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Memories: How Far Back Can You Remember?

Updated on February 23, 2010

We all have memories imprinted in our brains. Some dance around vaguely, while others take root deeply with numerous details. We often refer to these memories when in converstions with others, experiencing things, watching a movie, eating dinner, etc. Basically, it doesn't take much sometimes for our brains to trigger a memory of our past whether it's something we always think back on or have forgotten till something has brought it back up again.

For the sake of just writing them down because I never have, I will list my memories as far back as I can remember. No point intended really, just a random thought that crossed my mind regarding these experiences of my past. Who knows, maybe I'll find some strange explanation from my past that links to my life now that I never put together. So here it goes:

As far back as I can remember....

when I was 3 or 4, there was a black spider on our wall that my Dad decided to name Joseph. He didn't seem as scary to me since I knew his name,

at the same age, I bit the lip of the boy next door who tried to kiss me while we were walking and ran home mad,

being up late with my Dad and his friends listening to them playing the guitar and him letting me play with the microphone,

having a pet goldfish that I was ecsatic to have but would feel sorry for because it could only swim back and forth in a small bowl,

I remember the exact layout of the apartment we lived in when I was 3 or 4,

grabbing towels for my Mom when her water broke, running from the bathroom to the room wondering "what water?",

jumping off the steps at church on Sundays with my friends, seeing how high we could jump from,

jumping off of a chair at my aunt's house spraining both my ankles,

going to McDonald's every morning with my Papa and Mama (grandparents) drinking up a bunch of the little creamers and playing with the containers afterwards,

going with my grandparents to feed the ducks at the lake,

crying everyday when I first started school, usually being one of the last ones to be picked up,

seeing my parents and grandparents watching me sing "I'm a Little Teapot" at my preschool graduation,

my Dad surprising me with my best friend hiding in the trunk end of his little hatch back when picking me up from school, I got in the back seat and she popped up to surprise me,

finding it exciting when I could help carry the groceries from the garage door to the kitchen,

playing with our German Shephard, King....and trying to ride on his back like a horse,

calling my Uncle Alex, Alex and Underwear (?)

my Dad rubbing sand on my feet to dry them off before getting back in the car from the beach,

hanging out on the rocks or the pier fishing with my best friend and our Dads,

the taste of coconut pineapple ice-cream, a flavor I only remember having when visiting my Lola (grandma) in L.A.,

my Grandpa watching the Dodgers game,

listening to him singing loud and proudly, old Army cadences on sunny mornings,

the feeling of independence from the wind in my face when riding my bike around the neighborhood,

being the flower girl in many weddings, one I could never forget- when I got to the front of the chapel and sat down in my chair, my big poofy dress flipped right up to my face......

never leaving my Mom's side when out shopping always being scared of getting lost,

swinging so high on the swings on my preschool playground that I could see past the top of the brick wall out on to the street,

swinging at what I thought was a fly while washing my hands at preschool before lunch and getting stung by a bee near the corner of my right eye,

not being jealous at all when my little sister won a Real Baby doll at the mall, it reminded me of Chucky,

watching my cousin dancing on top of the coffee table while she sang (to this day she doesn't remember that)

waking up in the car on our way home from L.A. on the side of the freeway with 2 kids next to me crying while my Dad helped their Mom find the baby who flew out of the front window of their car in an accident,

getting my head stuck between the back of a chair in a shoe department at a store, and the fire department having to come to get my head out...(lol!)

 (Sigh) I think that about does it for now. Interestingly the majority of these memories for me happened before my sister was born. That made me the age of 3 or 4 at the time. Sitting and trying to think back as far as I can remember, those were what I could come up with so far. An interesting excercise at best. It's nice to take a glance of this list and remember those times and even more that are triggered just from reading them.

I like to think that we can push our brains to remember more if we just dedicate the time to try. Our memory is such a valueable treasure. I think it's a good idea to take the time out of our busy everyday schedules to take a look back sometimes and relive any positive past experiences. Even nicer when you get a chance to share them. I'll have to let my kids get a glance of this, maybe I can hear some of their memories as well. What about you, how far back can you remember?


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    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from California

      Hi Eileen, It's amazing you can remember details of a room from when you were 18 months. But I don't think it's impossible. I believe that the most memorable moments we keep are there because of an emotional connection we had when we experienced them. Goes to show how powerful our brains can be, and the potential it has. As far as my day to day memory, I think I do pretty well. But I guess I have the occasional little random forgetfulness sometimes. I blame that on my three kids lol! Thanks for your comment. :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      hi cheryl, i enjoyed reading the stuff you remembered.

      its a subject i am interested in.

      my earliest memory is of me sitting in a pram in my mothers room, when a spider fell from the ceiling into the pram, i roared like mad and my mam came in and picked me up.

      i said this to my mam years later and she said i could remember that because i was only 18 months, but i told her what the room looked like and where the window was in the room and she was amazed that i could remember that far back.

      i'd be interested to know if other people have memories from this far yourself i have quite a few things i can remember from very you got a v.good day to day memory?

      my family call me the elephant...because i never forget lol

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      Hi De Greek! I'm happy to hear I was able to stir up some childhood memories. It's funny how we forget, or think we forget until we stop and take the time to recall them, and then they're re-lived in and instant! =)

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      What a challenge you set us Cheryl ... :-) Got to thinking and memories of childish times came back slowly. Trying to count the stars with my dad for example :-))

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      It's great to stir up old memories isn't it? Well, the great ones of course! =)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      My pleasure, Cheryl. The subject stirs many old, old memories, though I think that's the earliest one I can attach vivid "visuals" to and identify at a fairly specific age.

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      Hmm, I think maybe your 3 older siblings may have planted that seed in your head lol! Thanks for reading Nellieanna. =)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I have several early memories &/or glimpses of early memories. I remember sitting in my little rocking chair at around age 3, possibly a little younger, since my memories are quite clear @ about 4 & I started 1st grade @ 4-1/2. Sitting there in the rocker, stroking the cat, I had an almost overwhelming impulse to hurt the cat, which was very unlike me then or ever after. Later I've wondered if having 3 much older siblings - 10, 12 and 14 years older, in fact - had something to do with it. Perhaps they'd been mean to me in some way (though I can't recall it) & I was acting-out a need to pass it along to the only creature in my home over which I had the slightest authority. I truly have wondered all these many years.

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      Thank you theawwwbutmum. I have so many I could really just go on and on. It's ironic though, that now at 31 I seem to be quite forgetful with a lot of short term stuff. I blame it on the kids....somehow they have a way of deteriorating my brain cells LOL! So I try to excercise my brain as much as possible. =)

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading Sam! The baby, shockingly survived. I don't recall details, mainly that moment I woke up to 2 kids crying next to me in the back seat of the car. My memory jumps to then being in the hospital in the ER seeing their Dad arriving, and basically knowing that the baby was surprisingly going to be okay. My head in the chair...I actually find it hilarious now, not then of course! I can't say that I've experienced the opposite of any being blocked out. Interesting incidences that you've shared though, I may do some digging through my memories again...thanks for your thought provoking comment! =)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm so jealous!! This is something I struggle with bigtime! I can't believe how many memories you have from that age, amazingly cool :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow! You say there was no point to it, but I was enthralled! And . . . how did you cope with the baby that flew out the window? I hope it ended well! I would have been fatally embarrassed about the head-in-chair thing.

      BTW, ever have any of the opposite? --Where you blocked it out? I remember at least 2-3 minutes (minimum) that passed in a moment: I followed my sister out the door when I was about 3. She was carrying a full pig bucket. The door slammed shut, and as I reached for it, she came back in with an empty pig bucket and a pensive look on her face. I thought she had just thrown it out on the ground, but when I looked, there was no garbage or liquid outside. She told me later in life that I was there when a neighbor "abused" her. That must have been the time.

      On another occasion, when I was 9 (more or less), some peers were throwing rocks at an African-American trapped between two wings of a vacant building, a boy my age (this was in about 1952). I went to comfort him; I put my arm around his shoulders, and that's the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being chastised and threatened by those same boys, a block away from where they were throwing the rocks. I never figured out what they did to me or the victim, during my block-out. I might have done something to investigate, but the incident didn't come together to make any sense until later in life.

    • _cheryl_ profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from California

      Interesting to see how far back you can remember as well GojiJuiceGoodness. Looks like the age of 3 is the magic number so far! Your Minnie Mouse sandals remind me of my old jelly shoes (remember those?) I use to love those silly things and want to wear them everywhere! Thanks for reading =)

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image


      8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      Wow! You've got a good memory!

      My first memories were of going to Niagara Falls with 3 of my brothers. Later in the day we rode the carousel. Other memeories are playing in the sandbox with my 2 older brothers, wearing my favorite Minnie Mouse sandals everywhere, running relay races with my brothers, picking berries in the garden while playing baseball, taking my dad a glass of orange juice while he was sick, playing in the old shed (the shed was c.1902) and getting my knee scraped and more. My first memories are from when I was about 3 and the last about age 6.


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