When I look back to early childhood, very few true memories exist. I recall the look of tree branches on my bedroom window - it must have frightened me. I also remember the circus-themed linoleum "rug" in my playroom and some low cupboards that fascinated me. I remember the porch and an astronaut toy of some sort (although no real astronauts had left the earth at that time).
My memories are rich with family stories. My Grandma was fond of telling me that my first sentence was "All gone!" as our belongings were taken away to be shipped to America. It appears that I liked playing with the coal by the fireplace in my parent's apartment in Cambridge, a wonderfully messy toy.
Even better than stories are the old photographs. The one above shows my proud parents outside St. John's College Chapel after my christening. I am told I howled during the whole service. I love the photos from the first house I actually remember. There are silly ones of me playing dress-up and riding a real stuffed bucking bronco (right) and hamming for the camera. Mine seems to have been a sunny, happy childhood.
I am one of the principal curators of the family photos. We have dour-looking ancestors ranging back to my father's grandparents and my mother's great grandparents. These photos give me a sense of place in history. I can understand why the old Scots and members of many other cultures introduced themselves with a recital of their family connections. What a sad thing to lose all ones tangible connections to the past in a disaster or war. These photos are treasures to me.