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 Texas : Features : Columns : Spunky Flat and Beyond :

DO YOU REMEMBER?

by George Lester
George Lester
I've heard people say you cannot remember anything prior to the age of six or seven. I have been told that, if you say you recall moments at the age of four or five, it is only because you've heard your parents relate the stories many times. If this is true, why is it I can remember things that happened when there were no adults around to witness them? For instance, I can clearly see in my mind's eye my brother and me standing in a number two washtub on the back porch of our shotgun house in Wink, Texas. I had to have been no older than four at the time, but I can almost feel the chill as the dry west Texas breeze evaporated the water on our bare skins.

And what about the time my older brother was pushing me in his homemade scooter down the dirt streets of town? It was right after one of the rare rainstorms in that arid climate, and the mud must have been a foot deep in spots. When the vehicle hit one of those areas, it flipped me out, face first into the mire. As I came up for air, I was almost blinded by the muck on my face. The tunnel like view through those tiny openings around my eyes has stayed with me for over seventy years. Only he and I were there, and I don't remember his ever mentioning it.

Going back even farther, I have a vision of me standing on my grandparents' big front porch, taking my uncle by the hand, and leading him to the swing hanging there. I didn't say anything. I just pointed to the swing, sat down in it, and waited for him to push me. I lay down on the slats and closed my eyes, pretending that I was asleep. His voice was so soothing as he kept swinging me and talking softly to me, knowing that I really was just playing a game. I ask myself now, "Why did I only use hand motions instead of telling him what I wanted? Was I too young to talk clearly?"
George Lester
Spunky Flat and Beyond - A Memoir >

July 1, 2006 column
 
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This page last modified: July 1, 2006