What makes up a memory? How much of a memory is real, and how much of it is created by a mix of perception and imagination? When I think back on my earliest recollections I can’t help but wonder if what I see are true memories, or just what my mind has filled in from hearing stories and flipping through pages of old photo albums. Like some of my earliest memories in that house on Charlotte Drive – the “Charlotte House” my mother always called it. Do I remember that house in it’s entirety, or is it a puzzle with missing pieces that I’ve glued together over the years? Writers create that way. A bit of this, a piece of that, some of him, some of you, a drop of her, a pinch of authentic somethings. Mix well and bake at 350 degrees. What you end up with is a mix of history, make-believe, and wishing.
“But I still love to wash in your old bathwater.”
“Bathwater” by No Doubt
from the album, Return Of Saturn (2000)
Song Of The Day – September 3, 2011
The living room at “The Charlotte House” seemed enormous to my 4-year old self. There were street signs and kitchy 70’s posters (seriously, we even had the “Hang In There, Baby” one with the cat). My bedroom was Pepto Bismol pink, with some kind of spinning things hung above my bed (a mobile, maybe?). While I laid in bed staring at it, I’d feel myself begin to sway into some kind of dizzy half-dream state. In the background I’d hear my mother’s records playing. Sometimes I’d hear fighting voices, too, but I may have made that part up, too. I had two favorite spots in that house – my mother’s taller-than-me speakers, and the bathtub.
I used to float on the surface of the water in that tub. I had a Mary Had A Little Lamb bath toy (odd, but I’ve confirmed that memory, and have even seen some pictures post-memory recall) wading beside me. I’d pretend I was a mermaid, my feet turned into fins.
When a side of my mother’s album would end, with that tell-tale scratch and whir of the needle hitting the paper, then lifting to return, there would be a moment of silence. It would soon be broken though, with my mother’s voice loudly calling out to me:
“Don’t fall asleep in there!”