My earliest childhood memory is…

So Yahoo has this new thing going called ‘blog of the day’. They throw out a topic and everyone on the internet blogs about it. Today’s topic is “my earliest childhood memory”. I have two, but I don’t know how old I was for one of them (or if it isn’t just a figment of my imagination), so I don’t know which is the earliest. Since my mother is the only person who reads my blog (yes, Mom, you’re my mother, so you HAVE to – want to or not!), I’m sure there will soon be a comment to this post that clears it up for me.

Memory #1: I’m at the zoo. I guess it must have been a fairly warm day, because the zoo keeper had a hose and was squirting it into the gorilla cage. Don’t ask me why…maybe he was cleaning it, maybe he was cooling the big, mean-looking gorilla off. The next thing everyone knows, the gorilla has somehow gotten a hold of the hose and is squirting water on the spectators.

A couple of things make me question whether or not this is an actual memory. I’ve lived in Maryland my whole life, so if I was at the zoo it would have had to be the National Zoo in Washington, DC (Yeah yeah, I know there’s one in Baltimore too, but that one doesn’t count. They actually want you to PAY to get in…lol). Now, I’ve been to the zoo within the last few years, and my ‘memories’ of the gorilla cage don’t match what I know is there today. Of course things change over the years, but I just don’t know…I remember the base of the cage being a large, plain, concrete slab and rising up from it were tall, tall, tall black bars.  The front of the cage faced a  grassy area, and there were people sitting here and there on the grass, picnicing, reading, or just hanging out.  They were the ones who got hosed.

Memory #2: Now I know for a fact this one is for real, and I can narrow it down to the summer before my brother was born. That would have made me 4 1/2. We were living in Waldorf, Maryland, and were good friends with the family in the house next door. One day we took a trip to the grocery store – my mother, me, the woman from next door, and her son who was just a little bit younger than me. On our way into the store (the Grand Union…do those still exist anywhere?) Michael (the son) and I noticed someone sitting outside the entrance with a box of kittens. Of course, we each immediately decided that we just *had* to have one, and the begging began. The memory is fuzzy, but I’m sure we must have whined and begged non-stop while our poor mothers tried to get their grocery shopping done.

Somehow the ladies managed to buy whatever they needed and hustled us out of the store. I’m quite sure we stopped by those adorable kitties for one last longing look before being marched off to the car. We didn’t need new kittens. My family had a grouchy old tomcat named Alex already, and Michael had a dog (I think he already had Benji then…). Disappointed, we got into the car. It was the 70’s, so cars were of course super safe, and it is doubtful that we wore seat belts. As we got settled in, Michael’s mom said that she forgot something and had to go back (at least I think it was her – Mom, if it was you, my bad!!). The rest of us waited in the car. When she returned a few minutes later, she was carrying a kitten in each hand – one for each of us.  🙂

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