when I held the doll up for her to see, she grinned and told me to do it again.
I must’ve been in either second or third grade. At our elementary school, one special grade got to put on a production for the rest of the school called Goin’ Buggy. It fit with the curriculum, since that was also the grade we learned about bugs. It was also a last hurrah for the school year — something fun to look forward to and work towards so that you could show off your hard work in front of your parents and the rest of the school.
I was a ladybug, along with the rest of the girls in my class. The special thing about us was that we got to wear colorful feather boas. While we were waiting in the gym to be called for our turn on the stage to perform a song and dance, one of the girls in front of me was getting upset about her boa.
I don’t remember if she’d purposely left hers in the classroom, but she wasn’t happy because her boa wasn’t as fluffy as everyone else’s. I also don’t remember giving her my boa, but the next thing I know, our teacher is asking me if I think I can make it back to the classroom in time to get a new one. I nodded and took off running.
My next memory of that day is vague. Either Mom or my teacher mentioned to me how nice they thought it was that I had given up the boa for someone else. I’m thinking it was Mom who told me what the teacher thought because I have no memory of the teacher ever saying anything about it.
Being dumb with Windex.
A few years after the Goin’ Buggy years, Mom had told me to clean the upstairs bathroom mirror. That was considerably better than cleaning the entire bathroom — a chore and a half no matter what your age — so I obliged. I had everything ready: paper towels on the counter, the mirror with its three panels lying flat against the medicine cabinet, and the Windex at hand. But when I went to spray the mirror, the Windex wouldn’t come out.
You might know where I’m going with this. I tried a few more times, without success, to get the spray to work. Turning the nozzle, I squinted for the upraised plastic letters declaring if the spray was on or off. I didn’t realize my thumb was on the handle and when my hand closed tighter around the bottle to turn the spray from OFF to ON, I squirted myself in the eyes.
This was before I had glasses. I’m not sure how many hours went by before the Windex cleared out, but I did scream and Mom did have to wash my face because I couldn’t see. That might’ve been something of a contributor to my eventually becoming nearsighted. Possibly.
What three memories do you have permanently lodged in your brain?
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